April 22, 2013

Runyan is SBA's 2013 CT Small Business Person of Year

Jessica Zielonka
Jessica Zielonka
Chris Runyan in his Orange store.

This is an updated and corrected version of an earlier story.

Christopher R. Runyan, owner/president of Milford's GameXChange, is the U.S. Small Business Administration's 2013 Connecticut Small Business Person of the Year.

Runyan opened GameXChange in 2010 as a franchise retail store that sells, purchases and trades new and pre-owned electronic interactive gaming and other related entertainment hardware, software and accessories. Since opening his first store, Runyan has five more: Bridgeport, Wallingford, Waterbury, Branford, Orange, and Hamden. His Orange store was ranked sixth out of more than 50 GameXChange stores in revenues for 2012, just in its third year in operation. And, he created more than 40 new jobs, SBA said.

Other SBA award winners to be feted June 5, during Small Business Week, at The Hartford Club:

Kenneth E. Bryant, of Bead Industries Inc., has received the Jeffrey Butland Family Owned Business of the Year. Bead is comprised of two divisions: Bead Electronics and Bead Chain, and a wholly owned subsidiary, McGuire Mfg. Company. Founded in 1914, Bead developed and manufactured beaded chain for electric light pulls. Using the same innovative metal working process, it fabricates contact pins for the electronics industry, and has since the mid-1920s.

William Turner, of APS Technology Advanced Products, has received the Exporter of the Year Award. Advanced is a measurement while drilling, and logging while drilling (MWD/LWD) technology company headquartered in Wallingford. APS is a leading innovator, and creator of numerous components, and full systems dedicated to the support of drilling operations in both oilfield areas, and other extremely harsh environments.

Eric Grabowski, of Renaissance Farm, has received the SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Renaissance Farm is committed to sustainable agriculture, providing quality plants, produce and flowers directly to the customer. Since 2008, Renaissance has offered horticultural products within Burlington and its surrounding communities.

Nelson Merchan, of CLICROI LLC, has received the Home-Based Business Small Business Champion of the Year Award. Nelson founded CLICROI in 2006, dedicated to assisting small businesses in getting recognized on the Internet and in increasing the success of their online marketing efforts. Following his success as a minority business owner in 2010 he joined SCORE as a business counselor and since this time has successfully assisted entrepreneurs in counseling one-on-one and well as presenting at many business seminars in both Spanish/English languages.

Gerald Clark, of the Greater New Haven Business & Professional Association has received the Minority in Business Champion of the Year Award. As one of the founders of the GNHBPA in the early 1960's he has been an advocate of small businesses in guiding them throughout the challenges small business owners face; among those legal support and medical services available to them and networking among members. His lifetime goal has been to provide business support services and encouragement to minority-owned businesses.

Rose-Bednarz-Luglio, of Gateway Community College, is the Woman in Business Champion. Rose has been committed & supportive to Small Business throughout her career. She has volunteered her time as a SCORE counselor, a business owner, a sponsor for high school entrepreneurial programs that highlight women businesses, and in Veterans business programs.

Michael Thomas, of ArchAngel Ventures LLC, is the Veteran in Business Champion. Thomas is a strong advocate of Veterans and has created a business model thru Subway that not only creates employment but training as well for franchise opportunities.

Gary M. Toole, of the Connecticut Community Investment Corp., is the Financial Services Champion. Toole began his banking career 42 years ago in Connecticut. Since this time he has worked at many different lending institutions assisting business owners in all types of transactions.

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