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Chamber Announces 2021 Small Business Award Winners

The West Monroe West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize the winners of the 2021 Small Business Awards presented by Unti Fiber and Glenwood Regional Medical Center.

Nominations were accepted from Chamber members in the following categories:  Emerging Entrepreneur, Micro Business, Small Business, Female Champion, Community Champion and the Silver Plus Award.  And the winners are:

  • Emerging Entrepreneur – Tracy Carter, JAC’s Craft Smokehouse
    • This individual’s journey began small and grew as a leap of faith to open a business after testing the market for three years, this winner has created a magical combination perfecting made-from-scratch specialties with a continuous social “buzz” and excitement for the new business. Giving back has always been a part of his mission as he was one of the first to response to several natural disasters last year. As an Army Veteran, he credits his military background as giving him the skills and discipline to grow his business into what is now a cornerstone business for downtown West Monroe. We are proud to award the 2021 Emerging Entrepreneur Award to Tracy Carter, JAC’s Craft Smokehouse.
  • Micro Business – Donald Arnold, Glass Doctor of Monroe
    • The Micro winner is locally owned and operated with deep roots in the community. They have experienced a 56% increase in sales from 2019 to 2020. This owner assisted friends, neighbors and businesses helping them protect their properties during the aftermath of last year’s storms, putting others before himself.  One client says: “Not only did they install but they also rounded up some paint, cleaned and painted the dirty inner seals before installing the new pane. I would recommend them anytime. These guys are great!” We are proud to award the 2021 Micro Business Award to Donald Arnold, Glass Doctor of Monroe.
  • Small Business – Matt Turpin, DDS
    • This small business owner is truly community minded, investing their time and resources to better the lives of the customers they serve.  Along with their church, he worked endless hours cleaning up storm damage helping community members get back on their feet. Throughout the 16 years of operation, and the reinvestment of a new state-of-the-art facility, this practice has grown to become one of the premier practices in Northeast Louisiana. We are proud to award the 2021 Small Business Award to Matthew Turpin, DDS.
  • Female Champion Linda Lavender Ford and Linda Ford Bourland
    • The past year has been one to remember for this team.  When COVID hit our region and closed many doors, this business was gearing up for its 60th Anniversary.  In facing a number of challenges, these champions found creative and different ways to allow their students and teachers to perform safely for our community – a mid-summer recital, an outside Christmas ballet, and a spring celebration of happy times to come.  These ladies have as much grit and strength as they do grace and style – and our community is a better place because of them.  Our winners are the hard-working and talented mother-daughter duo behind Linda Lavender School of Dance and two of the artistic directors for the Twin City Ballet Company. We are proud to award the 2021 Female Champion Award to Linda Lavender Ford and Linda Ford Bourland, Linda Lavender School of Dance
  • Community Champion - John Coleman, The Coleman Company
    • Our community champion was known for his giving nature long before starting his own business- serving as a role model and father figure to many of his kids’ friends.  His love and generosity is now felt by many throughout the community - through both his business and personal relationships.  During the ice storms that recently hit Northeast Louisiana, he offered to purchase 10 hotel rooms for people impacted by the storms… and ended up paying for 12.  In fact, this champion gives back to the community in countless ways - his company's annual Christmas toy and bike giveaway - donating vehicles to local students of the year at local high schools - and annual firework giveaways to local youth on the 4th of July.  He feeds the Riser Middle School football team after games, sponsors various schools through adopt-a-school, does book bag giveaways at the start of each school year, sponsors individual students who are in dance or cheer, sponsors other small businesses, and mentors area kids.  It goes without saying - this man loves his community and has a big heart for those in need. The 2021 Community Champion is presented to John Coleman, The Coleman Company.
  • Silver Plus Award – Dr. Clark Cooper, Cooper Veterinary Hospital
    • This year’s Silver Plus Award winner has been practicing veterinary medicine for small and large animals where he enjoys specializing in small animal orthopedic surgery, internal and reproductive medicine, along with equine lameness. He is a graduate of West Monroe High School, Louisiana Tech University, and Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. A member of the American Medical Veterinary Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Texas Equine Veterinary Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and is state licensed in Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, and Kentucky. Further, he is a founding member of the Northeast Louisiana Animal Emergency Clinic and serves as a member of the Board of Directors. He is actively serving the community on the Ouachita Parish Mosquito Abatement Board as President and the Ouachita Parish Farm Bureau Board. He has been a member of the WMWO Chamber Board and has served as Chairman. Actively involved in Broaden Horizons Committee. He enjoys hunting, old cards and raising cattle, horses, and hay. An entrepreneur at heart, this year’s winner is an asset to any organization he lends his skills. The Chamber is proud to award the 2021 Silver Plus Award to Dr. Clark Cooper, Cooper Veterinary Medicine.

