Fort Worth Chamber

2009 Small Business of the Year Award winners outperform economy

Today’s difficult economy sets a high bar for entrepreneurs, but winners of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s 2009 Small Business of the Year Award have met that challenge.

They and their categories are Arcos computer systems integration and Web site design (emerging, operating less than three years); Designs for Living (1-10 employees) custom homes and remodeling; Innovative Developers, Inc. real estate development and construction (11-50 employees); and Reata Restaurant, Texas cuisine and catering (51-150 employees).

Presented by American National Bank of Texas, the Small Business of the Year award recognizes business growth and performance, sound business strategies and practices, business challenges, unique and innovative approaches, and community involvement and contribution.

Judges selected 11 finalists, all of whom discussed their practices in on-air interviews with Shivaun Palmer during January and February on Biz Radio 1110 AM. Winners were announced Feb. 12 at Mayor Mike Moncrief’s State of the City luncheon at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Arcos (Greek for “leader”) specializes in helping businesses utilize Internet marketing, President and CEO Jason Smith, III, said.

One aspect involves demystifying social media for clients, Smith told Biz Radio. The fundamentals are the same as in personal networking, he said. “You build relationships, you look for opportunities to share business, you look for ways that you can work together.”

Design for Living specializes in custom remodeling and new-home construction, drawing on skills from master craftsmen and project managers.

Owner David C. Goodroe told Palmer of a building inspector’s reaction to Design for Living work: “You’re the most honest builder I know.” Goodroe added: “From what I’m hearing, we should be in a recession, but … we’re busier than ever.”

Glen Hahn, IDI president and CEO, and colleagues Nina Petty and Mark Presswood gave Palmer insights into their detailed approach to providing planning, site selection, design, financing, construction and management of real estate projects.

“Our processes and methodologies allow us to through every step to make sure clients are taken care of and there are no ‘gotchas,’” Presswood said.

Al Micallef, owner of the Reata restaurant and catering operation, offers Texas cuisine that draws on native and immigrant-influenced flavors, all served in a four-level downtown restaurant that features two levels of roof dining above Sundance Square.

Keys to success, Al’s son Mike told Palmer, revolve around a unique Western-themed product, “an organization that has a can-do attitude,” seven chefs and great employees. Reata’s recently published cookbook, Mike said, aims “to help brand Reata around the world.”

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