Four companies were honored by the Wake Forest University Family Business Center on Wednesday, June 3, with North Carolina Family Business of the Year Awards.
More than 135 people attended the inaugural ceremony at the Graylyn Conference Center, including Wake Forest Dean of Business Steve Reinemund, the keynote speaker, and Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, who provided opening remarks. Joines also congratulated the winners and welcomed the attendees. Sheryl Wells, a graduate student in the Wake Forest Divinity School, gave the invocation.
What sets family-owned businesses apart, Reinemund said, referring to what he has learned from professional experience and from friends, are the 4 Cs — Character Counts, Commitment is Constant, Customers Rule and Cash is King.
Reinemund, the former CEO of PepsiCo, said: “Family owned businesses show distinctive dedication which differentiates them from other businesses because the ‘name on the door’ is their own. Today’s environment provides a bright future for family businesses as public sentiment drives consumer behavior, employee attitudes, public policy and taxes.”
More than 100 companies were nominated for the awards, and faculty members from the Schools of Business served on the panel of judges. The winners are: Small Category, Young Transportation of Asheville; Medium Category, von Drehle Corp. of Hickory; Large Category, Autobell Car Wash, Charlotte. The winner of the Century Award is Moose Pharmacy of Mount Pleasant.
Legacy Chronicles sponsored the special “Century Award,” which was designed specifically for companies in operation for 100 years or more. The company created a documentary featuring the Moose family, which closed the ceremony.
Kathy Baker, director of the Wake Forest Family Business Center, was overwhelmed with how the business community responded to the awards and the June 3 ceremony.
“I am so excited about the success of our first awards dinner,” Baker said. “It was great, and it provided a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the success that our honorees have achieved in combining the best of family and business. I am especially proud that so many folks from our Family Business Center member companies, as well as from the broader WFU community, participated in the awards program."
“The awards program also offered the opportunity to share a bigger story, which is about how family businesses have learned to maintain their values while creating value for their stakeholders, as well as making those core values an integral aspect of their operating practices.”
Former recipients of FBC awards, who also are prominent members of the business community representing Winston-Salem and Charlotte, as well as FBC members, honored the winners by presenting the awards.
Gerald Chrisco of The Budd Group in Winston-Salem, presented the award in the Small Category to Young Transportation. Young Transportation, which transported its first passengers in 1933, operates 49 vehicles through the United States and Canada, its Web site says. Young employs more than 100 people who serve in many capacities supporting the Charter, Tour, Receptive and Destination Management divisions.
Walker Douglas of Douglas Battery, Winston-Salem, presented the award in the Medium Category to von Drehle Corporation. Hickory’s von Drehle Corp. has been a leading supplier of towel and tissue products for the away-from-home market since 1974. The company’s products, its Web site says, can be found in thousands of industrial and commercial locations, in medical and government complexes, and in airports and hotels.
Preston “Fred” Griffith of Griffith Real Estate Services in Charlotte, presented the award in the Large Category to Autobell Car Wash. In 1969, Charles Howard founded Autobell Car Wash in Charlotte. The company has 55 full-service car washes in 26 North Carolina, one South Carolina, two Georgia, and four Virginia cities and towns.
Ann Garner Riddle of T.W. Garner Food Co., Winston-Salem, presented the Century Award to Moose Pharmacy. T. W. Garner Food Co. Moose Pharmacy opened in downtown Mount Pleasant in 1882 on the same location where the original store still stands at Main and Franklin streets, the company’s Web site says. It has remained independently owned and operated for four generations.
Business North Carolina was the media sponsor, and GenSpring Family Offices sponsored the special section on the Family Business of the Year Awards to run in the current issue of BNC. Legacy Chronicles sponsored the Century Award.
Awards Patron level sponsors BB&T, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, ReGeneration Partners and Southern Community Bank and Trust provided generous financial support of the first-time event.
Several Family Business Center members contributed to the success of the awards program, Baker said. Wildfire provided design of all the marketing materials, Bo-Ty Florist donated the table centerpieces for the event, and Sun Printing printed the programs. Germanton Art Gallery and Winery provided wine for the dinner.