The flu bug sidelined Savannah Tire’s executives on Thursday, but the local family-owned business is plenty healthy.
The auto repair chain claimed top honors at the Buy Local Savannah’s annual awards luncheon. Savannah Tire was named the organization’s “business of the year” for its growth, facility expansion and public service.
“Savannah Tire has been growing for 62 years and is still growing,” said Frank Baylor, the company’s corporate sales manager and the fill-in for his ill superiors at the luncheon. “I’m proud to work for them.”
Savannah Tire is a third-generation family business founded by M.J. Kicklighter. The founder’s grandson, Trey Cook, now manages the business.
Savannah Tire experienced 7 percent revenue growth in 2012 and added a ninth repair shop. It donated more than $21,000 to local charities.
Savannah Tire employs 150.
“Over the family’s three generations in business they have served multiple generations of Savannahians,” Baylor said.
Savannah Tire was chosen as the Business of the Year from among four finalists. Runners-up included apartment complex management company Kole Management, cooking oil recyclers Southern Enviro Solutions and specialty foods retailer Edibelles.
Buy Local Savannah also honored its Advocate of the Year — Ruel Joyner of 24e Design Co. The Savannah native is the president of the Savannah Downtown Business Association and formerly a candidate for Savannah City Council.
“He is a retail and political presence whose business is one of the most recognized anchors of downtown business,” said Ray Williams of WRHQ radio, who introduced Joyner.
Joyner is the second generation of his family to own a business on Broughton Street. He is also among the driving forces behind the street’s renaissance over the last 15 years.
“I wanted to build a business in a city with a soul,” Joyner said.
Joyner was selected from a group of finalists that included local event planner Scott West, Savannah Economic Development Authority CEO Trip Tollison and Rene Teran, publisher of the magazine Well Fed.
ABOUT BUY LOCAL SAVANNAH
Thirteen years ago, three Savannah businessmen, Rick Culbreth of Yates-Astro, Remer Lane of Remer Lane Insurance and Martin Sullivan of Sullivan Staffing, got together to fight back against big national companies driving little guys out of business.
They created an association of local retailers who feel strongly about mounting a comprehensive advertising and marketing campaign to encourage Savannah shoppers to buy goods and services from local businesses.