Georgia Family Business of the Year Awards Announced

The Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University has announced the winners of the 2001…

Georgia (Apr 4, 2001) — Georgia Family Business of the Year Awards Announced



The Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University has announced the winners of the 2001 Georgia Family Business of the Year Awards. The awards honor the best of Georgia family−owned businesses.

Crenshaw Supply Company‚ an Atlanta−based scaffold and shoring company‚ won the small business category. Finalists included The Atlanta Daily World newspaper of Atlanta and Pit Stop Sanitation Services Inc. of Marietta.

Plant Telecommunications in Tifton won in the medium−sized business category.

The Brand Banking Company of Lawrenceville‚ Turner Furniture Company of Valdosta and Jones & Jones Inc. of Tifton were finalists.

In the large business category‚ Printpack Inc. of Atlanta took top honors. Finalists included Benton Express of Atlanta‚ American Proteins of Cumming and Wheeler¹s of Rome.

The Cox Century Award‚ which honors a company that has been family−owned and managed for at least 100 years‚ went to Warren Featherbone Company from Gainesville.

"The winners and finalists represent not just strong businesses‚ but also strong families with a commitment to community service‚" said KSU eminent scholar Craig Aronoff‚ director of the Cox Family Enterprise Center. "These multi−generational businesses are among the best Georgia has to offer."

The panel of judges included the sponsors of the competition: J. Smith Lanier & Co.; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan‚ LLP; Wachovia Bank; myCFO; Grant Thornton‚ LLP; and the MBA for Experienced Professionals program at the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.

The winners and finalists will be honored at an awards luncheon Thursday‚ May 17‚ 2001‚ at the Sheraton Colony Square Hotel in Atlanta. The featured speaker will be Jay Bush‚ of the family that produces Bush's Beans. For ticket information‚ contact the Cox Family Enterprise Center at 770−423−6045.

Small Business Category

Winner: Crenshaw Supply Company‚ Atlanta‚ Ga.

Crenshaw Supply Company has been in continuous operation in Georgia for more than 52 years. It is the only locally owned and operated scaffold and shoring company in the area. Revenues‚ assets and profits have roughly doubled in the past five years‚ and Crenshaw has expanded its market area to Alabama‚ South Carolina and Florida. Over the past 50 years Crenshaw has furnished equipment for major construction projects including Hartsfield International Airport‚ four MARTA stations‚ Phillips Arena‚ the Georgia Dome and 17 Olympic venues. Crenshaw also has provided scaffold platforms and services for charitable events such as the Avon Breast Cancer Walk‚ Habitat for Humanity and the U.S. 10K Race. William P. Crenshaw Jr. and his late father‚ William P. Crenshaw Sr. founded the company in 1949. David Crenshaw‚ representing the third generation in the family business‚ is the current president and CEO. Customers always have been able to resolve their problems by speaking directly to a Crenshaw. Employees are considered part of the family.

Finalist: Atlanta Daily World‚ Atlanta‚ Ga.

Continuously operating since 1928‚ The Atlanta Daily World is the oldest African−American owned newspaper in Atlanta. Its mission is to educate‚ inform‚ entertain and inspire its readers. Five generations of the Scott family have worked at the paper‚ and three generations are now on staff. William A. Scott founded the paper in 1928. It soon became the nation¹s first successful black daily newspaper. (Scott was inducted into Howard University¹s Journalism Hall of Fame in 1980.) C.A. Scott took the helm after his brother William¹s untimely death at age 32. M. Alexis Scott‚ who left a 22−year career at the Atlanta Journal Constitution to take the helm in 1997‚ is only the third publisher in the paper¹s 71−year history. Under her leadership‚ revenues have tripled in the past three years and the staff has increased. The paper has also launched a Web site ( so members of Atlanta¹s dynamic African−American community can stay in touch with events that shape their lives 24 hours a day.

Finalist: Pit Stop Sanitation Services Inc.‚ Marietta‚ Ga.

