ANDERSON — One thing is certain about this year’s winner of the Madison County Chamber 2014 Annual Awards Gala Small Business of the Year.
It will be a family-owned and -operated business.
The annual Awards Gala is March 6, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Madison Park Church of God, 6607 Providence Drive, and this year MoFab Inc., Modern Trailer Sales Inc. and Gaither Music Co. are vying for this year’s honor.
Max Hains, 52, said he grew into MoFab Inc., which has been owned and operated by three generations of his family.
“I started working here during the summers and after school,” said Hains, who is the president and one of the owners of MoFab Inc., 1415 Fairview St.
The business, which employs 30 people, originated in the family garage in 1958. The company, which has an inventory of over 300 tons of metal shapes works in addition to hot-rolled and cold-rolled carbon steel, AR plate, galvanized steel, stainless steel and aluminum, has outgrown its modest beginnings.
Today the company works out of a 70,000-square-foot facility, but it has never outgrown its clientele.
“We do everything here,” Hains said. “We have a $10 minimum, but from there it’s up to millions of dollars.”
The best thing about being a Madison County business, Hains said, is the people he serves every day.
“Since we have been here so long we have developed relationships with our customers,” he said.
Working with family can be challenging, Hains said, but he is energized by the creativity of his sons.
“I feed off their energy and fresh ideas,” he said. “I also enjoy watching our young employees develop into valued employees.”
Working with multiple generations is also something Christy Kirk of Modern Trailer Sales Inc., 2730 W. 53rd St., also enjoys.
Kirk, 37, and her sister work for the recreational vehicle dealership along with their parents. She said the family-owned business was started by her grandparents and is one of the largest parts and accessory stories for RVs in the state.
“My mom and dad are here pretty much every day,” she said. “This is their baby, by all means. It’s not just something we are here selling, we truly believe in what we are doing.”
Modern Trailer Sales is not just being recognized locally for its business practices. For the last three years, Kirk said, her company has been nationally recognized in the top 50 of RV dealerships. The honor, Kirk said, is made through nomination of peers within the business.
The secret to their success, she said, is their customer service.
“We want repeat buyers,” she said. “No matter if it is a $5,000 sale or a $50,000 sale, we treat them the same.”
The business was started in 1951 by Kirk’s grandparents Charles and Voleta Kinsey, she said. The company employs approximately 25 people.
This is the first time Modern Trailer Sales has been nominated as the small business of the year, Kirk said.
The final nominee for this year’s small business of the year award is Gaither Music Co.
It might be hard to imagine Bill and Gloria Gaither, who are multi-Grammy Award winners, as winning any category that has the word “small” in it, but the couple’s business is the third contender in this year’s annual event.
The Gaithers have created more than 700 songs sung around the world including “Because He Lives,” “Something Beautiful,” “He Touched Me,” “It Is Finished,” “There’s Something About That Name,” and “Let Freedom Ring” and have 50 gold albums, 55 platinum, and five multi-platinum.
They have been honored as the Christian Songwriters of the Century and their television programs are broadcast to millions of households around the world.
Competing with local legends like the Gaithers is both intimidating and an honor, Kirk said.
“We’re excited about it,” she said of the nomination. “It’s been awesome to be nominated and to be nominated with two other great companies.”
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About the Gala What: Madison County Chamber Annual Awards Gala When: 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 6. Where: Madison Park Church of God, 6607 Providence Drive, Anderson Cost: $65 for general admission