Six Small Business Owners from Washington State Honored by SBA Seattle District Office During National Small Business Week May 5-11, 2019

Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Release Number: 
Advisory Date: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Lisa White | | (206) 553-7050

SEATTLE – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Seattle District Office announces the winners of its annual awards program, part of National Small Business Week May 5-11, 2019.

“Small Business Week is our favorite time of year,” SBA Seattle District Director Kerrie Hurd said. “We’re delighted to celebrate the achievements of our local hardworking entrepreneurs and the SBA resource partners and lenders who support them on their road to success.”

2019 winners from the SBA Seattle District Office include the following:

               Small Business Person of the Year

               Ross Black, Founder and CEO of Simple Box Storage

               Lynden, Washington

Simple Box Storage rents and sells shipping containers for storage, moving or modification. What started as a high school project for Black turned into a business with eight locations across Washington, Idaho and Oregon and employs 26 people. Small Business Person of the Year winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam will converge in Washington, D.C. May 5-6 when one of them will be selected as the National Small Business Person of the Year. Read more about Black.

               Small Business Exporter of the Year

               Coleen Quisenberry, President of FLEXHIBIT

               Spokane Valley, Washington

FLEXHIBIT designs and manufactures affordable science center exhibits and portable STEM carts for discovery centers, children’s museums and schools. Expansion into international markets has increased the company sales with 45 percent of sales attributed to exports which led to 25 percent growth in jobs in 2018. FLEXHIBIT was selected from winners in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The regional winner is one of 10 finalists for the SBA National Exporter of the Year award. Read more about Qusienberry.

               8(a) Graduate of the Year

               Mike Russell Sr., President of Vulcan Products Company (VPC)

               Woodinville, Washington

The SBA 8(a) Business Development Program is a nine-year government contracting certification to provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities. VPC specializes in full-service metal fabrication, precision machining and metrology inspection for industrial Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) clients. When Russell joined the 8(a) program in 2003 VPC had 15 employees and approximately $1 million in annual revenue. Today, VPC is a multi-million dollar business with 38 employees. Read more about Russell.

               Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year

               Scott Howe, Managing Member of Quantum Health & Yoga Lounge, LLC

               Burlington, Washington

Quantum Health and Yoga offers a variety of workout classes including yoga, barre and bodywork classes, hosts a yoga apparel retail boutique and a juice smoothie bar. Following his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Howe was diagnosed with a health condition which impacted his mobility and ability to work. He found improvements to his health and mobility from nutrition and low impact exercise and this steadily led to his own business.  What began as a sole-proprietorship with a single owner/employee has grown into an LLC with two full-time employees and 20 contract employees.  Read more about Howe.

               Rising Startup of the Year

               Lee and Emily Fergestrom, Owners of Fortuity Cellars

               Wapato, Washington

Fortuity Cellars is a boutique winery based in Yakima Valley focused on premium wines crafted from Bordeaux and Rhone varietal grapes. Using e-commerce as a strategy, Fortuity Cellars generated $100,000 in revenue and signed up more than 100 wine club members in the first nine months without a dedicated retail location. Using an SBA loan and assistance from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the couple is constructing a permanent winery facility and expanding into the event venue business. Read more about the Fergestroms.

               Small Business Champion of the Year

               Jacquie Gallaway, Owner and CEO of MEND Institute

               Seattle, Washington

MEND Institute is a feminist mental health organization working for social change through counseling, education, entrepreneurship and research. MEND provides low-cost therapy that specializes in mental health issues that affect cis-women, trans and non-binary clients. In their 10-year history, Gallaway and her team have supported more than 75 women to launch their therapy businesses in Seattle and will launch 15 more women-owned businesses by the end of 2019. Read more about Gallaway.

"National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact of small businesses, which make up 99 percent of all businesses in the Pacific Northwest and create two out of every three net new jobs,” SBA Regional Administrator Jeremy Field said. “Small business owners represent our country’s best. They are innovators, job creators and community leaders. Shining a spotlight on their inspirational stories and journeys is an honor.”

A celebration honoring local SBA winners from Washington and the SBA Seattle District – which serves Washington state and northern Idaho – will be May 8.

Each year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. SBA recognizes outstanding small business owners for their personal successes and contributions to our nation.

For more information about National Small Business Week, visit


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit The Seattle District Office serves Washington state and northern Idaho with office locations in Seattle and Spokane.

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