A near-capacity crowd turned out for Kyndle’s Small Business of the Year awards breakfast at the Henderson Country Club on Dec. 11, 2014. The chairman-emeritus of the famed Maker’s Mark bourbon distillery was the keynote speaker. A Main Street Henderson business with international reach and a U.S. 41-North business that reinvented itself were honored as Kyndle’s Small Businesses of the Year. Horsefeathers Gifts won in the 0 - 10 employee category and J.D. Byrider won in the 11 - 50 employee category.
Kyndle Honors Small Businesses of Year
By: Chuck Stinnett, The Henderson Gleaner
A Main Street Henderson business with international reach and a U.S. 41-North business that reinvented itself were honored as Kyndle’s Small Businesses of the Year on December 11.
Here are the recipients:
The mother-and-daughter team of Tammy Asher and Chelsea Farmer started their HorseFeathers Gifts handmade jewelry business online in 2009.
They went brick-and-mortar in 2013 when they opened a shop Second Street in downtown Henderson before moving this year to a larger space at 112 N. Main St. and expanding their product line.
“To make a small business successful takes many things,” Mary Whitledge said in announcing the winner in the category of 10 or fewer employees. “It takes a great idea, hard work, dedication, long hours and a passion for what you do as well as some gumption. Today’s winners have all these things. They’re creative, innovative and think outside the box. Sometimes I don’t think they even have a box!”
“What started as a small local shop has grown into a national brand,” Whitledge said. “Their items can be bought here on Main Street, but they ship thousands and thousands of packages around the world.”
HorseFeathers has also turned heads by showing that a downtown Henderson store can have shoppers lined up outside its front door at 6 a.m. on BlackFriday by offering door-buster specials and sale prices, just like box-box retailers do.
Whitledge hailed Asher and Farmer for committing to fair trade partners — artisans and craftsmen in the developing world who are paid fairer prices for their work by eliminating layers of middlemen — as well as working with local artists and being active in animal rescue efforts.
They have also “been featured around the world, from OK! magazine to New York magazine. They have even been on Fox News,” Whitledge said.
“I’m proud to call them my friends and even happier to say that their world headquarters is right here in Henderson on Main Street,” she said.
“We’re just excited to be part of Henderson. We love being on Main Street in our new location,” Farmer said in accepting the award. “We’re excited for all the support. We didn’t expect the store to take off as much as it did locally. My husband actually thought we were nuts, starting a business in Henderson — our store.
“Online was our big income before, but now our retail location in Henderson has taken on a life of its own,” she said. “My stepmom now runs our store and there’s five of us that are full-time at HorseFeathers ... We’ve gone from 1,000 square feet on Second Street to almost 5,000 square feet on Main Street in a year and a half. So we’re just really blessed and thankful for everyone’s support and continued support of our business.”
The winner in the category of 11 to 50 employees began as a truck stop 2214 U.S. 41-North opened by Evansville resident Jeff Anderson’s parents in 1976.
The fast and heavy traffic on the North Strip made it increasingly undesirable as a truck stop location, so Anderson converted the location in 2002 to J.D. Byrider Auto Sales, a franchise used-car business.
“Successful businesses make a profit, sure, but not all business success can be measured in just what happens with the bottom line,” Kyndle President and CEO Bran Schneider said in presenting the award. “Sometimes, helping others better their lives can be a concurrent happy ending.
“Such is the case” with J.D. Byrider, which he said “helps people who need them get into low-cost dependable cars while at the same time helping them their personal credit rating. Having reliable transportation helps people keep jobs, which in turn provides them paychecks necessary to rehabilitate their credit. Improved credit helps people own homes, go to college, start businesses and a bunch of other things that help them improve their lot in life.”
Additionally, Anderson “encourages team members to become more involved in the community, and they have done so in spectacular ways,” Schneider said.
“One particular member of this business’ executive team is Janet Hortin, who has become a tireless and effective volunteer,” he said. “She has served on the chamber of commerce (now called Kyndle) board and won its Ambassador of the Year award and helped guide contributions and sponsorships, time and talent to a variety of charitable causes and nonprofit organizations such as the W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Relay for Life, the Henderson Area Arts Alliance, Junior Achievement, Matthew 25 (AIDS Services), Riverview School — the list goes on.”
Meanwhile, Schneider said the business’ parent company, Interstate Petroleum, continued to grow, opening a second location in Owensboro, hotels near Fort Campbell and in Dallas, a car lot and RV dealership in Michigan and a home lease-to-own business in Owensboro, all while keeping its corporate offices in Henderson.
“For having the good sense to grow in Henderson, for encouraging employees to actively engage in civic affairs, for business acumen that has grown in workforce and its reach and for using a win-win business model that helps customers in more ways than one,” J.D. Byrider won the award, he said.
“This is much appreciated,” Anderson said. “ ... Kentucky and Western Kentucky have been great to us.”
|Chelsea Farmer, center, and Tammy Asher, center-right, proudly show off HorseFeathers Gifts' 2014 Small Business of the Year Award (0 - 10 employees). HorseFeathers Gifts can be reached by phone at (270) 635 - 3904, they are located at 112 N. Main Street in Henderson, Ky. You can visit and order from their website; www.HorseFeathersGifts.com||Janet Hortin, left, and Jeff Anderson, right, display JD Byrider's award for 2014 Small Business of the Year (11 - 50 employees). JD Byrider Henderson can be reached by phone at (270) 827-3681, they are located at 2214 US 41 in Henderson, Ky. Visit them online, here.|