SBA West Virginia District Office Announces Small Business Week Award Winners

Clarksburg, W Va. – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) West Virginia District Office announced the names of the four 2023 West Virginia Small Business Week award winners. The winners will be celebrated at an invitation-only awards luncheon, in Fairmont, WV, May 3, 2023.

 2023 West Virginia Small Business Person of the Year
Anthony and Heather Wheeler, Owners – Paris Signs

Paris Signs is a sign company dedicated to offering creative solutions to customers, located in Huntington, WV. Anthony and Heather Wheeler are co-owners of the business that has seen consistent growth since inception.

The business was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, and an ice storm simultaneously damaging their facility and delivery vehicles.

SBA’s COVID-19 EIDL relief program helped the business through this tough time. In 2022, they saw a 50% increase in sales and have grown to 31 employees. They are bursting at the seams and recently purchased an additional location.

2023 West Virginia Small Business Exporter of the Year &Mid-Atlantic Regional WinnerDouglas Kreinik – Kreinik Manufacturing Co., Inc

Kreinik Manufacturing, located in Parkersburg, WV, is a family-owned manufacturer of silk and metallic threads for needle workers, crafters, scrapbookers, quilters, fiber artists, fly fishermen, and even fashion houses and costume designers. The business was started by Doug’s parents in their home in 1970. Doug joined the business in 1983 and the business moved to the current facility. Kreinik utilized a variety of SBA products and services, including: the Emerging Leaders Program (now T.H.R.I.V.E.), STEP grant, SBDC counseling, and most recently the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program loan. The pandemic assistance he received helped him to stay in business during the difficult time. Working with a skeleton crew, Doug was able to modify his machines to produce elastic for masks, including an order for 10,000 yards for the National Guard.
2023 West Virginia Veteran-Owned Small Business of the YearAnne & Joe Perella – A & J Sewing Studio LLC
A&J Sewing Studio is a family-owned, independent sewing, quilting and embroidery machine dealership and service center in Morgantown, WV.  The shop also sells fabric, thread, patterns, Horn of America furniture, and conducts sewing classes. Anne and Joe both served our country; Anne for 27 years retiring at the rank of Lt. Colonel, LTC and Joe for 28 years retiring at the rank of LTC. The business received assistance from SBA’s Resource Partner, the WV Small Business Development Center, an SBA loan-guarantee with MVB Bank, and COVID-19 pandemic assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.

WV Woman-Owned Small Business of the YearAngie Cowger – Custard Stand Chili / The Custard Stand
The Custard Stand Chili, located in Webster Springs, WV, makes the families personal recipe of Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili and Custard Stand Chili Soup.  You may recognize them from, their pitch on Shark Tank in 2016, or from one of the 3,500 stores in more than 25 states, including, Kroger, Meijer, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Harris Teeter, and other small grocery chains and independent stores. Angie Cowger, better known as the Chili Queen, has a long-standing relationship with the SBA. She has utilized the loan-guarantee program, Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, counseling from the WV Small Business Development Center, was a member of the Emerging Leaders Program, and has received ongoing counseling from the West Virginia District Office with contracting programs.