As part of the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards program, area chambers of commerce also share their top business and organization picks.
Burgaw Area Chamber of Commerce:
Sisters-in-law Kelly Yates Longley and Angela Longley opened Carolina Sisters Monogram & More
in February 2014 as an embroidery/monogram shop in Rocky Point.
They decided to move their shop to Burgaw in July 2015, and as business grew, they had to move to a larger building. The current address for the business is 115 S. Wright St., Burgaw.
“It wasn’t long before we began taking trips to Atlanta to the gift and apparel markets to find unique gifts and clothing” for a customer base that has continued to grow, the Longleys wrote.
Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce:
Owned by Debbie and Mark Bandy, Integrity Merchant Partners
has been in business for 19 years. It was also the Brunswick County Chamber’s 2108 Outstanding Customer Service Award recipient.
“We chose the word ‘integrity’ for our business because we want to always respect and operate from a place of integrity and honesty,” according to a statement from Integrity Merchant Partners. “Our longevity in business has been because of our customer service and honesty in the market place. As small business owners ourselves, our goal is to help small business keep more and earn more to grow their bottom line.”
The company offers several different business solutions, from POS systems, pay-as-you go and online processing to mobile marketing solutions.
North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce:
Founded in 1995, the Coastal Land Trust
serves 31 counties along the coast of North Carolina and is led by executive director Camilla Herlevich. In its first 25 years, the trust saved more than 72,000 acres of land, with a focus on preserving and restoring special places such as barrier islands, nature parks, longleaf pine forests and land with scenic, recreational, historic and/or ecological value, according to chamber officials.
The organization’s efforts “have a positive impact on ecotourism,” which is one of the fastest growing travel sectors, officials said.
Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce:
The owners of four businesses in Carolina Beach, Noel and Ron Stevens were also selected to receive the chamber’s Pleasure Island Entrepreneur of the Year award. The Stevenses own HopLite Irish Pub & Restaurant
; Lake Park Steakhouse
; and CB Cigar Box
“They have experienced rapid business growth by displaying diversity, innovativeness and dedication to each business, which are patronized by a diverse group of customers,” wrote Janis Boroznoff, a member of the chamber’s board of directors.
Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce:
Since rescuing a failing studio in 2008, Inspirations Dance Centre
has been serving up artistic leadership in its nearby communities.
“In addition to its thriving school of recreational and competitive dance, Inspirations is pushing the limits of movement within a Combative Concepts Martial Arts program designed for kids, families and professionals. Future plans include a preschool program launching summer 2019,” Ransom wrote.
IDC includes four studios across 5,000 square feet at 91 W. Boiling Spring Road, Southport.
Wilmington Chamber of Commerce:
A one-stop shop for outsourced human resource services, Leath HR Group
is owned by Lisa Leath.
The company was founded in 2017 “to partner with business leaders who want to augment and boost their Human Resources systems and processes. Leath HR Group utilizes a research-driven approach that leverages benchmarked industry practices so businesses and employees become more productive,” officials wrote.
While employed as an HR executive with an international pharmaceutical company, Leath noticed the regional need for outsourced HR services, especially for small business that could not afford to hire HR employees.
Meet this year's CEA winners