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Local companies have been selected as finalists for Alabama Business of the Year

Local companies have been selected as finalists for Alabama Business of the Year

Finalists for the Alabama Small Business of the Year Awards have been announced for Town and Country Boutique and Taylor Linen Services, both of Andalusia.

In 1951, Merle Jones inaugurated Town and Country on the Andalusia square. They relocated to the former Foreman’s Funeral Home, also known as the “green home,” after roughly ten years, down South Three Notch Street. The store was owned and operated by Mrs. Jones’s daughter Pat Thompson up until around 2010, when a different owner decided to buy it. Later, she relocated to the western bypass and founded the Trio commercial mall with two other neighbourhood business owners.

Local Alabaman chambers of business offered nominations, and the finalists were chosen from those. Each award category allowed Alabama chambers to submit one nomination for a small business member. Awards will be given out in the following categories: emerging business (in operation for less than five years), small business (with less than ten workers), small business (with more than ten employees), and small business (with fewer than one hundred employees).

In the summer of 2020, Terri Proctor bought the store and immediately got involved with the City of Andalusia in efforts to bring Town and Country back to the city’s central business district. The store will open in the Prestwood Building in early 2023, just a few feet from where it was in 1951.

The Commercial Council of Alabama (BCA) and the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) together present the awards each year to honour deserving companies for their contributions to the community, business success, and civic engagement.

“The Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce nominated us to represent Andalusia in the small business category with one to ten employees. I currently have four workers at the shop working for me. I put together a list of the community projects I’ve been involved in with Laura Wells at the Chamber. These honours are given based on civic engagement, according to Proctor.

Paige Hutto from the CCAA contacted Proctor about Town and Country being selected as a finalist.

“I am thrilled to stand in for my hometown and this wonderful and encouraging community. We have something unique here in Andalusia, and I’m excited to represent our region of the state at the awards event in November,” she remarked.

In 1997, Taylor Linen Services, a finalist in the category for companies with 51 to 100 employees, established its first location there. “It began with a commitment to be the best linen and uniform provider in our market and a business with a safe and desirable work environment. Andalusia has a strong pro-business city government. We also have great public schools that help attract employees with young families to town,” said office manager Katherine Jones. “We are looking forward to representing our employees and our town at the state’s Chamber banquet.”

Jones added that this recognition is exciting for the company’s entire team. “What we do every day is long, hard, hot hours and often not the first industry people think of. While we work hard every day to provide a superior product and service for each of our customers, we also work equally hard to make Taylor Linen Services a business where people are proud to say they work.”

According to Jones, there are several benefits of working in a family-run business. “It is much simpler for every employee to be an active team member on the field rather than just a benchwarmer. We all know one another well, and if your boss considers you a friend, they won’t let you finish your shift alone. They remain and assist you in finishing as well. We have many families with multiple family members working here, despite the fact that the company name only refers to one family on our team. We once counted up to eight families, each of which had two to five members who worked at Taylor Linen Services, according to the woman.

On Wednesday, Nov. 30, in Birmingham, The BCA/CCAA Partnership Annual Meeting will celebrate all award finalists. In each of the four categories, three winners (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) will be recognised. Ten candidates from different parts of the state will each represent one category.

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