A local entrepreneur is a finalist for an award that recognizes outstanding small business owners across the state.
Shannon Ellis, co-owner of The Willcox, is one of five finalists for the U.S. Small Business Administration S.C. District Office’s 2013 South Carolina Small Business Person of the Year award.
Ellis said Bob Clark, business consultant with the local office of the Small Business Development Center, recommended her for the award.
Ellis received the news last week. Ellis took some time to look up the other finalists online and said they are all quite amazing individuals. She said she’s proud to be ranked alongside these remarkable small business people.
“It’s a real honor to be recognized in that way,” Ellis said. “I’m grateful to be a finalist. It’s very exciting.”
The administration looks for innovation, job creation, the overcoming of adversity and other characteristics when reviewing possible finalists for this award.
Ellis owns The Willcox with her husband Geoff.
The 114-year-old hotel includes 22 rooms – seven of those are suites – a restaurant, bar and spa open to both overnight and day visitors.
The couple has worked hard to make the historic building an enjoyable place, not just for visitors, but a hot spot for residents, as well.
The Willcox holds cooking and cocktail classes, features art exhibits, hosts a variety of events and offers catering.
The Willcox also has a food truck that travels to different events. On Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., it parks at the UPS Corporate offices near Gold’s Gym, 2031 S. Centennial Ave., serving foot traffic, and 10 percent of those gross sales go to the United Way.
The hotel has received several awards over the years. Most recently, it was listed in the Travel + Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels worldwide for 2013 with a score of 94.25 out of 100. In 2012, The Willcox was 32 out of 50 on the World’s Best Hotels list.
The U.S. Small Business Administration S.C. District Office’s 2013 South Carolina Small Business Person of the Year winners will be announced later this month.
State winners will then be in the running for the National Small Business Person of the Year.