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'Epitome of a small business': Dearing printer honored with award

Not even a week after the inaugural Dearing Mayfest, one of the festival's chief organizers was recognized for his growing business and his contributions to the community.

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Kelley Business Printers owner Sean Kelley shakes hands with Chamber of Commerce President Steve Chalker after receiving the award.

On Thursday, May 12, the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce presented Sean Kelley and Kelley Business Printers, Inc., of Dearing, the Small Business of the Year award for the county.

According to Carolyn Gilbert, Chamber of Commerce director, the award is presented to a business owner in the county who displays a commitment to community service, creativity and success in his or her field.

Candidates are also evaluated based on the growth of their businesses, which is one area in which Mr. Kelley's business is particularly noteworthy.

"I bought two presses from a friend of mine and that's where I got started," said Mr. Kelley, who opened his business on April 1, 1994, with only that $1,500 worth of original used equipment.

He started with small work, but the additions of large clients like McCorkle Nurseries and CSM of Dearing helped Kelley Business Printers grow significantly.

Today, Mr. Kelley uses four presses and other equipment to service customers in McDuffie, Columbia, and Richmond Counties, as well as in Waynesboro, Gibson, Warrenton, and North Augusta, SC.

"He's young, enthusiastic, energetic and built a great business out of nothing," said Dianne Wood, last year's winner from Peacock Hill in Thomson.

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Abby Kelley, holds onto her mom, Paige, as her dad, Sean, grips the Small Business of the Year plaque.

Both she and Mrs. Gilbert have been impressed with Mr. Kelley's gracious and dependable nature, as well as his promptness in completing each customer's order. Both commented on his ability to work hard and stay busy without rushing through conversations with customers.

Mrs. Gilbert mentioned his commitment to help the community and the Chamber beyond what could be expected of a business the size of Kelley Business Printers. Those were just a few of the reasons the Chamber decided to recognize the business.

"I was shocked, stunned, all kinds of adjectives like that," Mr. Kelley said, adding that he was "real proud of Dearing."

The award, which was first presented in 1997 to Langham's Clothing store, had never been given to a business from the town of Dearing.

Mr. Kelley thanked his employees, including his wife, Paige, his mother, Claudia, Carol Welch, as well as Donna and Donald Toulson. In the future, he hopes to see his business grow to a point where he can hire a full-time, dependable printer so that he and his wife could spend more time away from the office.



Web posted on Thursday, May 19, 2005











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