Posted: Jun 13, 2013 7:05 PM by Keele Smith - MTN News
Three local businesses were honored today for their contributions to the small business world.
"Each year one outstanding entrepreneur is named Montana's Small Business Person of the year," Bozeman Mayor Sean Becker told the audience at an awards banquet hosted by the Montana Small Business Administration.
The SBA nominated Joe Billion as the overall small business person of the year.
"People are looking for friends in the car business, people that treat them fairly and friendly and that's what we want to be," Billon told the crowd.
Billion started selling cars in Bozeman in 1978.
Since then, he's expanded his business from a single dealership into an operation known as the Billion Auto Group.
Billion now runs four dealerships, an environmentally friendly car wash, an auto glass shop and auto body shop with the help of nearly 160 employees. "
The Nova Cafe and Big Sky Western Bank also took home awards.
Small Business Administration Director Wayne Gardella says for all three businesses, it's their sense of entrepreneurship that led to the nominations.
"They run great businesses they all have amazing success stories and we also look at how many jobs they've created," Gardella said.
For Billion, success is measured by the happiness of others.
"When we have good business and we can take care of our customers and we have good business and we can take care of our employees, that's really what makes life fun. And that's what it's all about," Billion said.
Billion will have the chance to represent Montana at the National Small Business Week in Washington D.C.
Owner of the Nova Cafe, Serena Rundburg won the award for a business with 10 - 29 employees. Big Sky Western Bank took home the top performing lender award.