Family Business of the Year Winners Announced

The Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University has announced the winners of the 2002…

Georgia (Feb 19, 2002) — Family Business of the Year Winners Announced



The Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University has announced the winners of the 2002 Family Business of the Year competition.

McStatts' Printing of Cartersville won the small business category. The finalists were English for Internationals of Roswell and Katz Home Fashions of Columbus.

The Brunswick News of Brunswick placed first among medium−sized businesses. PBD Inc. Worldwide Fulfillment Services of Alpharetta‚ and SleeveCo. Inc. of Dawsonville were finalists.

Hayes Dodge‚ Jeep‚ Chrysler and Chevrolet of Lawrenceville won the large category. The finalists were The Paradies Shops of Atlanta and Wheeler's Building Supply of Rome.

Plant Telecommunications of Tifton won the Cox Century Award‚ which goes to a business that has been owned and family−operated for more than 100 years.

"In a time when trust in both family and business is more important than ever‚ these businesses embody the best Georgia has to offer‚" said newly−appointed Cox Family Enterprise Center Director Joe Astrachan‚ who holds the Wachovia Chair of Family Business.

"The winners and finalists in this competition have great reason to be proud‚" added Cox Center Founder Craig Aronoff‚ who holds the Dinos Eminent Scholar Chair of Private Enterprise. "They share a bond that will strengthen their families‚ businesses and communities."

The winners and finalists will be honored at a luncheon on Wednesday‚ April 3‚ at 11:30 a.m. in the Cobb Galleria. The keynote speaker will be John A. Fentener Van Vlissingen‚ the founder and CEO of BCD Holdings N.V.‚ which has more than 8‚500 employees in eight countries‚ and roughly $5 billion in global sales. Based in the Netherlands Antilles‚ BCD Holdings is the parent company of three national travel companies and two financial services companies. Its U.S. headquarters is in Atlanta. In addition to being chairman of WorldTravel BTI and Park 'N Fly‚ Van Vlissingen is chairman of Business Travel International‚ the world's largest alliance of business travel management companies.

The sponsors of the Georgia Family Business of the Year competition include Wachovia Bank N.A.‚ J. Smith Lanier & Co.‚ Grant Thornton LLP‚ myCFO and the KSU MBA for Experienced Professionals program.

Winner‚ Cox Century Award: 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 Lula's parents. After they strung a second line to Ben's 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. By 1980 Plant Communications would be serving more than 10‚000 customers over 875 square miles. It also provides Internet service‚ including free service for the 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 it's fifth generation of service to the region.


The Cox Family Enterprise Center: Since the center was founded in 1986‚ it has been a leader in family business research. Jack Dinos‚ former co−chairman and CEO of Southern Tea Company‚ helped lay the groundwork for the center by endowing the Dinos Distinguished Chair of Private Enterprise‚ held by Craig Aronoff. The center assumed the Cox name in 2001 in appreciation of the support given by Atlanta's Cox family‚ which owns the Atlanta Journal−Constitution‚ WSB−TV and media outlets across the nation. The center's programs include the Family Business Forum‚ in which business people confront issues important to the survival of their families and businesses; the Family Business Academy‚ which helps train new generations of family business owners; and the Georgia Family Business of the Year Awards‚ which honors the state's best family−owned businesses.

Kennesaw State University‚ a progressive‚ comprehensive institution with a growing student population of 14‚100‚ offers more than 50 degree programs. Out of 34 institutions‚ KSU is the sixth largest in the University System of Georgia.

Winner‚ Small Company Category: McStatts' Printing Company Inc.‚ Cartersville‚ Ga.

Two generations of the McStatts family work long hours to sell‚ design and produce printing jobs and marketing materials. Anthony and Alice McStatts founded the company in 1968. Though the second generation has taken the reigns‚ the founders still spend most of their time at work. The company's goal to "under promise and over deliver" has won them many loyal customers. These days‚ when there seems to be a print shop in every strip mall‚ it is difficult to imagine that a Cartersville‚ Ga. printer would expand into Texas‚ but the abundance of customers in The Lone Star State prompted the family to make Dallas the location for a second store. The business aims to be Georgia's best printer‚ and eventually the largest privately−owned printing company in the Southeast.

Finalist‚ Small Company Category: English for Internationals Inc.‚ Roswell‚ Ga.

Norma and David Hills and their staff of 37 teach English to newly arrived foreign nationals. They have taught more than 5‚000 students since Norma opened the school in 1991. They've had many connections to the international community over the years; they once taught English to migrant workers in Wisconsin‚ and their son Mark‚ who studied in South Africa‚ married Chiu Hea‚ who is Chinese/Malaysian. Most language education is for young people‚ so the business is in a unique position to provide this specialized service to adults. The slogan for English for Internationals is‚ "Teaching the World to Communicate." All of the Hills' children have worked for them. Their son Brian is the school's administrator‚ and is in line to run the business when his parents retire.

