WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Anchorage entrepreneur Lori Brewer proudly holds her shiny new award. She’s 2018’s Small Business Person of the Year from Alaska.
“Totally overwhelming, exciting, and humbling," said Brewer.
Brewer opened Caffe D’Arte 25 years ago. She now owns six retail locations and has more than 200 wholesale accounts on the books.
“In the beginning, it was about serving coffee and serving people that are coming to you. But now, over time, it became a way to serve Alaska," she said.
Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, who handed out awards to small business owners in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, says the winners showed innovation, growth, and commitment to the community.
“If they’ve bought a business, and grown it, what have they done to make it different? Perhaps they have taken a business out of bankruptcy and built it and grown it and turned it into something. Have they started a business that’s brand new — an idea that they had that they wanted to see succeed?" said McMahon.
Brewer isn’t just taking a trophy back home. She’s been learning from her fellow small business award winners.
“There have been really great workshops and education that’s gone along with this. Even just today, looking at some opportunities to move us into a better level of digital," said Brewer.
As Brewer heads back to Alaska, McMahon will hit the road in this SBA bus — meeting with small business owners in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
The awards ceremony was part of National Small Business Week, which continues through May 5th. Click "Related Links" for more information.