Natalia Pérez, Marketing and Communications Intern
The heart of the Chamber's mission is promoting, strengthening and supporting economic growth throughout the region. Of the 2,000 member businesses the Chamber represents, many of them are small businesses who work hard to deliver for their customers and contribute to our local economy.
This year, we've been bringing you business spotlights in partnership with WUTC, introducing you to the people behind these businesses, their missions, their stories and perhaps most importantly – how they help give back and make our community better.
Here's a short recap of the businesses we've featured this year:
A recipient of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center's Rising Star Award last year, Gate 11 Distillery is a multi-product craft micro-distillery focused on providing unique experiences, including: tours (which they'll reboot after COVID concerns lessen), tastings of delicious products that are distilled in-house, a cocktail bar experience, live music and a unique custom whiskey program. Gate 11 also helped out by making hand sanitizer at the height of the pandemic.
This year's first episode introduces us to Sequatchie Valley native Bill Lee, owner of Gate 11, who spent his career mostly in the Midwest in food processing and in biofuels. This led him to distilling alcohol for beverage purposes, working in R&D organizations, large production plants and distilleries. After spending 15 cold tundra years in Minnesota, he and his wife, Wanda, decided to move back home to the south in 2009. They saw Chattanooga emerging as a major Southern city and wanted to be part of the action.
This episode introduces us to Jasmin Rippon, executive director of the Hospice of Chattanooga Foundation. Hospice of Chattanooga is family-focused, and its services reflect that. The team understands that the end-of-life journey can be demanding and stressful for everyone involved, and staff work to treat the emotional and spiritual needs of not just the patient, but the patient's loved ones, too. They offer several services to their hospice families, including, but not limited to, a certified nursing assistant with expertise in end-of-life care, counseling and guidance from a licensed social worker, and grief support.
A witty tag line: “sandwiches served with a side of snark” is one of the first things that catches the eye when visiting Mindy B's website. If you want to purchase a killer sandwich from a place that takes sandwich-making seriously, Mindy B's is your spot. We've also rated their chili one of the best around. Most products served at Mindy B’s are locally-sourced and made in house. (The team even roasts their own beef and turkey!)
This spotlight introduces us to Mindy B, owner and chief sandwich creator of Mindy B's Deli in Chattanooga. Her team offers dine-in, carry-out, delivery and catering, and they helped support essential workers during the pandemic. Listen to find out how.
Here we meet Jeff DeLoach, president of The Chattanooga Times Free Press. The Chattanooga Times Free Press is the daily newspaper published here in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is distributed in the metropolitan Chattanooga region of southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia. The mission is to provide local and national news coverage through many delivery platforms, but our local paper makes a difference for the community in many ways you may not know about.
Emily Graffius is community relations coordinator for Tennessee Valley of TN Kids Belong, an organization dedicated to empowering and equipping leaders in the government, business, faith-based and creative sectors to end the crisis for kids in foster care. The organization takes a holistic approach to solving the foster care crisis in the state of Tennessee. Businesses can offer discounts to foster families and TN Kids Belong lists them on the Foster Friendly app, launched as part of the TN Kids Belong Business Impact Program.
Cindy Todd, chief marketing and branding officer for Chattanooga Goodwill Industries, tells us how Goodwill is so much more than a store to donate unwanted items. For nearly a century, Goodwill has changed lives through the power of work, and more than 85 cents of every dollar spent with a Goodwill store supports that mission: to help people find employment. Recipients of the Chamber's Small Business Award in 2018, Chattanooga Goodwill Industries serve a 23-county area surrounding Chattanooga, with 17 stores and donation centers.
Lester Law focuses on the complex and important field of immigration law and treats clients like family. The Lester Law team is dedicated to solving immigration problems for families by helping them stay together in the United States or be reunited here, working with clients all over the world to realize their dream of building a new life in America. The firm is built upon three central values: experience, dedication and integrity.
Michalle Morris is the owner and nurse practitioner at Scenic City Wellness, prioritizing whole-person wellness to help you manage problems and overcome illness. A patient-first mindset and top-of-the-line health care technology are set to serve you and your family.
Michael and Cherita Rice started Mad Priest Coffee Roasters in 2015 as a social enterprise and small-batch specialty coffee roasting company with the mission to “Craft excellent coffee. Educate the curious. Champion the displaced.”
Their focus has always been to run a sustainable, for-profit business with a focus on social and environmental goals alongside their economic ones. You can also read more about Mad Priest on our recent article featuring Chattanooga's coffee culture.
Michael Ryan is the co-founder of New Terra Compost, providing homes, restaurants, education centers, hotels, businesses and events a better solution for disposal of food residuals and compostables. The company offers convenient drop off locations across North Georgia and Chattanooga and weekly/bi-weekly pickup for large producers and solutions for organic residuals –allowing everyone the opportunity to dispose ethically.
Here we meet Guru Shah, native Chattanoogan and CEO of Shah Trucking and Shah Logistics, an asset-based trucking company and a third party logistics provider.
Ryan Seaberg is the co-founder of EIR Systems, an efficient e-prescribing technology committed to combating inefficiencies that doctors, hospitals and pharmacies face today through the technology they use. The team is passionate about improving patient safety and clinician ease-of-use in the prescribing process. It also prioritizes the prevention of opioid fraud, over-prescribing and abuse.
Hear from Sam Young about Green's Design and Supply, the Chattanooga area's local source for green building materials, promoting a culture of sustainability.
Inspired by its Scandinavian heritage, Nokian Tyres develops and manufactures premium tires for people who value safety and sustainability, and crafts innovative products for passenger cars, trucks and heavy machinery that give you peace of mind in all driving conditions.
In January, Nokian Tyres launched a phased recruiting campaign, with the first one seeking approximately 80 workers. Since its latest hiring push, Nokian Tyres has hired more than 50 workers at its Dayton, Tennessee factory. See more about why Nokian is a great place to work.
Jeff Coffey is the founder and CEO of Zoe Angling Group, with a mission to create sustainable and transformative employment for exploited individuals around the corner and around the world, through trade, by innovating products for the angling market and providing global sales and distribution for those products.
Owned by Chuck Jones, River City kites has kites for kids of all ages, plus whirligigs and windsocks for your garden friend, Innova sports discs, yo-yos, tops and other fun toys. Owner Jones also hosts kite creation workshops.
You can tune in to these spotlights here, or listen to “Giving Back Business Spotlight” on Thursdays during “Morning Edition,” “Scenic Roots” and “All Things Considered” on WUTC.