It took a lot of courage to leave IBM to become entrepreneurs. When Jeff and Terri Wigley took that step‚ their business went into the toilet−−and they wouldn¹t have it any other way. They founded Pit Stop‚ a portable rest room company‚ in 1995. Jeff and his father‚ Bill‚ who invested in the company‚ built what they called "world headquarters" in a 60−foot square fenced area in Paulding County. Soon Bill¹s mom and Terri¹s parents were involved as well. The company started with one truck and 33 portable rest rooms. It prospered during the 1996 Olympics. KSU¹s Small Business Development Center helped Pit Stop get a loan to buy more assets. Pit Stop is now among the major portable rest room companies in Atlanta‚ with ten employees and strong sales. In 1999‚ it contributed $10‚000 in in−kind donations of portable restrooms for charity events. Pit Stop uses the best equipment available‚ and treats customers with professionalism‚ dignity and respect.

Medium Business Category

Winner: Plant Telecommunications‚ Tifton‚ Ga.

Plant Telecommunications began in 1895 with one magneto telephone line between the home of Ben and Lula Gleaton of Doles‚ Ga.‚ and the farm home of Lula¹s parents. After they strung a second line to Ben¹s commissary‚ neighboring farmers expressed an interest in having access to the utility. The Gleatons strung more lines and set up a switchboard at the commissary. By 1929‚ there were still only 49 lines in operation. Nevertheless‚ by 1980 Plant Communications would be serving more than 10‚000 customers across an area of 875 square miles. It also provides Internet service‚ including free service for local schools‚ chambers of commerce‚ libraries‚ the United Way‚ local police departments and the YMCA. Seven of the 69 employees are family members. The family is now in its fifth generation of service to the region.

Finalist: The Brand Banking Company‚ Lawrenceville‚ Ga.

Imagine going to a bank where everybody knows your name. If you don¹t have to think too hard‚ you may just be a customer of Brand Banking Company. The bank¹s current owners represent the fifth generation of the family to run the business. Forty−five percent of the employees have been with Brand Bank for ten years or more. It takes determination to protect a bank from takeover attempts in today¹s business climate. Nevertheless‚ this family‚ with roots in the community and dedication to their customers‚ has continued to decline all offers. Moreover‚ to demonstrate that a small bank can be responsive to its customers' needs‚ Brand Bank offers Internet banking‚ ATMs and 24−hour phone service. The bank is in the top 10% of all state banks for return on average assets. Family−owned banks may have to work harder to provide the same services as larger institutions‚ but Brand Bank proves that it can be done.

Finalist: Turner Furniture Company‚ Valdosta‚ Ga.

Turner Furniture Company began as a hardware business in 1915. The founder‚ M. W. Turner Sr.‚ and his business partner decided to divide their inventory and dissolve their partnership so that Turner could bring his son into the business. When the hardware store began to feature used furniture‚ the current−day business took shape. Now‚ 12 Turners work for the 11 furniture stores and three finance companies‚ and seven family members sit on the board of directors. In the past five years‚ the company's sales have grown from $14 million to $20 million annually. Turner employs 160 workers. The family¹s civic involvement is too lengthy to detail but involves church‚ civic and commerce work including several Rotary club affiliations and work with local school boards.

Finalist: Jones & Jones Inc.‚ Tifton‚ Ga.

A. A. Jones dropped out of the eighth grade because he was one of eleven siblings‚ and needed to help to support his family as a carpenter and farmer. He began a construction company and brought several of his brothers in to work with him. He encouraged his own son to pursue an education. His son‚ Royce‚ was the first of the family to graduate from college. The elder Mr. Jones realized the need for construction−related support businesses and started Jones Concrete Company and Boyette Block Company. He later founded Tifton Paint and Supply Company. Some of the Jones family¹s customers have been with them as long as 50 years. The newest family business addition is an architectural design firm‚ Jones Group‚ LLC‚ headed by Jason Jones. The company won a $25 million contract in 2000‚ the largest in its history. Royce Jones has served as a director of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce for the past six years. Jones & Jones has kept its employees working over slow periods in the construction business by making work for them‚ including donating crews to work on church repair and maintenance projects.

Large Business Category

Winner: Printpack Inc.‚ Atlanta‚ Ga.