The Chamber also presented a special award, the 2021 Innovator of the Year awarded to Dr. King, owner of King Springs. This year’s winner began the journey to innovation in 1975, when Dr. King and Dr. Noel Mills invented the “cardiac umbrella” to close holes in the heart without surgery. This technology forever changed how structural defects in the heart are repaired, both in children and adults. Dr. King relocated to Monroe to care for children with heart disease and establish a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. In 2001, Dr. King and his staff began the first annual pediatric symposium titled “Once Upon A Time… New Stories for Pediatrics” held at the Monroe Civic Center arena. Dr. King believes that the greatest responsibility you can give another person is the care of your child and he has dedicated his life and work to educating others on this important journey. But his work didn’t stop there, Dr. King and his family located a vast aquifer of sand filtered naturally pure spring water deep below the rolling hills and lush green fields in West Ouachita.  He assembled a team and spent 5 years researching, source cultivating and testing the water. Distributed in 13 parishes, the King Family brings the most fresh and clean bottled water product Louisiana has ever seen. We are proud to award the 2021 Innovator of the Year Award to Dr. King.

This year is an exceptional showcase of our resilient community. “In a year marked with hurricanes, natural disasters, and pandemic our business community has risen to the innovation challenge,” said Amanda Hatten Edge, Chairman WMWO Ouachita Chamber. “We are proud to recognize these outstanding businesses as true community champions.”

Lila Strode, President of the WMWO Chamber of Commerce shares her pride in the winners, “We are excited to showcase the dedication, expertise and sheer hard work of our deserving winners. I would like to be the first to congratulate them on their outstanding contributions to our community and recognition in this prestigious awards program.”

The images from the ceremony can be viewed below.

These awards are possible with the support of these generous sponsors: Uniti Fiber, Glenwood Regional Medical Center, Origin Bank, Centric Federal Credit Union, Paramount Healthcare Consultants, Graphic Packaging International, Johnny’s Pizza House, Cooper Veterinary Hospital, and Lazenby & Associates.

The mission of the West Monroe/West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce is to enhance economic growth in the WM/WO and surrounding areas by focusing on education, promotion, and development of the business community, and those areas of the community affecting business. Find out more at or call 318.325.1961.

West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce announces winners of 2020 Annual Awards

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s A.O. Evans, Johnny Huntsman Entrepreneurial Success Award, and Diplomat of the Year.


These awards were presented at the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Awards Ceremony on Friday, January 15th, 2021 at 111 Cotton.


The A.O. Evans Award:


The A.O. Evans Award recognizes one individual in the area each year for outstanding contributions to the West Monroe and West Ouachita area. The recipient is not an elected official currently in office, nor do they currently serve on the Chamber Board of Directors and must have made several contributions to the betterment of our community.


The A.O. Evans Award was first presented in 1976 to Mr. A.T. Mitchell.  When considering a name for the new award, the Chamber Board decided to name it in honor of the founder of the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce – A.O. Evans.


The Chamber is proud to present this year’s A.O. Evans Award to Alana Cooper, President/CEO of the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Alana is active in the community and many professional organizations.  She has given her considerable talents to many organizational boards by serving on the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, the Restaurant Association, Board of Directors for the St. Francis Foundation, and the Monroe Chamber of Commerce as well as a being a founding member of the Downtown Revitalization Group.  Statewide, she currently serves as the treasurer for the Louisiana Travel Association. She is also the Past President of both the Louisiana Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau Board and the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association (LTPA) and served on the Southeast Tourism Society Board of Directors.


Ms. Cooper leads with innovative strategies. Her dreams for our parish are big and bright…bright like Christmas lights one could say. It was her vision that sparked the lighting of the downtowns and the joining of holiday events in Ouachita Parish into one celebration, Christmas on the River.


Spearheading a signage and wayfinding project that will help guide you to area attractions and points of interest. This project has brought together various organizations, city governments, and members of the local community to work together toward this common goal. This is just one example of Alana’s efforts to bring groups together from across Ouachita Parish and Northeast Louisiana to work collaboratively to push our area forward.


The Johnny Huntsman Entrepreneurial Success Award:


The Johnny Huntsman Entrepreneurial Success Award honors a current WMWO Chamber business member or individual member that exemplifies the true entrepreneurial spirit in three areas – employees, management style and entrepreneurial spirit and with a management style that fosters growth, loyalty and a deep desire to succeed.


This award was first presented in 2012 to Johnny’s Pizza House. When considering a name for the award, the Chamber of commerce Board decided to name it in honor of the founder Mr. Johnny Huntsman. Johnny’s idea to make pizza in 1967 has grown to 3 states employing over 900 people.


The 2020 Johnny Huntsman Entrepreneurial Success Award was proudly presented to Mr. Nash Patel.


Mr. Patel serves as the Vice President and Principal Developer of Southern Hospitality Services, LLC he has played a hand in building one of the most respected management companies in the industry. With 17 hotels across Louisiana, Mississippi and California and five more on the way, there’s no sign of slowing or stopping. Mr. Patel donates time and resources to numerous charities and organizations in our area including Hope Street Ministries for which Home2 Suites won a Hilton Community Service award.


