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SBA Honors KY and U.S. Top Small Businesses

Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Release Number: 
Advisory Number: 

Mr. Tommy Ray Cornett, President and Founder of Bleed Blue Tattooing and Piercing, Inc. in Lexington, KY was named the Kentucky’s SBA 2014 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Kentucky District Office. 

From architecture to bakeries, to consulting firms and woodworking - these are just a few of the diverse businesses that will be recognized by the SBA this year in Washington, D.C., May 15-16. 

Small Business Person of the Year winners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam will gather in Washington during National Small Business Week, where one of them will be selected as the 2014 National Small Business Person of the Year. While there, the winners will have opportunities to meet with top SBA officials and national business leaders. 

Mr. Cornett, a lifelong artist and U.S. Army veteran who honed his skills while studying Design at the University of Cincinnati, opened Bleed Blue Tattoo & Piercing Inc. in Lexington, KY in 2008. The company’s mission, in addition to providing superb tattoos and piercings, is to educate the public on the appropriate safety and technical standards that should be expected from the industry, perform at the highest professional level, and eliminate stereotypes surrounding the tattoo and body piercing professions.

Bleed Blue has famous clientele, including former University of Kentucky basketball players who now play in the NBA, Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC) fighters, and famous musicians, including Kentucky’s own Montgomery Gentry Band, winner of several national country music awards. The company has won numerous regional and national awards for its artistry. 

Bleed Blue is a professional business that is also serious about its community involvement. The company routinely provides complimentary gift certificates as fundraising opportunities to many charitable organizations and events. Bleed Blue also contributes to causes for area schools, the Humane Society, Shop with a Cop, Make a Wish Foundation and the Fraternal Order of Police. Working with the Kentucky Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center, Cornett recently promoted a “Worst Tattoo” contest to show how a cosmetic surgery process could actually become a way to hide, cover and transform tattoos.

      SBA’s Kentucky District Office also honors Small Business Advocates each year, including:

  • Jeffrey Elswick, VP and Chief Commercial Lender at Kentucky Farmers Bank in Ashland, as the 2014 Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year;
  • Mr. Mark Hill, VP of Operations for Messer Construction in Lexington, as the 2014 Kentucky Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year;
  • Ms. Marisa Neal, President of MMN Consulting, LLC in Louisville, as the 2014 Kentucky Women Business Advocate of the Year, and
  • Dr. Sharon Kerrick, Founder of the VetStart Program at the University of Louisville, as the 2014 Kentucky Veteran’s Small Business Advocate of the Year.

  All five of Kentucky winners will be honored locally at the “Kentucky Celebrates Small Businesses” event in Lexington in June.  More information about that event will be available soon.