Tampa, Fla. – The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 2016 Small Business of the Year Awards at a ceremony on Friday, September 16, at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. More than 550 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of Tampa Bay’s small business community and toasted the evening’s big winners.
This year’s event was presented by BB&T and Frazier & Deeter and represents the 36th year the Chamber has recognized this key segment of the region’s economy. Small business awards were presented in three categories based on the number of employees and a fourth business category honoring a startup company. Companies are evaluated on financial success, community involvement and ethical business practices. An award was also presented to the Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year.
The 2016 Small Business of the Year Award winners are:
Outstanding Leader: Maryann Ferenc, Mise en Place Hospitality
Maryann is the President & CEO of Mise en Place Hospitality Group. Over the past 30 years, Mise en Place has grown from a small catering business and gourmet carryout shop into an internationally recognized fine dining establishment and hospitality group in Tampa. Maryann leads by example. She sets high standards for the organization, and she lives and breathes those standards every day. On any given night at Mise en Place Maryann can be seen welcoming customers and if necessary, running trays of food to help the servers. She inspires the Mise Hospitality Team on a daily basis with her respect, passion, wisdom and unparalleled energy.
Startup Company: 3 Daughters Brewing
Family owned and locally operated, 3 Daughters Brewing is one of the fastest growing breweries in the state of Florida. 3 Daughters Brewing offers an interactive tasting room experience for beer lovers to try one of 60 hand crafted recipes on tap, listen to live music, enjoy family friendly games and learn about craft beer. 3 Daughters Brewing beers are sold in notable retailers such as Walt Disney World, Amalie Arena, Tropicana Field, Publix, Winn Dixie, Sam’s Club, Target, Outback Steakhouse, Hooters, Total Wine and ABC Fine Wine & Liquor.
5 – 20 Employees: Laser Locators
Laser Locators is a $7M global company that buys, sells and services new and used ophthalmic equipment, including surgical lasers, refractive lasers as well as diagnostic and surgical equipment. Located in Tampa, the staff consists of laser engineers and technicians that service the equipment at the facility or in the field. Laser Locators ships to every corner of the U.S. and has done business in over 100 countries around the world with a tremendous amount across Europe, Asia and South America.
21 – 50 Employees: Vistra Communications, LLC
Founded in 2007 as a strategic public relations and management consulting agency, Vistra Communications (Vistra) has successfully developed into a full-service communications strategy and professional solutions agency focused on providing services to corporate, government and nonprofit clients both locally and nationwide. Vistra has grown to nearly 50 team members working in the Tampa Bay area at both the North Tampa headquarters and at CENTCOM as well as in Orlando, Miami and Virginia, and is an SBA 8(a) Certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business.
51 – 250 Employees: Yacht Starship Dining Cruises, LLC
Yacht StarShip Dining Cruises, LLC operates a fleet of 3 of the finest dining yachts in America and provides customers with an unforgettable experience that includes spectacular views, fine dining, dancing, and award winning service. Yacht StarShip operates the largest fleet of Dining Yachts in Florida and offers public and private charters, featuring weddings, corporate events, holiday parties, convention groups and social occasions. The company recently opened Pirate Water Taxi, which provides 7 days a week scheduled water taxi service to 13 locations in Downtown Tampa.