Eleven of the Cobb businesses were also nominated last year.
Those nominated two years in a row include: Casteel Heating and Cooling, Deluxe Athletics, EPIC Response (also the 2009's winner), Fulfillment Strategies International, The Investigative Accounting Group, LOUD Security Systems, Mopdog Creative + Strategy, Puckett EMS, The Service Fort, Sundial Plumbing (2010's winner) and Unique Cleaning Service.
This year's list includes 14 businesses not nominated last year - 524 Creative, Aventis Systems, BlueWave Computing, The Color Spot, Croft & Associates, Ed Voyles Automotive Group, First Landmark Bank, The Flag Company, K-9 Coach, Kelly Construction Company, Nolan Transportation Group, ShelfGenie Franchise Systems, Status Blue and Velociteach.
John Loud, president of Kennesaw's LOUD Security Sytems, said 2010 was the first year his business was nominated and named to the list. Loud said his new client list nearly doubled from years past as a result of the company's appearance on the list.
"It absolutely helped our business. We had about 900 new subscribers over the last year, whereas other years we may have had close to 500. We believe a lot of that is due to the attention we received from being named to the Chamber's list. Over the last year, we picked up the Strand Theatre, Marietta History Museum and the Marietta-Cobb Museum of Art. Those are good examples of getting business by being recognized because they probably said they'd like to have a local company, which we are, and it gave us the opportunity to do business with them," Loud said.
Loud said the recognition also helped with customer and employee pride, and has created more opportunities to give back to the community through festival and volunteer opportunities.
The application is a lot of work, he said, "but it's extremely beneficial to do a self-analysis and look at each of the criteria and sit down with the management team to determine how focused we are internally and set goals and objectives. And to see what people will see from the outside helps you to be even more focused and continue moving programs and people forward," Loud said.
Kevin Nolan, president and founder of Nolan Transportation Group headquartered in east Cobb, said he and the Marietta office's 30 employees were excited to hear they were named to the list in the company's first year of being nominated. And while the application was incredibly involved and rigorous, he said it was worth the work he and his father, Gene, who is the company's business development director, put into it.
Nolan said his company began in 2005 when he came up with the idea for a transportation logistics company while earning his Master of Business Administration. Before that, Nolan said he was hired straight out of college by CH Robinson, the largest freight brokerage company in the country, and worked there for three years before he decided to take the leap into owning his own business.
The business really took off in 2007, Nolan said, and has since doubled in size every year. The company has opened other offices in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Irving, Texas; Mobile, Ala., and Tunica, Miss. Nolan said they are looking to open an office in Los Angeles within the next six months.
The business was also named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle's 2010 Pacesetter Awards list as the 14th fastest growing business in metro Atlanta, and hopes to hire five new employees in the east Cobb location by the end of the summer.
"We worked hard on our nomination package. It's very involved. It makes you step back and look at your business - where you've been, where you're going. We had to get letters of recommendation, comments from business partners, our banker, attorney, and employee benefits company. I would say it's probably one of the more in-depth things a business could do," Nolan said.
The Chamber accepted nominations in early 2011 and an independent panel of judges chose the top 25 businesses. The winner will be announced at the Chamber's First Monday Breakfast on June 6 at 7:30 a.m. at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest located off of Windy Hill Road. The breakfast will also kick off Small Business Month for the Chamber.