Last February, I entered Bramblestone Farm into the American Small Business Championship contest and was proud to announce that Bramblestone Farm was chosen as an American Small Business Champion by SCORE and Sam’s Club.
The American Small Business Championship (championship.score.org) awarded the title to 102 small businesses, two in every state and the District of Columbia, for their sacrifices and dedication to the success of their business.
The prizes for winning were a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to a training event, SCORE mentoring for one year, and promotion throughout the year to showcase each Champion’s story. Our training event (and award of the gift card) took place in Chicago on June 28th – 30th.
We really enjoyed the training event, it was first class. They flew us into Chicago Sunday afternoon, and had a shuttle take us to our hotel – the newly remodeled Hotel Chicago Downtown. The room was very comfortable, and the location was right on the river.
Sunday evening was on our own (they provided a stipend to cover costs), so we met our niece and her husband (who live in Chicago), did a little sightseeing, and had dinner at Smith & Wollensky’s. We really enjoyed spending some time with them, and it was a nice evening.
A full breakfast buffet was waiting for us Monday morning followed by a day of training for the champions. I thought the training was both inspiring and thought-provoking. The SCORE organization is focused on doing everything they can to help small business owner’s succeed with their business, and the championship training was all about how to succeed.
At the end of the day, the $1000.00 Sam’s Club gift cards were awarded to each of the champions, here’s me getting our card!
The championship training was split into five different groups (from around the nation), and this is the Chicago group. Nearly everyone in our group was from the Upper Midwest, and there were small businesses of many different kinds.
Monday evening, they took us on a tour of Chicago, and then out to dinner. Here’s a Chicago skyline photo we took during the tour:
On Tuesday, there was another training event called SOAR, but this was an event open to all the small businesses in the Chicago area. It was also informative, but they did such a great job on Monday, it didn’t quite compare. A limousine picked us up from the SOAR event Tuesday afternoon and took us to the airport for our return flights.
Thanks to all of our customers, supporters, and friends for helping us win this wonderful award! It was a rejuvenating event, and I’m excited about working with our mentor to grow the business and work to improve our local economy and local foods. SCORE did an awesome job, and I’m very thankful to Sam’s Club for sponsoring.