The U.S. Small Business Administration will present its annual Small Business Persons of the Year awards next week during a White House Rose Garden ceremony.
The winners from this area are an Arlington printing firm that counts National Geographic, Time-Life Books and the National Gallery of Art among its clients, an Arlington office supply company which has increased its sales sevenfold in six years by concentrating on the market in small- to medium-sized offices, and a minority-owned home heating oil distribution company in Baltimore.
The winner of the award for the Washington metropolitan area is Composition Systems Inc., a union typography shop set up in 1976 by Richard Herdman and three partners who were trained in the hot-metal printing techniques predominant before computerized photocomposition became more common.
The award for the state of Virginia will go to Guernsey Office Products Inc., also in Arlington. David Guernsey, president of the company and a former employe of Royal Typewriter Co., said an initial marketing survey he did revealed that more attention is paid locally to large office supply customers, so that his firm has been able to capitalize on the needs of smaller businesses for typewriters, calculators, copiers and paper supplies.
Jackson Oil Co. in Baltimore was founded in 1963 by Wythers Jackson, who had $1,500 in savings and a 1957 Ford oil truck with which to launch his home heating oil delivery company. Jackson's son Will took over the business in 1974 and, with the help of government-guaranteed financing, has diversified the business and expanded its sales and payroll.
The SBA says the criteria for choosing winners include whether or not a business is well established, its growth in employes and sales, its success in solving problems, and the degree of innovation and creativity shown in its operations. Nominees are submitted to the SBA by local chambers of commerce and other community groups.