ARLINGTON, TX – September 5, 2023 – The Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the recipients of the 2023 Small Business of the Year Awards. This year, we are honoring nine recipients for six awards – for-profit, minority-owned (2), veteran-owned, woman-owned (2), nonprofit (2) and overall small business of the year, the top award going to the highest scoring submission. Recipients will be honored at the 18th Annual State of the City Address on Wednesday, October 25.
“Arlington is home to thousands of businesses. We know the success of a small business is defined by more than sales numbers and profits; it’s about the lives you impact in your community,” said Michael Jacobson, President & CEO of the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, “This year’s recipients for our Small Business Awards exemplify passion for their work, determination to succeed and devotion to the greater Arlington community. We could not be more proud of our 2023 recipients.”
OVERALL SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR RECIPIENT: SFC LLP
SFC LLP (SFC) is a full-service public accounting firm consisting of 60 team members and has been located in Arlington for over 30 years. Our clientele spans across various industries, including individuals, privately held companies, not-for-profit organizations, and employee benefit plans, each benefiting from our tailored services. SFC’s main service lines include audit, tax, accounting, insurance compliance, and consulting. Our core mission is to provide our clients with unparalleled support by offering the advantages of both a large-scale organization and the personalized care of a community-based business. One of our core values is giving back to the community and we take great pride in our involvement with organizations in Arlington. We are proud members of several organizations including the Rotary Club of Arlington, TXCPA Fort Worth Chapter, Leadership Arlington, Miracle League of DFW, the Levitt Pavilion in Arlington and the Margarita Ball.
FOR-PROFIT RECIPIENT: mma, inc.
mma, inc. is a technology-focused design firm specializing in civil engineering, surveying, landscape architecture and planning services for a wide range of clients across North Texas. mma’s primary focus has been in the land development sector, playing a vital role in shaping Arlington and surrounding areas’ landscape and infrastructure. This includes master-planned communities, commercial, industrial, education, hospitality, mixed-use and entertainment projects. In addition to growing and diversifying work with existing clients and expanding with new partners, mma has focused on the professional development of its team and on creating a flexible, collaborative and supportive work culture for its employees. Backed by a set of action-oriented values – be creative, be engaged, be involved, be responsive, be passionate, be accountable – mma’s employees are dedicated to building long-lasting relationships with colleagues, clients and partners as they continue to explore new ways to positively impact communities across the North Texas.
NONPROFIT RECIPIENTS: Rotary Club of Arlington AND United Way of Tarrant County
For 100 years, The Rotary Club of Arlington has been at the forefront of helping build the City of Arlington. Among the Club’s highlights is our long association with the City’s parks system, which started with the donation of the land for the City’s first park, Meadowbrook. The Club has “adopted” Webb Elementary School, and provides many programs to the school throughout each school year. Our signature project is our Webb Scholarship program, which provides scholarships for college or technical schools to any student who attended Webb for at least one year. To date, our local foundation has donated over $1,000,000 to this program. The Club was chartered on June 11, 1923, and in 2023 we commemorated our Centennial by working with the City of Arlington to commission and donate the “Boundless” interactive art piece to the Rotary Dream Park at the gateway of downtown.
As a regional arm of United Way of Tarrant County, UWTC-Greater Arlington brings together community leaders and local nonprofits to identify and address issues facing residents in Arlington, Mansfield, Grand Prairie and surrounding areas. We work to ensure every voice is heard to create stronger communities where everyone thrives. Our focus areas include building human service infrastructure, informing the community on key initiatives, mobilizing resources to help those in need, and facilitating and engaging in community conversations. Annually, UWTC-Greater Arlington contributes 1,150 volunteer hours to the area and supports 50+ local nonprofits through grant tips, networking opportunities, basic need referrals, training and other community needs. Additionally, in 2022, our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites in Arlington processed 2,008 returns, resulting in refunds totaling more than $3.4 million. United Way of Tarrant County recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, and we are ready to serve North Texas for years to come.
