This blog was updated on November 11 at 3:35 p.m.
The wait is over: The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the 28th annual W. Curtis Strube Small Business Award to the Academy of Hair Design, Inc. Other finalists in the running were Burgess Aircraft Management, LLC doing business as Oz Air Charter Service, Local Marketing Giant, LLC doing business as OMG Commerce, Pearson-Kelly Technology and Volt Credit Union.
According to a press release, the Academy of Hair Design was founded by Jerry BeVelle, David Gonzales and Christie Gonzales. Before launching the barber and cosmetology school, the three ran a chain of nine salons. The company’s website states that as these salons grew, “it became a challenge to find talented barbers and cosmetologists,” and thus the Academy was born. The cornerstone of the business is the Academy’s Business Realities program, which “focuses on creating business-minded individuals who know how to navigate every aspect of the industry successfully,” says the release. Students are not only taught industry skills but also how to grow their own business and offer excellent customer experience. In addition, students also meet with an Academy coach to plan their future careers. According to the company’s website, it’s accredited through the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences. It also has operations in Austin, Texas and works with an affiliate school in Rwanda, Africa.
The Small Business Award is named for Dr. W. Curtis Strube, late director of the Breech School of Business Administration at Drury University, who was a dedicated advocate of small business and founder of the Chamber’s Small Business Council. Honorees are determined by written applications scored by an independent panel of judges, consisting of the previous recipients, local business experts, and volunteers from the Small Business Council. Previous winners include PFI Western Store, TLC Properties, Mostly Serious, Connell Insurance, Inc., and Askinosie Chocolate.
Editor's note: Biz 417 is the presenting sponsor of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Awards.