He also continuously searches for ways to support his team, whether it be in the form of additional training or even help attaining grants for continued education when available. Some of the same people who started this journey with him nearly 30 years ago are still with him today - a true testament to his leadership and determination to present opportunities to those who are willing to accept them.  Some businesspeople believe entrepreneurship focuses on one goal: profit for self; but true business leaders understand entrepreneurship means creating a community where opportunity, creativity and growth are fostered for all.


These are the qualities Nash has embodied every day in his journey as a business leader and entrepreneur in our community. Congratulations to the 2020 Johnny E. Huntsman Entrepreneurial Success Award winner, Nash Patel.


Diplomat of the Year:


Each year the Chamber recognizes one individual as the Diplomat of the Year. The Chamber could not exist without its volunteers – whether it’s attending a ribbon cutting or volunteering at one of our many events. The Chamber Diplomats are the hospitality of our organization!


The Chamber proudly recognized Cyndi Tatum, P3 Promotional, as the 2020 Diplomat of the Year.  With a diverse background from radio and tv to real estate and marketing, Cyndi and her team brings unparalleled customer focus to their clients.


With a mission to bring a holistic marketing approach to their clients considering budget, goals, market and target audience considerations, the team at P3 have become a unique marketing partner for their clients. As a female owned business with over 10 years in the promotions industry and 30 years in marketing, Cyndi gives her time, talents and considerable experience to so many in our community. As an entrepreneur and Chamber Member, she has built a reputation of amazing volunteerism and outstanding support to the mission of the Chamber.


2020 Annual Small Business Awards

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The West Monroe West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize the winners of the 2020 Small Business Awards presented by Glenwood Regional Medical Center and Paramount Healthcare Consultants.

Nominations were accepted from Chamber members in the following categories:  Emerging Entrepreneur, Micro Business, Small Business, Female Champion, Community Champion and the Silver Plus Award.  And the winners are:

  • Emerging Entrepreneur - Sarah Blackwell owner of Sadie C’s
    • Sarah began with a vision to have a beautiful store for a clientele of all ages providing trendy, timeless and affordable clothing and accessories. This first taste of success was the fuel and desire to reach beyond. She saw “big things happening” on Antique Alley and found the perfect location for not only one store but now two in historic downtown West Monroe. Sarah has opened 3 stores in 3 years.
  • Micro Business - M3 Physio
    • Dr. Michael Hildebrand is positively affecting his clients while contributing to the delivery of high-quality therapy services. By offering a concierge mobile clinic, clients receive the service they need at their convenience eliminating wait time in a typical clinical setting. To improve health knowledge and literacy, he provides free community clinics.
  • Small Business - Iron Cactus, Brad and Leah Parker owners
    • The Parkers have adjusted to the challenges of the recent economic climate. Operating a successful restaurant, continuing to serve the chamber and community, managing a family, and more.  They’re always poised and ready to give back to the community when asked.
  • Female Champion Emily Stansbury
    • With a desire to help women look and feel their best, Emily sought and opened Amazing Lash, a leader in the franchising industry. The business is made of mostly women providing more than an average salary to each employee. She is a registered Nurse Practitioner and earned the title Lieutenant in the army reserves.
  • Community Champion Teresa Hibbets
    • As a former educator, Teresa Hibbets, owner of The Chalkboard, dedicates her time and resources to bettering the community through offer specials and discounts to teachers and educators. This year, she was determined to continue her one-day summer sale by altering the event and expanded it by two-weeks to offer a safe environment for her customers.
  • Silver Plus Award - Tempco Insulation Inc.
    • Mr. Chuck Adams and his team at Tempco Insulation is dedicated to providing the highest quality products and services to their customers.  They take great pride in offering all the latest techniques along with a full line of products that are offered for commercial and residential projects. Mr. Adams is a life-long supporter of West Monroe’s civic and social organizations including having served on the WMWO Chamber Board of Directors. For forty-three years, Tempco Insulation has been synonymous with quality, honesty, integrity, morality and remains so to this day.

A new award was added this year, the 2020 Innovator of the Year awarded to Robby Compton, owner of American Mattress Outlet. COVID-19’s impact on our business community has taught us that small businesses must be innovative and adaptable all the time, however in light of the recent unprecedented adversities many business owners found themselves recreating their business model, entirely.  Through the Coronavirus pandemic we saw restaurants move to take out, boutiques to online and even facebook live sales. But through humor and some light-hearted yet extremely effective advertising, Robby’s creativity really stood out to the Awards Committee. He proved to be resilient and flexible.

Lila Strode, President of the WMWO Chamber of Commerce shares her pride in the winners, “We are excited to showcase the dedication, expertise and sheer hard work of our deserving winners. I would like to be the first to congratulate them on their outstanding contributions to our community and recognition in this prestigious awards program.”

The brief ceremony can be viewed on the Chamber website,

These awards are possible with the support of these generous sponsors: Glenwood Regional Medical Center, Paramount Healthcare Consultants, BayouLife Magazine, Centric Federal Credit Union, Cooper Veterinary Clinic, Entergy, Graphic Packaging International, Johnny’s Pizza House, Lazenby & Associates, and Origin Bank.


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