VETERAN-OWNED RECIPIENT: Invictus Legacy Builders
Invictus Legacy Builders is a trailblazing organization at the intersection of business coaching and leadership development. Founded by retired veteran and U.S. Army Green Beret Michael Dailey, the organization has become synonymous with transformative change. The “Invictus No Excuse Leadership Environment” is built on pillars of integrity, stewardship, and an unconquerable spirit, aligning perfectly with Mr. Dailey’s military roots and strategic business acumen. From its community involvement to its international partnerships, Invictus Legacy Builders is setting a new standard in culture building, servant leadership development, and high-performance business execution. Mr. Dailey is an active contributor to his community, serving on the VetStarts Board of Directors and taking on leadership roles as an Ambassador for the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce and as the Membership Chair for the Veterans Business Council. His commitment extends to being a part of the Mayor’s Veteran’s Task Force, the Benevolent Order of the Elks, and the VFW. Additionally, he is an Executive Committee member for the Field of Honor and contributes to the Arlington Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee. Mr. Dailey is also a very proud member of the Arlington Sunrise Rotary.
WOMAN-OWNED RECIPIENTS: BrandEra Inc. AND Kos/Danchak Audiology and Hearing Aids
BrandEra: When Reecanne Joeckel and Beth Owens met years ago at American IronHorse Motorcycle Company, they could not have imagined sharing an incredible ride more than twenty years later. Founding BrandEra in 2004, the partners juggled family and work life, while mindfully growing their award-winning, full-service agency that, today, specializes in marketing municipalities, school districts, professional services, nonprofits and niche enterprises across Texas and New Mexico. With a reputation for being more than just service providers, BrandEra excels at being problem solvers, results-driven strategists and reliable partners each client deserves. Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, Beth, Reecanne and the BrandEra team have always prioritized volunteering and working with nonprofits. The partners’ give-back approach has seen involvement with organizations including CASA of Tarrant County, Arlington Urban Ministries, Arlington ISD Education Foundation, PTAs and booster clubs, the Levitt Pavilion, Santa Fe International Folk Art Market (Arlington), Grace Lutheran Church and numerous other philanthropies.
Kos/Danchak Audiology and Hearing Aids has been helping North Texans with hearing, dizziness, and balance problems for over 35 years. Dr. Melissa Danchak and her professional staff work closely with patients and their families to provide an accurate diagnosis and find the best solutions for each person’s unique needs. Dr. Danchak’s caring approach has made a real difference in our community by helping to improve the quality of life for and overcome the challenges of those with hearing and balance concerns. This is why a vast number of family physicians from Arlington and the surrounding areas and countless patients feel confident referring others to Kos/Danchak as the place to provide the highest quality hearing and balance services.
MINORITY-OWNED RECIPIENTS: Smoke’N Ash BBQ AND Upton Real Estate
Smoke’N Ash BBQ by Patrick and Fasicka Hicks is a barbecue restaurant that serves an extensive menu of classic Texas-style BBQ and traditional Ethiopian cuisine, as well as their own genre of signature Tex-Ethiopian dishes that can be found nowhere else. They have been featured on national media such as CBS, and they were listed on the New York Times Restaurant List of “Top 50 Restaurants of 2022,” as well as The “20 Best Texas BBQ Restaurants from the New Generation for 2023.” Smoke’N Ash BBQ is reopening at a new location (still in Arlington) that will also have an expanded menu including alcohol; they hope the new location will be a perfect platform for them to bring further recognition to both Texan and Ethiopian culinary traditions.
Established in 2005, Upton Real Estate, led by CEO Nicole Upton, is a premier full-service real estate firm. They excel in residential sales, relocation support, commercial ventures, and property management. Their hallmark is client empowerment through education, leveraging deep insights into local and national markets for optimal results. What sets them apart is their holistic approach to real estate. They navigate pivotal life moments like relocations, marriages, retirements, losses, and divorces with emotional intelligence and compassion, fostering lasting relationships. Upton Real Estate’s commitment transcends property; it enriches lives through seamless transitions and steadfast partnerships. They actively participate in the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Worth Rotary Club, and the Arlington Board of Realtors. Moreover, they volunteer with Girls Inc, The Potter’s House, and Meals on Wheels, embodying their dedication to community and well-being.
This awards process is rigorous. Once a business or organization is nominated, they complete an extensive application including recommendation letters from the community. The Chamber’s criteria for selection as a Small Businesses of the Year include growth, relevant innovation and contributions to furthering the Chamber’s Mission “Together, We Champion Economic and Community Prosperity.” A group of distinguished business leaders in the greater Arlington area examined all completed applications to determine the winners each year. If, after rounds of scoring, there is a virtual tie in a category, judges deliberate for a clear winner or if both businesses/organizations deserve the award.