ANDERSON — AnnaMarie Hinton is reaping the benefits of perseverance.
The owner of JAM Printing, 1200 Meridian St., was honored with the Madison County Chamber’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award on Friday during a luncheon at Anderson University’s Reardon Auditorium. It’s an award, several said, that affirms her decision to stay the course after opening her print shop in 2010 in the aftermath of the Great Recession. As other businesses left the neighborhood, Hinton and her partners chose to remain, she says, in large part because of their belief that downtown Anderson would bounce back.
“We’d have customers come in over the last 10 years and say, ‘Man, downtown is dead. There’s just absolutely nothing going on,’” Hinton said. “That really gets to me, because it isn’t dead. There’s absolutely lots going on. You need to stay in tune with what’s going on before you start making comments that we’re dead down here, because we absolutely are not.”
Members of the committee tasked with choosing the award’s recipient this year noted that Hinton’s belief in her neighborhood reflects an attitude that epitomizes what the Entrepreneur of the Year Award is all about.
“We looked at people in the community who not only have a business in the community but are really invested in the community, in giving back in ways that may not be a return for them, but that’s just part of the spirit of who they are,” said Patty Lovins, membership and event services manager for the Chamber. “JAM Printing and Anna and her partner there, both of them are very giving spirits, so we want to make sure we honor that.”
The luncheon’s featured speaker, Flagship Enterprise Center CEO Terry Truitt, also praised Hinton for her ongoing commitment to giving back to the community in a variety of ways.
“She and her team at JAM Printing, they have been active,” Truitt said. “They stayed (downtown) when no one else did, and now it’s paying off for them. It’s paying off in spades, not just in business, but also in recognition by our community.”