Business & Real Estate

SBA honoring 12 small businesses in greater Sacramento

From a pampered pet salon to a high-tech company, the Sacramento region’s U.S. Small Business Administration office announced Monday it is honoring 12 diverse regional companies or individuals this year, part of its annual recognition program.

The top award, Small Business Person of the Year, was given to Robb Moore, CEO of ioSafe Inc., an Auburn company that creates disaster-proof cases for hard drives and other products. The top startup of the year went to Kimberly Haines, owner of Pampered Pet Salon & boutique in Folsom.

A business major in college, Haines said the startup advising and financial access she obtained through a volunteer SBA-sponsored mentoring program was invaluable.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my SCORE counselor and all the help and preparation I got,” said Haines, who started her full-service, cat- and dog-grooming salon in November 2013. She took beginning classes at SCORE on how to assess her prospects and create a business plan that led to obtaining an SBA-supported microloan.

The 30 or so nominees this year are another indication the economy is picking up, said Joe McClure, the SBA’s district director in Sacramento. “It’s telling me we’re starting to see lots more opportunities for small businesses to grow. They’re proud they’ve been able to get through the downturn and are now looking to expand.”

“We were extremely pleased with the group of businesses that were nominated,” said McClure. “It’s very diverse, not only geographically but from an industry standpoint, from very, very small retail businesses up to ioSafe, a very good-sized company” in a specialized tech field.

He said that nationwide the SBA is putting an emphasis on smaller loans. From October 2013 through September of this year, for example, the SBA has dropped its loan fees on certain loans of less than $150,000. “We’ve made an effort nationally to get capital into small companies,” McClure said.

The awards also note exemplary service by Sacramento SCORE, the volunteer group of retired professionals who mentor small businesses in six counties, and the Capital Region Small Business Development Center, a partnership with the Sacramento Metro Chamber; California State University, Sacramento; and eight county hubs.

In addition to Moore and Haines, the other regional awardees are:

▪ Contractor of the year: George Whitmer, Site Works Solutions, a Native American-owned building and contracting company in Redding

▪ Lender of the year: SAFE Credit Union, based in North Highlands

▪ SBA community lender of the year: Golden Pacific Bank, based in Sacramento

▪ Financial services champion: James Snider of Five Star Bank

▪ Family-owned business of the year (tie): Dave Leatherby of Leatherby’s Family Creamery in Sacramento and Sonia Susac, president of Tecma Inc., a Sacramento-based woman-owned company that does precision machining work for aerospace and other industries

▪ SBDC counselor of the year Bruce Pyle and SCORE counselor of the year Kenneth McCann

▪ Veteran-owned business of the year: Kenneth Baugh, president and CEO of B&B Environmental Safety Inc. in Lathrop

▪ Woman-owned business of the year: Tina Reynolds, Uptown Studios, a web and graphic design firm in Sacramento

The SBA’s annual awards luncheon will be held May 8 at the DoubleTree Inn in Sacramento with a keynote address by Sally Edwards, founder of Fleet Feet Sports and owner of Heart Zones USA, a fitness technology and education company.

Call The Bee’s Claudia Buck, (916) 321-1968.