DULUTH -- To hear the stories at Gwinnett's small business awards Friday, it seems that the "Great Recession" may have just been a blip.
Despite the economic doldrums, 25 small businesses celebrated Pinnacle Awards from the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
"Each Pinnacle winner offers a success story that seeks to inspire all of us," said the United Way's Demetrius Jordan, who served as emcee.
Taking top honors was John Gardner, owner of Integrative Logic, who was named the Overall Small Business Person of the Year, as well as the winner in the 10 to 99 employee category.
"I am blessed, and blessed to have fun everyday," said Gardner, who dreamed up his business in his garage in Lawrenceville and now serves clients in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean. In the past three years, the company has grown its revenue by 129 percent and it donates almost 20 percent of its net profit to charity.
Angela Cain, who won in the smallest employee category, said it was her employees who have helped her get through the recession.
The owner of Nouveaute'/Angela Cain Interiors re-evaluated her marketing strategies and implemented new avenues of business to succeed.
"As the economic climate changed and we had to make changes, (the employees) made those changes with a smile and made it a lot easier for me."
Perry Tindol of Allgood Pest Solutions, the winner of the 100-plus employee category, worked to expand the company's commercial services to offset the decline in residential services during the economy. The strategy worked, Jordan said, giving the company an 18.6 percent growth in commercial services.
"We know change equals opportunity," said Redpepper President Dave McMullen, who won the top honor last year. "No one in here is looking for a government handout. We know it's the next good idea .. that is going to turn this around. ... Let's celebrate today."
Nonprofit awards went to the American Cancer Society (small), Boy Scouts of America's Northeast Georgia Council (mid-size) and Just People Inc. (large). Other Pinnacle Small Business Award Winners include:
* Aaron Plumbing
* Advanced Diabetic Solutions
* Alternative Apparel
* ASK Staffing Inc.
* Atlanta Flooring Design Centers
* Bardi Mechanical/Bardi Heating and Air
* Bartimaeus Inc.
* Dan D. Dunwoody D.D.S., P.C.
* E2E Resources
* Gwinnett Internal Medicine Associates LLC
* HealthCare Partners
* Logical Choice Technologies
* Marketing Workshop Inc.
* Premier Immediate Care
* Rocket IT
* Rogers Construction Company
* Service Foods Inc.
* Sun Technologies Inc.
* Tara Fine Jewelry Co. Inc.
* THC Inc.
* The Myers Group