2018 ESBY Awards

Silver Bonsai: Danny Couch, Kathryn Stewart, Ben Stewart, their daughter and Bob Peele

Wild Horse Adventure Tours: Danny Couch, Sam Wise, Wanda Wise and Bob Peele

The 2018 ESBY (Entrepreneur and small business of the Year) Awards

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce together with Corporate Sponsor BB&T recognized the 2018 Entrepreneur and Small Business of the Year Awards Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at the Sea Ranch Resort, Kill Devil Hills.

The 2018 Winners are:

  • Silver Bonsai Gallery for the Small Business of the Year (10 Employees or Less)
  • Wild Horse Adventure Tours for the Small Business of the Year (11-50 Employees)

Along with our Event Sponsors, College of the Albemarle's Small Business Center, Hilton Garden Inn, Small Business and Technology Development Center at Elizabeth City State University, and Outer Banks Insurance Agency, the annual awards recognize businesses for achievements and community involvement. 

“The ESBY applications were reviewed and judged by a panel of judges from around the country,” said Bob Peele, Chamber Board Chair, before presenting the awards.   “Chamber executives from other states, business consultants with our some of our partners including Small Business Technology Development Center and the Small Business Center were included as judges for this year’s awards.  It is quite an honor for these businesses to receive such recognition.”

About Silver Bonsai

Entering its 20th year, Silver Bonsai Gallery is excited for the journey they have created and the one that lies ahead. It’s a place where creativity meets and helps raise awareness of American made fine arts and crafts by showing some of the unique and talented artisans in our community.

Owners, Ben and Kathryn Stewart describe their business as a ‘small but mighty ship.’ Accompanied by two awesome employees, the foursome accomplish amazing things from jewelry making to the art of bonsai. Part of their mission is simply to support the artists, the clients, and all the arts of the Outer Banks.

About Wild Horse Adventure Tours  

Rated the #1 Tour Company in the US by Trip Advisor, Wild Horse Adventure Tours does much more than tours, it advocates, inspires, and gives back to the community it loves.  Ten years strong with dedicated employees and awesome vehicles, Wild Horse Adventure Tours serves as a top local attraction and as a steward to the endangered wild Spanish Colonial Mustangs of the Outer Banks.

Born from the owner’s vision of seeing a more eco-conscious, employee focused operation, the formula to their business is a happy customer plus an empowered employee equals a successful business. They are a well-oiled business made up of 31 employees and 2 owners that takes action to advocate, inspire, and give back to the community it loves.

 “The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce is proud of our member businesses for all they do in this community,” added Chamber Board Chair Bob Peele.  “The Outer Banks area would not be the special place that it is without their attention to detail, outstanding customer service, the willingness to take a risk and provide jobs and services for our community.   We are proud to celebrate these companies with the ESBY program.”


The finalists for the ESBY Awards were:

  • Argyles Restaurant – Debra & PJ Sinkage
  • CMIT Solutions of the Outer Banks – Scott DeMasse
  • Identify Yourself – Alex LeFevre; Unfortunately, Alex was not able to attend
  • LSI Marine Construction – Lyn Small
  • Nags Head Hammocks – Emily Heikens
  • Silver Bonsai Gallery – Kathryn and Ben Stewart, January 2018 Business of the Month
  • Jolly Roger Restaurant – Carol Ann Angelos and Sherri Marsicano, June 2017 Business of the Month
  • Oregon Inlet Fishing Center – Norma York
  • Outer Banks Heating and Cooling – Brian McDonald, July 2017 Business of the Month
  • Trademark Heating and Cooling – Joe Kline
  • Wild Horse Adventure Tours – Sam Wise, August 2017 Business of the Month
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