Small Business Week in Lowndes County

Only 13 employees work at Ellis, Ricket and Associates, an architect firm that has been serving the Valdosta area for more than 40 years.

Blake Ellis, founder of the company, says they like it that way. The small firm is one of seven nominees battling for the 2003 Small Business of the Year, awarded by the Valdosta Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce.

It's the chamber's way of recognizing the small business for their contribution to the community. Companies that usually have less than 100 employees struggle to get their voices heard, whether it's dealing with health insurance, all the way to finding the right help, but with the chamber on their side, the small firms don't go unheard.

Jay prince of prince automotive, winner of last year's award says it helps to have the chamber as their voice. The chamber has several events scheduled for the week, including a marketing seminar, an information fair and a breakfast to honor the small business of the year.