Hawaii #SBDC Client Wins National “Small Business Person of the Year” – and Recap #SmallBusinessWeek

Small Business Week Winner presentationAs part of National Small Business Week, Vice President of the United States Mike Pence, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, and First Daughter and entrepreneur Ivanka Trump recognized this year’s Small Business Persons of the Year and other national award winners at a ceremony and reception at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., on Monday, May 1st, 2017.

“It is my extreme pleasure to announce that husband-and-wife business partners Garrett and Melanie Marrero of Maui Brewing Company are this year’s national Small Business Persons of the Year,” McMahon said. “Their innovative spirit, with assistance from the SBA and its lending and partners, created a thriving business and hundreds of jobs for their community.”

Garrett Marrero and Charles "Tee" RoweGarrett and Melanie started working with the Hawaii SBDC in 2004, when they were seeking financing for their first project – a small, seven-barrel brewpub launched with the help of SBA financing. Today, Maui Brewing Company is the largest craft beer producer in Hawaii.

“Garrett and Melanie have shown impressive growth, expanding the size, sales and scope of their business,” McMahon said. “By 2007, increasing demand led them to open a second location in Lahaina with a 25-barrel capacity, giving them the ability to provide brewery tours and making it a tourist destination as well. By 2013, they were producing more than 19,000 barrels of beer a year, boosting revenues to more than $10 million. They have since expanded with a new 18,000 square-foot restaurant that opened in Oahu last year, and new brewpubs and eateries are scheduled to open later this year. By the end of 2018, Maui Brewing Company will employ a workforce of 700.” 

Cathy Wiltse, State Director of the Hawaii SBDC Network, said, “Maui Brewing is very deserving of the National Small Business Persons of the Year! Garrett and Melanie say it best – their company is all about authenticity, sustainability and commitment to community. Beginning with a modest brewpub, progressing to current employment of 360 with plans to more than double that by the close of 2018, their success is remarkable. The Hawaii SBDC is very proud of the accomplishments of Maui Brewing, a long term client, exemplifying the best of small business and representing Hawaii to the nation.”

To learn more about Maui Brewing click here.

Administrator McMahon also recognized National Small Business Person of the Year runners-up from Kentucky, California and Virginia, as well as winners from each of America’s states and territories.

“All of our winners have built very successful businesses through their hard work, innovative ideas and dedication to their employees and communities,” McMahon said.

Debra Dudley, SBA Administrator and Ivanka TrumpThe First Runner-Up for the National Small Business Person of The Year Award was also an SBDC client, from Kentucky. Debra Dudley, President and Co-Founder of Oscarware, Inc. in Bonnieville, KY was acknowledged at the ceremony.

Oscarware, Inc., a family-owned manufacturing business, was founded in 1989 by Debra and Reg Dudley. They pioneered the concept of manufacturing outdoor cooking with a disposable “Grill Topper” designed to provide campers a quick, easy and inexpensive way to cook in parks and campgrounds. Since that first product, Oscarware has expanded to 17 outdoor cooking gadgets, all manufactured in Kentucky. Oscarware has grown to 32 employees and distributes products across the United States. It now exports its products to Canada and Europe, with assistance from the SBA STEP exporting program.

When Reg Dudley passed away unexpectedly in 2006, Debra took over at the helm of the company. She reached out to the Western Kentucky University SBDC, and since then has received extensive consulting and assistance with marketing, product development, and financial forecasting for the business. The SBDC also helped Debra develop a strong business plan that enabled the company to obtain several commercial bank loans. This influx of cash was used to become current on two SBA 7(a) loans and to purchase materials and supplies. In the past three years, revenues have rapidly grown and net worth has more than doubled. In 2015, the company’s sales grew a record 50 percent. Debra and Oscarware annually contribute time and money to local and regional charities, civic groups and schools.

Becky Naugle, State Director of the
 Kentucky SBDC, said, “Debra Dudley has been an inspiration to us for many years. We have watched her and her family meet every challenge with perseverance and Kentucky grit. Everyone that knows her understands why Oscarware is such a success. Hard work, great products, and treating customers and employees like family is a great description of Debra.” 

Check out some more of our event photos and National Small Business Week SBDC Winners & Finalists!

Hometown Trolley owners with Tee RoweOhio SBDC at The Hamilton Mill
National SBDC Excellence & Innovation Award Winner
Mr. David Riggs, Director
Hamilton, Ohio

Hometown Trolley
Small Business Person of the Year State Winner & National Finalist
A client of the Wisconsin SBDC

Guam National Finalist and SBA AdministratorGuam Autospot
Small Business Person of the Year State Winner & National Finalist
A client of the Guam SBDC

Safety Sleeper
Exporter of the Year
A client of the Pennsylvania SBDC

This year’s National Small Business Week was incredibly exciting and we were thrilled to be a part of it. Congratulations to all the winners and SBDCs who were involved!

Click here to find your local SBDC!