Rebecca Manzer, together with her husband, started their carpet cleanin and restoration business in 2001 as a way to be their own bosses, set their own schedules and do what they loved.On Tuesday, Manzer, co-owner of Certified Carpet Cleaning and; Restoration LLC, was named the 2011 Small Business Person of the Year by the Tulsa Metro Chamber.
A surprised and grateful Manzer joined several small business owners and emerging entrepreneurs who were honored during a luncheon for the 2011 Crystal Star Small Business Awards, which are presented each year to firms that represent vision, innovation and dedication.
Their “entrepreneurial achievements help create jobs, drive product innovation and spur enterprise to improve the Tulsan regional economy,” said Dr. Gerard Clancy, chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, who welcomed the crowd.
Approximately 280 people turned out for the award luncheon at the Hyatt Regency hotel. The event also featured inspirational speaker Jim Stovall, best-selling author of “The Ultimate Gift” and president of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network.
“We have one God-given right – the right to choose. We are who we are because of all the choices we’ve made in our life,” Stovall said.
A lot of people don’t like to hear that, and it frustrates them because often people prefer to blame others for their circumstances, he said.
When Stovall became blind about 20 years ago at age 29, he confined himself for several months to a 9-by-12-foot room, where he felt scared, depressed and discouraged. Back then he never would have dreamed of traveling or standing and speaking before a luncheon crowd like he was on Tuesday.
“You change your life when you change your mind,” Stovall said.
Everyone has dreams and goals when they are young, but somewhere along the way people get so busy making a living that they lose their dreams, he said.
“But the biggest dream you ever had is alive and well, and all you need to do to activate it is say, ‘Yes,’ ” Stovall said. Manzer said she and her husband, Todd, a third-generation carpet cleaner and restoration technician, followed their dream to start a business in part as a way to be together.
“At the beginning it meant that my husband could do what he loved, and then I got to be with him and support him,” said Manzer, with a quiver in her voice, after the ceremony. “I can never get enough of him, and I get to work with him. … We’ve known each other since we were 16. I fall in love with him more every day.”
They have been married for 12 years.
“He’s supported me, and I’ve supported him, and I feel like we’re the best team that you could put together,” Manzer said.
Winning the award and having other people acknowledge her hard work is an honor, Manzer said. Their carpet cleaning operations has grown through word of mouth and repeat customers, and when their daughters started school last year, Manzer became intent on growing the business.
Through a grass-roots marketing campaign, networking, business seminars and superior customer service, Manzer was able to increase sales by 84 percent in just one year, said Billy Kulkin, president and managing partner of Cubic, who announced Tuesday’s awards.
“We want to be able to give back to people,” Manzer said during her acceptance speech. “We feel like we’ve been given so much and so we want to try to continue to grow in Tulsa, and to offer quality service, and also offer jobs and give back to the community.
“That’s very important to us because we feel like we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for such a wonderful community.”
by: LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer “Tulsa World”
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
5/18/2011 9:42:19 AM