County News

2021 Small Business Of The Year Winners and Finalists Recognized By The Autauga County Commission


Dec.8, 2021


Autauga County, Ala. – The Autauga County Commission recognized and congratulated Fras-LeNorth America, EllisCounseling, LLC, The SouthernRefinery and TrustmarkNational Bank in Autauga County for being named as finalists in the “Alabama’sSmall Business of the Year” awards, presented annually by the BusinessCouncil of Alabama and the Chamber ofCommerce Association of Alabama. A total of forty-five small businesses in the state of Alabama wererecognized as finalists and honored during the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and the Business Council of Alabama Partnership AnnualMeeting/Luncheon at The Harbert Center in Birmingham on Dec. 3, 2021.

Patty VanderWal, president of the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, introduced the local businesses and shared with the Autauga County Commission how the award process works during the commission meeting on December 7, 2021.  

VanderWal explained that state level winners were also awarded at three levels including the GoldAward, Silver Award and Bronze Award in four different categories: Emerging,1-10 employees, 11-50 employees and 51-100 employees. Autauga County's own Fras-Le North America received the Gold Award as the Alabama Small Businessof the Year- 51-100 Employees, and Ellis Counseling, LLC received the Silver Award as the Alabama Small Business of the Year Bronze Award - 1-10 Employees.These distinguished awards are reviewed by a panel of out-of-state judges whoevaluate the businesses in areas including community involvement, chamberparticipation, business success and overall deservedness.

"These small business winners and finalists are considered to bethe state’s best small businesses based on a variety of civic and professionalstandards", said VanderWal, " The Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce is honored to have these businesses in Autauga County, Prattville because they show how small businesses make apositive impact in our community."

Alabama Small Business of the Year Gold Award (51-100 Employees) | Fras-LeNorth America: At their Prattville facility, Fras-le produces hydraulic brakepads for school buses, "last mile" delivery and medium size trucks,off highway disc pads, air disc brakes for commercial vehicles, and rail shoes.For trains, they warehouse products manufactured by other companies andcommercializes them in North America. Since their purchase of the Prattvillefacility in 2008, Fras-le has worked diligently to improve their facility withrespect to machinery, technology, work environment and more. Throughout theyears, they have demonstrated a continuous commitment to the community throughservice projects and partnerships.

Alabama Small Business of the Year Bronze Award (1-10 Employees) | Ellis Counseling: Owned byMartha B. Ellis, the practice began in 2003 with Martha as the solopractitioner. Over the years, the practice has grown to three licensed mentalhealth professionals who offer counseling services for children, adolescents,adults and couples. Their counselors have a wide range of experience thatallows them to successfully treat depression, anxiety, trauma, behavioralissues and more. Their team continues to serve the community as a Chambermember and through a variety of organizations.

Alabama Small Business of the Year (11-50 Employees) | TrustmarkNational Bank: This organization has been providing financial services to thePrattville community since they were established in 1959 as Citizens Bank. Overthese 62 years, Trustmark's vision to be a premier financial services companyhas been unwavering and bolstered their organization to continue as both anactive community supporter and exceptional service provider for theircustomers, friends, and neighbors. Their team consistently remains in the topdeposit market share in the 36067 zip code and in the top two financialinstitutions for deposit market share in the 36066 zip code. The total depositsin Autauga County are more than $120 million.

Alabama Small Business of the Year (Emerging Business of the YearCategory) | The SouthernRefinery: The Southern Refinery is a women's clothing boutique inPrattville that offers a variety of shoes, jewelry, gifts and custom handlettered signs. Owner Brittney Malone opened her store in 2018. Since lastyear, sales have grown 162%. They expect their growth to rise with the launchof their online webpage and app. Malone and her team are active members in thecommunity through various service projects.

For more information about these businesses or the PrattvilleChamber, please visit or call 334.365.7392.

Autauga County Commission Recognizes Alabama's Small Business Of The Year Winners and Finalists from Autauga County. Pictured (left to right): Commissioner John Thrailkill, Commissioner Bill Tatum, Brittany Seamon Malone owner of The Southern Refinery, Anderson Lima Da Silva with Fras-le North America, Commissioner Jay Thompson, Wade Seamon with Trustmark Bank, Commissioner Rusty Jacksland, Commissioner Larry Stoudemire. (not pictured Marth Ellis with Ellis Counseling, LLC. 

2021 Alabama Small Business of the Year Winners from Autauga County (left to right); Alabama Small Business of the Year Gold Award Winner (# of employees 51-100)- Fras-Le North AmericaAnderson Lima Da Silva.  Alabama Small Business of the Year Bronze Award Winner (# of employees 1-10), Ellis Counseling, LLC., Marth Ellis.