Finalist‚ Small Company Category: Katz Home Fashions‚ Columbus‚ Ga.

Ed and Susan Grifenhagen run the business that Ed's grandfather Sol Katz started in 1938 when he began selling slipcovers door−to−door for "A dollar down and a dollar a week." Ed and Susan enjoy serving customers whose grandparents purchased home fashions from "Poppy Sol." They believe the reason Katz Home Fashions is a success is the quality of their employees. The staff works hard to do "101 little things to make customers feel special." Ed calls this "majoring in the minors."

Winner‚ Medium Company Category: The Brunswick News‚ Brunswick‚ Ga.

The Brunswick News has been run by four generations of the Leavy family‚ and is now in its 100th year. C.H. Leavy and his brother Louis founded the newspaper in 1902. C.H. was the editor and manager‚ and Louis was city editor. Today C.H. Leavy IV is president/editor and CEO‚ while his brother Vance Leavy is executive vice president and COO. They retain the same passion for the family business as its founders. The newspaper has survived two world wars‚ the Depression and natural disasters‚ and never once seen an unprofitable period.

Finalist‚ Medium Company Category: PBD Inc. Worldwide Fulfillment Services‚ Alpharetta‚ Ga.

PBD provides warehouse‚ distribution and fulfillment services for professional associations and book publishers‚ and is one of the top businesses of its kind in the country. In 1976‚ James E. Dockter founded Professional Book Distributors Inc.‚ and worked from his home. He and his wife‚ Rebecca and two of their three sons‚ Scott and Gregory‚ run the company. In 1992 they purchased the Georgia Book Depository and began to distribute textbooks from 55 manufacturers to every school in the state. Their primary shipper is UPS‚ where the Dockters' son James is in sales management.

Finalist‚ Medium Company Category: SleeveCo Inc.‚ Dawsonville‚ Ga.

SleeveCo‚ a premier supplier of stretch and shrink film labels‚ was founded in 1987. David Johnston assumed ownership of the company in 1992‚ and brought in members of his family‚ who had already proven themselves successful in other businesses‚ to help manage it. SleeveCo now has full flexographic and rotogravure printing capabilities‚ and it serves the entire North American market from its plant in Dawsonville. In the past five years SleeveCo's assets have increased by 250 percent‚ the number of employees has doubled to 80 and sales have increased by 64 percent.

Winner‚ Large Company Category: Hayes Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Chevrolet‚ Lawrenceville‚ Gainesville and Cornelia‚ Ga.

A.D. Hayes bought an Atlanta gas station in the 1950s. It grew to become Hayes Auto Service‚ and he welcomed his brother Donald and father C.A. Hayes to the team. A.D.'s and Donald's sons now run the business‚ which includes automobile dealerships in Lawrenceville‚ Gainesville and Cornelia. Its mission is simple − to treat customers like family − and it works. Customers and their children return to Hayes year after year. The family is also committed to community − each store is a partner in education with two or more schools‚ and Gwinnett County's Teacher of the Year receives a free convertible to drive for the summer. Hayes donated $21‚000 to the Red Cross after the September 11 attacks‚ and its many charitable projects include Toys for Tots and the cancer fundraiser Relay for Life.

Finalist‚ Large Company Category: The Paradies Shops‚ Atlanta‚ Ga.

The Paradies Shops were founded in 1960‚ when I.J. Paradies and his sons opened a toy shop at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. The company grew to be a multi−million dollar enterprise operating more than 300 shops in 57 airports in the United States and Canada. It has more stores in more airports than any other company in the airport concession industry. It employs almost 2‚000 people‚ and has exclusive licensing agreements with the PGA Tour‚ Brooks Brothers‚ Sharper Image‚ CNBC and others. After the tragedy of September 11‚ the company adopted a new business focus that allowed it to produce operating results similar to the previous year‚ even though airport traffic dropped 20 percent. The company is deeply involved in the community‚ and has raised funds for many charities including‚ Toys for Tots‚ Hands on Atlanta‚ United Way and others.

Finalist‚ Large Company Category: Wheeler's Building Supply‚ Rome‚ Ga.

In 1949‚ Tom Manis bought half interest in a hardware store for his oldest son Wheeler. Wheeler eventually bought out his partner and started opening new building supply stores‚ including one of the first drive−through cash and carry warehouses in the nation. Wheeler's sons Mark and Jim joined the business in the 1980s. Today Wheeler's is a contractor−oriented building materials manufacturer and distributor with 16 locations in Georgia and Alabama. Mark is now the CEO‚ and Jim is the president. Wheeler's has 500 employees and steadily increasing assets.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit