People love local and small local businesses make Lexington go round. Commerce Lexington hosts a luncheon each year to celebrate small businesses and their achievements.
This year, the luncheon was hosted on August 22 at Keeneland’s Keene Barn. The 2019 category winners are:
Business Success Award recognizes a business that doesn’t fall into one of the other award categories. This is your opportunity to put your company’s operations, products and services, growth, and response to adversity up against the “best of the best.” The 2019 winner is Hallway Feeds. In 1964, Bob Hall and his wife, Bonnie, purchased a small feed business in Lexington. Farmers Feed Mill, Inc. serviced a very diverse set of customers throughout central Kentucky. The mill specialized in custom feeds and customer service, and Bob’s focus on service continues to be an important foundation for the business today. Hallway Feeds is now the ONLY family-owned and operated feed company dedicated to the equine industry, and its signature products are distributed throughout Central Kentucky, the United States and approximately 12 countries worldwide. Many of the most prominent breeding operations, Hall of Fame trainers and international venues rely upon Hallway Feeds. In fact, 13 of the last 21 Kentucky Derby winners, including the most recent Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify, raced while being fed Hallway Race 13, the company’s most well-known product. Hallway Feeds celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014 and is committed to continual investment in its physical plant, its employees and its brand. Its dedication to customer service and quality products has enabled it to transition to a feed mill exclusive to the manufacture of the most highly-valued horse feed available.
Green Initiative Award is awarded to a company that must display movement toward the implementation of green initiatives. The business would have to demonstrate what they have done to go “green” to quality for this award. Criteria includes written policies, goals and metrics for green practices, provision or use of alternative energy and/or energy efficient products or services, or produce or manufacture a green product or service. The 2019 winner is Synergy Home. Founded by Jamie Clark in 2014, Synergy Home is Lexington’s leading heating, cooling, and home performance contractor. Synergy takes a whole home approach to ensure that everything in a customer’s home is working together to be more comfortable, more efficient and healthier. Services include heating, air conditioning, and geothermal installation, repair, and replacement, as well as comprehensive radon mitigation, indoor air quality solutions, backup generator installation, and solar. Synergy Home has installed more than 500 energy-efficient geothermal heating and cooling systems and more than 300,000 watts of solar power, while helping to build numerous zero energy homes. One of the only free electric vehicle charging stations powered by solar in the state of Kentucky is located in Synergy’s office parking lot on Winchester Road. What began as a consulting company in 2014, Synergy has now grown to a workforce of 27 employees, diversified its services, and received Climatemaster’s Geothermal Dealer of the Year Award for four consecutive years from 2015-18.
Innovation Award is awarded to a company that must have demonstrated ability in adopting and utilizing technology to directly increase productivity, efficiency, revenue and/or profits. Additional criteria include informed decision-making process around technology adoption, strategic implementation and ability to measure results of utilization. The 2019 winner is Wrigley Media Group. Wrigley Media Group is a full-service integrated marketing and media partner headquartered in Lexington. The company specializes in creative concepts across multiple platforms, digital asset development including video/animation, editing, copywriting, aerial, animation, advertising, marketing communications and original content for brands on a national and international level. What began as a production house in 1993, Wrigley Media Group (WMG) has evolved from a place where clients presented an idea that was executed to one where the WMG team helps clients visualize the possibilities that can be created by its talented team of creatives. From humble beginnings with less than ten employees, WMG has grown to a collection of nearly 40 top-talent individuals from across the country to create inspired concepts and ideas. The business is unique to the region as it develops in-house, comprehensive brand strategies using a wide range of content solutions, including creative development, production, post-production, CG/VFX, aerial, TV show creation, branded content, print, traditional and digital advertising, and live-streaming services.
Legacy Award the businesses that are eligible for this award include companies that have been in business for 25-plus years, multi-generational businesses, and past Small Business Celebration award winners. The award recognizes staying power, longevity, the ability to adjust to the changing economic climate, and company growth. The 2019 winner is The Locker Room Sporting Goods. Serving Lexington since 1973, The Locker Room is a family-owned sporting goods store that sells equipment and apparel to local athletes of all ages. It is essentially two separate enterprises under one roof, including the sporting goods retail store, as well as a lettering department, which houses sewing machines, embroidery and chenille machines, and a couple of heat-presses to create and embellish uniforms and apparel. Operated by several members of the Milburn family, The Locker Room is still in its original location on Lane Allen Road where store manager Bo Milburn’s grandparents opened the business nearly half a century ago. As the only family-owned sporting goods store left in the area, The Locker Room has persevered against the big box stores by knowing the market, staying on the cutting edge of equipment changes, and maintaining relationships with customers that in some cases span decades. While Bo literally grew up in the business, he and his family have seen kids who have grown up coming to The Locker Room later bring their own children to the store. The Milburn family continues to maintain the business using the same core competencies instilled by Bo’s grandparents, Sylvia and Russ.
Minority Business Award is awarded to a company that is recognized as an ethnically-owned member business, which is defined by Commerce Lexington Inc. as a business that is 51-percent owned, operated, and controlled by a person within the following racial and ethnic groups: African American, Hispanic American , or Asian American. The 2019 winner is Synergy Coach. Founded in 2012 by owner and operator Larry Jackson, the mission of Synergy Coach is to be Lexington’s ultimate guide to resolving pain, preventing injury, and optimizing athletic performance. It has done so by educating, empowering, and motivating its members with an integrated approach. The step-by-step process includes a HIPAA certified health assessment, a body composition assessment, functional movement screening, rehab performance specialist/mindset coach interview, and a quarterly roadmap review. The Synergy team is comprised of a rehabilitation specialist, personal trainers, massage therapist, yoga instructors, and group exercise instructors. In 2018, Synergy Coach open its doors to start servicing companies like Orange Theory with its Bod Pod, which is the most accurate tool in the market giving individuals reliable data on their body composition. Jackson has since become certified in yoga, continues to help other coaches start and grow their own small businesses, and started a nonprofit organization to address second chance employment through a program that empowers individuals who are in recovery from opioids.
Nonprofit Award is awarded to an organization that must highlight its services, fundraising efforts, its impact and return on investment, ability to inspire and engage volunteers, maximizing its output and reach to a wide variety of groups and people within the community. The 2019 winner is Chrysalis House, Inc. Established in 1978, Chrysalis House is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) agency providing substance use disorder treatment to women and their families. In the late 1970’s, it opened the first women’s halfway house on the grounds of Eastern State Hospital, and today Chrysalis House is Kentucky’s oldest and largest licensed substance abuse treatment program for women and is the only long-term (longer than 30 days) licensed residential treatment facility in the Bluegrass area that allows women to keep their infants with them while in treatment. The program has grown to include four residential facilities, a 40-unit apartment complex with an outpatient office in the alcohol and drug free community, and 2 playgrounds. Led by Executive Director Lisa Minton, Chrysalis House earned a three-year accreditation in 2016 from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabiiitation Facilities (CARF). Surveyed again in 2019, it earned another three-year accreditation with no recommendations, which is only achieved in 3% of agencies seeking accreditation internationally. In late 2018, Chrysalis House opened a new 16-bed residential treatment facility for pregnant and parenting women located on the Eastern State Hospital campus to help address Kentucky’s substance use disorder crisis.
The overall winner of the 2019 Salute to Small Business Luncheon is Hallway Feeds. Congratulations on your achievement and helping Lexington love small and local.
“This to me is truly a tribute on behalf of my parents and a leap of faith in the business that was started in a converted lumber yard, where everything was done by hand,” says Julia Hall from Hallway Feeds. “But in its uniqueness and quirkiness, it was somehow charming and became a hub for agriculture and farmers all over Kentucky.”
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