Tribune-Courier News Editor
DRAFFENVILLE– Despite the differences in their trades, four local business leaders all share a commitment to hard work and the community. This week, they will be recognized by the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce at the organizaiton’s 2012 dinner.
McCully’s Automotive of Benton has been named the 2012 Business of the Year, while the Georgiou family have been named entrepreneurs of the year. Sekisui Specalty Chemicals in Calvert City will be recognized as industry of the year, while CFSB CEO Betsy Flynn will receive a lifetime achievement award.
Business of the Year
After more than two decades of busness in Benton, McCully’s Automotive has been named the chamber’s 2012 business of the year. The honor comes after a year of growth and upgrades to the 201 West Fifth Street site.
Owner Larry McCully said the dealership appreciated the recognition.
“I still can’t hardly believe it,” McCully said. “There’s some awful good businesses here and for them to select us, we feel very honored. We don’t do anything fancy, we just try to sell good cars to good people.”
McCully credited his staff and diligence to inspecting each vehicle they sell.
“We thank the man upstairs each and every day,” McCully said. “We try to treat everybody the same and buy only select vehicles. If there’s a window or anything that doesn’t work, we fix it before it goes on the lot. The people we sell to are our friends and neighbors.”
Their approach is working. McCully estimates nearly 85 percent of his sales come from repeat customers and referals. Those sales have fueled a steady growth for the business which has grown from one lot and a trailer to a newly constructed building and combination of four lots. The building opened recently following several months of construction. It’s something McCully hopes to continue in the future.
“I’m pleased with the way it came out. We’ve got more to do inside and a whole lot more to do outside,” McCully said. “I’d like to stripe the lot, add some lights and continue improvements. We’re not just doing it for us, but for the community.”
McCully said he hopes by improving and expanding the site, it will be encouraging to other local businesses.
Entrepreneurs of the Year
After nearly four decades, it would be hard to find a family in Marshall County that hasn’t crossed through the doors of the Majestic Pizza and Steakhouse. The Draffenville staple has grown over the years, with two restaurants and an athletic facility on the campus.
“It’s an honor for the county to do this for us,” said Gus Georgiou, who began working in the restaurant business for his father when he was just 17. “We have been here since 1973 and it’s been a very nice place to live and raise a family. This has been successful for us and the people have been very nice.”
The businesses began with the original restaurant in 1973. Nearly 18 years ago, the Georgious added an additional steakhouse onto the main building, later leasing the space as a Mexican restaurant. This June will mark the two-year anniversary of the family opening Habenero under their own management.
In 2006, the Georgious, along with sons Billy and PG, opened Mega Gym adjacent to the restaurants. In addition to fitness training, Mega Gym offers City Blend smoothies and Hampton Physical Therapy.
“Our youngest son was involved in football and they liked to bodybuild,” said Popi Georgiou. “They wanted to open up a gym. It was a dream that they had years ago.”
Both Billy and his younger brother PG played sports for Marshall County High School. Billy also competed in body building competitions, placing third in a national competition.
Gus attributes the family’s success to hard work and staying dedicated to the business.
“At the beginning, I was working for my father and then for myself,” Gus said. “It was nothing for me to put in a 100 hours per week.”
Industry of the Year
Following last year’s announcement of a $2.6 million investment in its Calvert City facility, Sekisui Specialty Chemicals has been named the chamber’s 2012 industry of the year.
The plant has operated at Calvert City’s industrial complex for many years, most recently as Celanese Chemicals. In July of last year, Tsuyoshi (Tony) Okano, Sekisui Specialty Chemicals America COO and president, announced the multi-million dollar investment to help retain its 77 employees and update its infrastructure.
“The Commonwealth of Kentucky has always been very helpful to Sekisui Chemical,” Okano said. “The support from Governor Beshear and the Kentucky government was the main reason why our headquarters in Japan approved this huge investment for the distillation tower. I would like to show my deepest appreciation for all the support given to us so far, and I would also appreciate the continuous support of Sekisui Specialty Chemicals America.”
Lifetime Achievement Award
A long-time member of the chamber and supporter of numerous county organizations, Betsy Flynn is being recognized with a lifetime achievement award.
Flynn is currently the President and CEO of Community Financial Services Bank.
The chamber dinner will be held from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday at Marshall County High School. Hors d’oeuvres will be served in the Commons until 6:45 p.m., when the event will move to the Kenneth Shadowen Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased by phoning 527-7665.
A silent auction will be held throughout the night to benefit the Marshall County Arts Commission’s Children’s Arts Center.
Among the items to be auctioned are a basketball signed by UK coach John Calipari, several items of UK memorabilia, wall art, event tickets and and iPod.