Commerce Lexington Inc. began honoring the contributions that small businesses have on our economy in 1986, and since that very first Salute to Small Business, the impact of small businesses on the global economy has become greater than ever before.

The Salute to Small Business Awards Luncheon, presented by Forcht Bank, was held Thursday, Aug. 24 at the Keeneland Entertainment Center to recognize the “thoroughbreds” of  the small business community in variety of categories and help celebrate the naming of a new Commerce Lexington Inc. Small Business of the Year.

Forcht Bank President Tucker Ballinger is pictured congratulating the winners.


Winner: Business Success Award

GreenBox was founded in 2010 by Gwen Riley. Specializing in heating, cooling, air quality, plumbing, and remodeling, GreenBox simplifies new system installation, retrofit projects, seasonal maintenance, and repair. By combining a full range of residential and commercial services, the business offers a one-stop shop, answering the many challenges of running a smooth household and successful business.

Synergy Coach

Winner: Minority Business Award

Led by owner Larry Jackson, Synergy Coach is a wellness incubator that focuses on individualized program design for health seekers, business development for entrepreneurs in wellness, and coaching coaches who are growing their clientele in the areas of health and wellness. Its mission is to become the ultimate guide to resolving pain, preventing injury, and optimizing tactical and athletic performance.

Impressions Marketing & Events

Winner: Young Entrepreneur Award

While Impressions Marketing & Events officially incorporated in 2010, it wasn’t until October 2012 that Laura McDonald began devoting time to build the business. The main goal of the business is to help nonprofit and small business clients make a lasting impression on their audiences through marketing and events. The Impressions team works with clients on specific projects to help them meet goals, and often supplements the internal marketing team at organizations on an ongoing basis. This helps nonprofits access support in a more cost effective way. During its nearly five years in business, Impressions Marketing & Events has seen consistent growth, with plans to increase employees and contractors on the team within the next year.

Omni Architects

Winner: Small business of the Year

Winner: Legacy Award

Since 1975, Omni Architects has been designing buildings that respond to its clients’ needs and aspirations, while enhancing the lives of the people who use them. Omni has crafted thoughtful designs that elevate the missions of our clients in the markets they serve, including higher education, healthcare, worship, civic, workplace, and P-12.

Lexington History Museum

Winner: Phoenix Award

The core mission of the Lexington History Museum is to preserve, protect and present the history of Lexington and Fayette County to all persons of every age through all media. The organization was founded in 1998 at the request of then Mayor Pam Miller. The museum itself was located in the old Fayette County Courthouse until 2011 when it was forced to evacuate due to the discovery of lead paint dust and mold.

Bullhorn Creative

Winner: Green Initiative Award

Bullhorn is a branding agency that builds confident brands with language and design. It was started in the fall of 2008 with no clients and little experience by Brad Flowers and Griffin VanMeter. In 2010, they hired a project manager and a designer, and later a web developer, videographer, and the company’s first salespeople.  Its clients range from local nonprofits and businesses to national and even international companies.  The staff at Bullhorn takes pride in its culture and has built the business around values that every employee embraces – empathy and honesty, dissatisfaction and improvement, and creativity and decisiveness.

Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass

Winner: Innovation Award

Locally, JA of the Bluegrass was incorporated in 1963 when a group of entrepreneurs, including Warren Rosenthal, W.T. Young Sr., O.A. Bakhaus and Alex Campbell, saw the need for this program in our local schools. Today, JA of the Bluegrass plays an active role in 107 schools throughout Fayette and the surrounding counties utilizing 945 volunteers.

Children’s Advocacy  Center of the 


Winner: Nonprofit Award

The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of the Bluegrass works to reduce the trauma experienced by sexually abused children by providing services to them in a nurturing, friendly and safe environment. The organization was created in 1991, following a review of the way child sexual abuse cases were being handled in Fayette County, and the Center opened its doors in 1994.