The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce congratulates the area businesses that have been named 2012 Small Business of the Year Award semi-finalists.

Annually, this Awards Gala recognizes and honors small businesses within the Greater Brandon area that have demonstrated leadership, positive growth and development, creativity, and integrity in operating a business, as well as a commitment to community services. Award categories include: 1-5 Employees, 6-15 Employees, 16 Plus Employees, Home-Based Business and Minority or Women-Owned Business. The 2012 event will feature an innovative theme and program including a video tribute to the 15 finalists and past winners, and the recognition of winners of the Small Business of the Year in five distinct categories

Congratulations to these finalists: One to five employees: Ivey Carpet and Flooring, Mary and Martha House, Inc./Second Hand Rose Boutique, Moon Law Group, P.L.,; Six to 15 employees: ACE Heating & Cooling, Bivins & Hemenway, P.A., COX Electric; sixteen plus employees: Beef O’Brady’s :The Original”, Ed Morese Cadillac of Brandon, The Rack-Sushi Bar & Billiards Lounge; Home Based: ION Apparel & Advertising Specialties, Morningstar Electric, LLC, Yard Guards on Doody, LLC; Minority and Woman Owned: A Touch of Wellness, The Waiting Game Publication and Tutoring Club.

“Being  selected as a finalist for the Brandon Small Business of the Year is an honor,” says Susan Prestridge, Owner and Executive Director of the Tutoring Club of Valrico. “But an even greater accomplishment is the more than 1,000 children that Tutoring Club has helped become successful learners.”

The Awards Gala will take place on Thursday, October 18 at the Sheraton Tampa E-ast Hotel, located at 10221 Princess Palm Ave., in Tampa. The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Small Business of the Year Award Gala is Title Sponsored by The Bank of Tampa. Additional sponsors include Hanna, Lemar & Morris, C.P.A.’s, P.A., Tampa Bay Times and Coventry Health Care of Florida. For more information, visit

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.