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Voting to open today on Small Business Awards

Posted on October 4, 2019

Nominations for the 2019 Spirit of South Arkansas Small Business Awards are in, and voting is scheduled to open today at 8 a.m.

Approximately 80 different small businesses based in Union County were nominated for the various awards, which only businesses with 50 or fewer employees are eligible for.

Created four years ago, the Spirit of South Arkansas awards were born from a collaboration between the El Dorado-Union County Chmaber of Commerce, the Arkansas Women’s Small Business Center and South Arkansas Community College; the are a way for the community to recognize their favorite local businesses.

“Being able to find and celebrate small business and entrepreneurs … would be great,” said Dr. Barbara Jones, president of SouthArt who helped to conceptualize the awards four years ago. “That’s the backbone of what happens in every community, is all these small businesses.”

The businesses recognized must be located in Union County or members of the Chamber; demonstrate a commitment to good business practices, employee relations and the greater community; must not be a subsidiary of another business; must have a valid business license; have no more than 50 employees; and have completed three full years of operation before Jan. 1, 2019.

Jaren Books, membership and events coordinator at the Chamber, said the large number of nominations is a reflection of the community’s commitment to our local businesses.

“This year, we’ve got a large variety of nominations in each category, which is exciting because more people are participating in the awards,” Books said. “That will allow for more people to get recognized in our community.”

On Oct. 23, the Chamber will host a dinner at the El Dorado Conference Center, where the awards’ sponsors will present winners with their plaques. Second- and third-place winners will receive framed certificates.

Books was able to confirm yesterday that El Dorado Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer will be one of the featured guest speakers at the dinner; she will speak about her and her husband’s business BC Carpet & Floor Cleaning. Other guest speakers will be announced at a later date.

“They’ll speak on how they started their business – you know, the first five years is kind of the ‘break-even point’ – this year, we’re just trying to really take those people that have made it past that point and kind of share their knowledge and their struggles and how they’ve had to adapt to a changing business environment,” Books said in an earlier interview.

Voting for the Spirit of South Arkansas Small Business Awards is webbased and will close on Oct. 16. To vote for a local small business, visit sosa. For more information about the awards, contact the Chamber at or 870-863-6113.

A full list of this year’s Spirit of South Arkansas Small Business Awards is included on page 3A.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or