2013 Small Business of the Year Award Honorees

The Chamber congratulates this year’s Small Business of the Year award winners! We hope you will join us to celebrate these terrific companies:

October 1, 2013
7:45 – 9:30 a.m.
Sheraton Boston Hotel

This event will feature a panel discussion with senior leaders from each of our honorees on how to run a successful small business.

 Program Sponsor:




Media Sponsor:



Velir – 2013 “Small Business of the Year”

Velir is a Boston-based web design and development agency that uses the power of web technologies to help spread its clients’ messages. The company specializes in custom web development, content management system implementations, data visualization, digital strategy, and user interface design. Velir focuses on helping businesses create seamless and elegant website solutions that provide measurable impact. Founded in 2000, Velir has consistently adopted a “client first” mentality, striving to deliver the highest quality solutions. The company’s clients include some of the world’s largest non-profit organizations and leading for-profit companies. Velir is an active member of the Somerville and Cambridge communities, believing that investing in the community it serves and in its local business partners helps foster an overall environment that supports growth and change. The company is a major financial supporter of Gallery 263, local chapters of the Multiple Sclerosis Fund, and the local Boys and Girls Club. Velir is committed to further expanding its footprint in Boston, and expects to grow its staff from 90 to 140 full-time employees in the next few years. 

AMP Agency

AMP Agency is an integrated communications agency that employs an “Insights Inspired, Results Driven” approach to conceive, develop, and implement innovative marketing solutions for leading Fortune 500 brands. The company’s services include brand strategy, creative, media planning and buying, search engine optimization, paid search, social media, interactive and mobile development, analytics, and experiential marketing. As one of the region’s smallest, full service agencies, AMP’s clients include Hasbro, John Hancock, Harvard Business School, Maybelline New York, Samsonite, and Intel. The company is also committed to giving back to the community and fostering the next generation of talent for the Boston marketing community. With Boston University, AMP hosts a semester-long course providing 5-10 students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a client-assigned project.

Bella Luna Restaurant & The Milky Way Lounge

Bella Luna Restaurant & The Milky Way Lounge is a family-run dining and entertainment landmark in Jamaica Plain, focused on creating community by providing customers with exceptional food, beverages, art, and music, and building a better Boston by supporting the work of local non-profit organizations. The restaurant first opened in 1993 as a humble, 19-seat pizza, salad, and sandwich shop. Today, Bella Luna serves more than 100,000 customers each year in its 160-seat venue that combines a restaurant, patio, and lounge with nightly entertainment, and employs a staff of 45. Every year, the restaurant donates tens of thousands of dollars and 1 percent of all sales to local non-profit organizations.

DSCI Corporation

DSCI Corporation is one of New England’s premier enterprise communications service providers. More than 1,300 businesses throughout the region rely on DSCI to deliver and manage their mission-critical communications infrastructure. Abiding by its mantra, “We Are Not Just Another Telco”, the company provides business-class voice, data, and Internet services over its network, including hosted voice over IP and unified communication services, audio and web conferencing, Metro Ethernet, and dedicated high-speed Internet connectivity. DSCI’s services are backed by an industry best 100 percent network uptime guarantee and 24/7/365 live-answer technical support from its customer care team. The company has 95 employees located in two offices in Waltham, MA and Manchester, NH, and is very involved in the civic communities that it serves.


Gazelle was founded in 2006 to educate and reward customers for extending the life of their old or unwanted electronic devices instead of throwing them out.  Since the website’s 2008 launch, the company has emerged as a leader in the “reCommerce” market and is now the nation’s leading consumer electronics trade-¬in site. Gazelle has handled more than 1 million consumer devices and paid out nearly $100 million for items people no longer needed. The company offers a market-leading, 30-day price lock guarantee, and provides customers a full data wipe for security, free packaging and shipping, and cash—not just store credit—when they turn in devices. Gazelle’s whole business is driven by a green initiative to extend the life of consumer electronics and keep them out of landfills, preventing the heavy metals and toxic materials from entering the environment.

Her Campus Media

With more than 1.4 million monthly users, Her Campus Media is the number one online community for college women in the United States. Written entirely by the nation’s top college journalists, HerCampus.com features national content on style, health, love, life, and career supplemented by local content from more than 200 campus chapters across the country. HerCampus.com also offers a daily email newsletter, social media communities, job listings, e-commerce, surveys, giveaways, and scholarships. The company was founded by three Harvard University undergraduates in 2009, and has since formed content partnerships with Seventeen Magazine, SELF Magazine, Glam.com, USA Today, and The Huffington Post. Her Campus now employs 11 full-time staff members who volunteer regularly at Cradles to Crayons and BUILD, and who run a “LearnSmart” initiative to teach money management skills to middle and high school students in Boston’s underperforming schools.

LIKARR Maintenance Systems

LIKARR Maintenance Systems is one of the region’s largest distributors of facility supplies. The company started as a chemical cleaning supply business in 1986, and has since grown into a 20-employee distributor offering a wide range of custodial supplies, cleaning equipment, and industry specific programs and services. Driven by a companywide commitment to reduce the overall cost of running its clients’ facilities, LIKARR employees understand that every facility is unique and partners with its clients to develop a customized program to create a cleaner, safer environment while staying within budget. The company also focuses on helping its clients “go green” and collaborates with public schools in Massachusetts on a program to address environmental challenges at school facilities.

Pinnacle Financial Group

Pinnacle Financial Group is a family founded consulting firm with dedicated practice areas in private client life insurance consulting and human resources solutions. Pinnacle strives to lead its competitors by providing the most forward-thinking, client-focused ideas, strategies, and tactics in the areas of transparency, technology, and client service. Celebrating 40 years in business this year, the company recently expanded its reach to the Midwest with the opening of a Chicago office. In 2011, the company established the Pinnacle Foundation to formalize and broaden its charitable efforts. All employees are encouraged to take paid time off to pursue personal charitable endeavors, and as a company, Pinnacle has donated time and money to a number of non-profit organizations, including the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and the Greater Boston and Greater Worcester Food Banks.

Small Army

Small Army is a full-service advertising agency that prefers to be viewed as “storytellers for confident brands.”  The company finds traditional marketing methods outdated and ineffective, and instead focuses on sharing stories that resonate with people in order to create relationships and drive conversation about a brand. Small Army helps its clients discover the “moral to their story” to inform successful communications strategy, media placement, social media conversations, product development, recruiting, and more. Small Army’s client roster includes companies like General Electric, Reebok, Direct Tire, and Solidworks. The company also has its own non-profit organization, Small Army for a Cause, which has raised more than $600,000 for cancer charities through its annual “Be Bold, Be Bald!” event.