Lawton Chamber honors small businesses

Lawton_Some of the best of Lawton's small businesses were honored by the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. Among the winners were the Southwest Blood Institute - for best customer service, and Pro Team Harley Davidson - for their interior renovation, Sheppard Family Dental Care - for landscaping. Finalists included Liberty National Bank, and City National Bank, but it was family owned Sheppard Family Dental Care that won the award.

New friends clapped as Cindy Sheppard's name was called to accept her award as winner of this year's small business awards. "It s very nice to be honored by the Lawton Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the best landscaping for 2008," she said. But, Sheppard didn't landscape her business to win an award - she just wanted it to look nice. "One of our goals with our office building was to contribute to the beautification of Lawton," she said. "So that's one of the reasons we built our office to look like a train station."

The Chamber of Commerce and Mayor believe that for small businesses - you can judge a book by its cover. They say that if a business looks good, a potential customer will want to know more about it. While Sheppard aimed for a classic design, Flowers by Ramon took a different approach when they redesigned their building. "It has drawn a lot of attention, but wild animals are very much the vogue today," said Ramon. His design earned him an award for best new exterior façade renovation. Storage-R-Us won the award for best web site - it's simple, and it was just what the judges were looking for. The judges say that keeping a web site clean and easy to navigate is most important to them.

The Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce also submitted two entries to the state small business awards - Brox Industries for Family Owned Business of the Year, and Delphine Nelson, CEO of Comanche Nation Enterprises for Small Business Person of the Year.

Here were Lawton's winners:

Best Website - Storage 'R' Us
Best Billboards - Arrow Sign Company
Best Customer Service - Southwest Oklahoma Blood Institute
Best Landscaping - Sheppard Family Dental Care
Best New Interior Renovation - Pro Team Harley Davidson
Best New Exterior Facade Renovation - Flowers by Ramon
Best New Construction - Tie: Carroll Rodgers for the new Olive Garden/Big 5 Shopping Center Fiesta Toyota