Oftentimes, things happen for a purpose. At first blush these appear to be bad things -- a layoff, for instance -- but they can put people on a road to better things. Opportunity. Motivation. Hope. And a sudden clarity in purpose that may have languished while being satisfied with a regular pay check.
Stephanie and Jeremy Overturf turned misfortune into fortune after her layoff during the Great Recession and his fear that his job would disappear. They became entrepreneurs. They took a risk.
Risk takes courage. And a big step outside your comfort zone.
The Overturfs opened their own company, became their own bosses and worked hard, as the Herald reported Saturday, just to pay their mortgage and buy groceries.
That's a tough sell for most people afraid of swimming in the deep end, but the Overturfs dove in. This is the quintessential American success story. They deservedly won the Manatee Chamber of Commerce honor for one of the Small Businesses of the Year awards on Friday.
This is the chamber's 36th annual ceremony recognition of the backbone of the American economy -- small business.
Small business powerful
This is but one statistic that proves the power of those employers: There are more than 5 million companies in this nation who employ fewer than 20 workers; that equates to more 20 million people getting a paycheck from a very small business owner, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
That includes Overturf's Floor & Fabric Care, which employs seven full-time workers and two part-timers.
The Overturfs offer a classic lesson in business. Excel.
As Herald business writer Matt M. Johnson reported in Saturday's complete account of all the small business award winners, the Overturf's Floor & Fabric Care business sets a high bar in customer service and satisfaction.
How did they begin? Simple, too. After losing her job, Stephanie began cleaning houses. Then the business began with carpet cleaning referrals.
Jeremy had experience in the field before becoming a data analyst since his parents owned and operated a janitorial service, so he knew how to remove dirt and stains from carpet, tile and furniture fabrics. He and his wife turned expertise into their future. Their service extends to this: They hand-wash Oriental rugs. The lesson there should resonate for its obvious message: Great work breeds success.
Today, the Overturfs have the honor of holding an award for the best Small Business of the Year for a business earning under $600,000 -- the smallest of the smallest among Friday's winners.
From just paying for their mortgage and groceries, the Overturfs can count themselves among the army of small business operators who drive the nation's economy. That is no small feat.
Kudos as well to the other winners: Clear Sunset Car Wash & Detail Center (gross sales between $600,000 and $3 million); SouthTech Solutions, information technology and business communications (sales from $3 million to $6 million); and CS&L, accounting (sales exceeding $6 million).
Small businesses are literally our bread and butter. Our patronage to those local entrepreneurs serves both their and our interests.