The chamber, which held its Small Business Gala at the Anniston Country Club, presented former bank chairman and CEO John Wheeler with the Larry K. Sylvester Small Business Advocate Award.
Webb Concrete and Building Materials of Oxford received the chamber's lifetime achievement award, while Christian Corner Meats in Anniston received the emerging small business award. Oxford Lumber received the sustaining small business award.
The small business advocate award recognizes an individual or group that provides assistance and support to small businesses. Through the years, Wheeler, of Anniston, has done much to help small businesses in the area, including raising $1 million to kick off the Spirit of Anniston to renovate the city's downtown. The Star recognized Wheeler for his efforts by naming him Citizen of the Year for 1995.
Linda Hearn, chamber manager, said most recently Wheeler has worked with the chamber's Operation First Rate program to create Advantage Capital Enterprise System, a business start-up program. Operation First Rate is a federally-funded program that mainly helps workers laid off from the Anniston Army Depot find new jobs.
Webb Concrete, owned by Phil Webb, was started by his grandfather more than 60 years ago. The business started as Farmer's Supply, which sold hardware and garden equipment, before moving into concrete in 1957. Today, Webb Concrete operates in Oxford, Heflin, and Pell City.
"So we wanted to recognize their achievements for everything they've done," Hearn said.
Christian Corner Meats, owned by David and Debbie Young, opened in 2009 and employs three full-time butchers. Each year, the business hosts a free gospel singing and barbecue and invites the community to attend.
Oxford Lumber is a locally owned business that opened in 1958 as a hardware, lumber and building material retailer. The company has expanded over the years, now owning the Jacksonville Home Center, the Talladega Home Center and the Roanoke Home Center.
Hearn said Oxford Lumber received the award for various reasons.
"They have adapted and changed their business, were creative and sustained diversity and had community involvement," Hearn said.
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.