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Small businesses awarded as 'survivors' in tough economy

Staff Photo: John Bohn Pinnacle Awards are on display during the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce small business & non-profits awards luncheon held Friday. ProCare Prosthetics & Orthotics, owned by Stephen and Mariamne Schulte, was named the Overall Small Business of the Yearfor 2012.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Pinnacle Awards are on display during the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce small business & non-profits awards luncheon held Friday. ProCare Prosthetics & Orthotics, owned by Stephen and Mariamne Schulte, was named the Overall Small Business of the Yearfor 2012.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn ProCare Prosthetics & Orthotics, owned by Stephen and Mariamne Schulte, was named the Overall Small Business of the Year by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce during their Pinnacle Awards ceremony held on Friday.

DULUTH -- In their work with ProCare Prosthetics and Orthotics, Stephen and Mariamne Schulte have helped athletes compete in Beijing in the Parlympics and other amputees simply be able to walk or brush their teeth.

Hundreds of everyday victories.

On Friday, the couple celebrated another big victory, winning the Small Business Person of the Year at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's Pinnacle Awards.

"Much like in life, business in not a game you can win. It's a game you can play," said Stephen Schulte, who also accepted the award for small business of the year in the 10 to 99 employee category. "What an honor."

Dave McMullen, the 2009 award winner who emceed the event, noted that many of the companies started in 2008 or 2009, right in the heart of the economic recession.

"Each Pinnacle winner offers a success story that is inspiring to us," he said. "If you are here today, you are a survivor."

That tag could go to Scott Satory, who won the 1 to 9 employee category for his business Service First Roofing, which began in 2009, and A.C. Myers III of the Myers Group, an 18-year old business that won in the 100-plus category.

Top 25 Pinnacle Small Business Award Winners

Aaron Plumbing, Inc.

American Painting & Renovations, Inc.

Ameriprise Financial-Kevin O'Brien, CFP, ChFC

Atlanta Housing Source at Solid Source Realty

Bella Fiore' Salon, LLC

Blue Landworks, LLC

Coles Barton, LLP

Deluxe Athletics, LLC

East2West Media Group, Inc.

Everydry Roofing, Inc.

FarraTech

Gem Shopping Network, Inc.

Green Financial Resources, LLC

Hire Dynamics, LLC

I-Tech

McMahan's Sartorial Clothing, Inc.

Paradigm Security Services, Inc.

Perket Technologies, Inc.

ProCare Prosthetics and Orthotics

Rocket IT

Service First Roofing

Signarama Buford

Sun Technologies, Inc.

The Myers Group

Willis Mechanical, Inc.

A total of 25 companies were honored for their perseverance and growth, along with four non-profits -- Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation, Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts and Rainbow Village.

"These risk-takers, innovators, and givers are the ones who create jobs and provide much-needed services for our community, leading to a better quality of life for everyone," Gwinnett Chamber President & CEO Jim Maran said in a press release. "These are the leaders who are laying the foundation for a bright future full of hopes, dreams and opportunities. For this, these small business owners and non-profits deserve to be recognized and celebrated."

Also featured at the Pinnacle Awards was the Pacesetter Award recognizing companies that have "raced past the competition." This year's award was given to Cynthia Kaye, President & CEO of Logical Choice Technologies, Inc.

The Duluth awards ceremony was also the site of the announcement of Partnership Gwinnett's second annual Amazing Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition. The award, which gives entrepreneurs a chance to win cash to support their businesses based on the quality of their business plans, went to CubeVibe's Aaron and Shara Aycock.