Printpack is one of the largest private family−run businesses in Georgia. The company‚ owned by the Love family‚ is No. 13 on The Atlanta Business Chronicle¹s list of local privately owned companies. Its flexible packaging customers include Kraft‚ General Mills‚ Kellogg‚ Nabisco‚ Nestle‚ Quaker Oats‚ PepsiCo‚ Coca−Cola‚ Procter and Gamble‚ Hershey‚ Frito−Lay and Georgia Pacific. Through the Love Foundation‚ the company distributes an average of 5% of pre−tax income to charitable causes. In the last five years‚ this figure has exceeded $7 million mostly in the Atlanta community. The company¹s associates have contributed more than $1.3 million to the United Way in the last five years. Members of the Love family serve on boards of many educational‚ religious‚ trade and arts organizations. The company has 20 manufacturing sites and employs more than 4‚000 associates.

Finalist: Benton Express‚ Atlanta‚ Ga.

The management of Benton Express is deeply involved in the leadership of the trucking business. They sit on numerous boards and have even been instrumental in the trucking portion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Benton Express is a 67−year−old non−union business in a heavily unionized industry. Less than 1% of trucking firms are non−union. Yet‚ its employees are loyal‚ including some that have retired with as many as 47 years of service. In 1997‚ Benton was listed sixth out of the top 25 for−hire trucking companies in the Atlanta area‚ following such giants as UPS and Wells Fargo. Benton boasts more than 98% transit time without loss or damage.

Finalist: American Proteins‚ Cumming‚ Ga.

Does thinking about the poultry processing business bring the terms recycling and environmental protection to mind? If not‚ consider the story of American Proteins. It recycles the inedible portions of chicken (which totals around 40% of the bird) into high quality pet food. This keeps the first line of poultry processors from having to bury their waste products (which would use more than six acres of land a day) and helps to keep food costs down. American Proteins does its job so efficiently‚ and with such care for the environment‚ that it has been nominated to receive this year¹s Alabama Excellence in Industrial Treatment Award for being a careful steward of the community where it operates. Based in Cumming‚ it opened a rendering plant in the South Georgia community of Cuthbert; it¹s now Cuthbert¹s largest business and contributes $10 million a year to the local economy. The company also has worked to increase literacy among its employees and other members of the community. The chairman‚ Tommy Bagwell‚ accompanied former President Carter to Venezuela to observe elections last year.

Finalist: Wheeler¹s‚ Rome‚ Ga.

Employees can be one of the best barometers of the quality of a business. Sandra Stewart is an employee of Wheeler¹s building materials manufacturing and supply business who decided to help her company and her fellow man at the same time. She saw an increasing number of Hispanic job applicants coming to the company and noticed that no one in the office could help them to overcome the language barrier. She decided to take the time to learn Spanish so that she could help to shepherd these folks through the application process. The Manis brothers who run Wheeler's are involved in the community themselves. Between them they work for the Floyd County Medical Center‚ The Rotary Club‚ The Boy Scouts of America‚ The Salvation Army‚ Mt. Pisgah Christian School‚ the Rome Area History Museum and Sun Trust Bank‚ among others. The brothers intend to remain a family business partly because of employees like Sandra Stewart.

Cox Century Award Winner: Warren Featherbone Company‚ Gainesville‚ Ga.

"The Chinese word for crisis contains two symbols‚" explains Charles E. "Gus" Whalen‚ fourth−generation leader of 118−year−old Warren Featherbone Company. "One symbol stands for danger−−the other means opportunity." Twice in its history the company stood in mortal danger‚ its primary product rendered rapidly obsolete by changed technology. By carefully studying his own company and family history‚ Whalen has developed a personal philosophy and company culture adapted to recognizing danger and seizing opportunity. Today the company is a medium−sized children's apparel manufacturer in the United States with profitability for their customers consistently higher than industry averages. With progressive computerization‚ Warren Featherbone has pioneered "rapid replenishment" programs that involve technology−based new alliances between supplier‚ manufacturer and retailer. Such innovation keeps Warren Featherbone's Gainesville factory and 350 direct employees more than competitive with offshore apparel manufacturers who pay third−world wages. The company has distilled more than a century of business experience into seven fundamental values: creative thinking; finding a need and filling it; focusing on value for customers; focusing on people at all levels of the process; working hard; maintaining enthusiasm; and maximizing the company's ability to adapt.


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