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Richard K. Allen receives the 2018 South Carolina Veteran Small Business Person of the Year award on May 2.

One local veteran who sacrificed everything for this nation was recognized for developing an innovative small business.

Air Force veteran and Aiken resident Richard K. Allen was awarded the 2018 South Carolina Veteran Small Business Person of the Year award at the South Carolina Small Business and Administration Luncheon in Columbia on May 2.

“When South Carolina says you're top dog when it comes to veterans, then that’s a good thing,” Allen said.

National Small Business Week, since 1963, has highlighted exceptional achievements of America’s small businesses for contributions to local communities, as well as the nation’s economy.

Allen, who is the President and CEO of Eagle Corps Services, LLC, said he was recognized for having an enterprising business, and was able to meet the following criteria amongst the competition: business sustainability, no unresolved issues with the Better Business Bureau, character references, financials that show the business has reached a certain threshold and impact of the community.

Eagle Corps Services, LLC owns and operates Citizen’s Park Office and Conference Center and performs contract services. And Allen’s wife and business partner, Mary, helps with elevating the business.

Allen’s flagship business started in 2006, when the company started bidding security contracts and selling items and materials to large businesses. After purchasing the conference center in 2013 for $220,000, the business, Allen said, really began to thrive.

“We grew the company, and the arm that is the most prominent – Citizen’s Park and Office Conference Center – literally has blossomed into a premiere venture for business incubation, social events, nontraditional office space and for helping people get involved in their businesses.”

The conference center, located on 640 Old Airport Road, has office space readily available for clients for a fee, and is developed for traditional, mobile and virtual business operations.

“If you are an attorney and are operating out of the lower country of South Carolina and you want to get to the big city and you can’t afford a practice there, we have attorney’s who come in and expand business by opening up virtual offices,” Allen said.

Other types of businesses occupying Allen’s office space include staffing agencies, insurance, financial institutions, training companies and clients in the community needing a venue for formal functions.

While Allen’s flagship operation is all about business, there are entertainment aspects that could placate multiple interests. The public can expect bars and dance floors, which can occupy up to 75 people.

There also is a permanent tent structure with chandeliers and lights that can sit up to 200 people. The facility already is booked for weddings up to 2021, Allen mentioned.

“We believe we are helping our community by giving those businesses who are trying to make it to the next level an opportunity to do so without being strangled by long-term mortgages and leases,” Allen said.