October 04, 2023


Washington, D.C. – After narrowing down a record-breaking field of 15,000+ applicants from across the nation to 70 top small businesses last month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced seven finalists for its “America’s Top Small Business” Awards. These seven businesses stand out for their exceptional business growth, creative success strategies, ability to overcome challenges, and deep community engagement. Their announcement today sets the stage for one to be named “America's Top Small Business” on Oct. 19.

“These top seven small businesses from across the country represent the innovation, resilience, and growth mindset of American entrepreneurship. They are putting their dreams to work and making a difference in their communities. All 15,000 of this year’s small business applicants are a testament to the courage and commitment required to serve customers, solve problems, and strengthen society every day,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark.

America’s top seven small businesses are:

  • Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals LLC (Anchorage, AK): Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals is a full-service auction house run by Founder, CEO and Principal Auctioneer Dan Newman that offers online and live estate sales, real estate transactions, business liquidation, benefit auctions, and personal property appraisals. The company is a member of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and sells inventory worldwide through mobile bidding apps. Their engaging, online live auction format has raised over $3 million in support of dozens of nonprofit organizations.
  • Calgo Gardens (Howell, NJ): Creativity flourishes at Calgo Gardens, a nursery, landscaping center and gift store. The small business founded by Mark and Penny Estomin and owned by Drew Tiner is a member of the Howell Chamber of Commerce. Calgo Gardens started as just a gardening shop before blooming into a community space that now hosts dinner parties, concerts, workshops on bonsai trees, and tutorials on shucking oysters. An expansion of their landscaping and hardscaping division in 2022 added new capabilities and new customers looking for outdoor home improvements.     
  • Elderly Instruments Inc (Lansing, MI): Elderly Instruments is a family-owned music store with a 50-year history of providing new, used, and vintage instruments. Co-owned by founder Stan Werbin and CEO Lillian Werbin, the small business is a member of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and has been shipping used and vintage instruments worldwide since 1975. The shop provides repair services and consignment options for musicians at every stage of their music career and is known internationally for its vintage guitars, banjos, mandolins, and other stringed instruments.
  • P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle And You (San Francisco, CA): P.L.A.Y. is dedicated to creating high-quality dog beds and toys designed with the well-being of pets, people, and the environment in mind. Co-founder Deborah Feng and co-founder and CEO Will Chen were inspired by their pug, Momo, to create the company’s full line of luxury pet products that are ergonomic, stylish, and sustainable. P.L.A.Y.’s toys and beds are made from recycled plastic bottles; since its founding in 2010 the company has recycled 14 million plastic bottles.
  • River Rock Outfitter (Fredericksburg, VA): River Rock Outfitter is a veteran-owned outdoor retailer that provides gear, expertise, and guided adventures for outdoor enthusiasts. A member of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, River Rock Outfitter fosters community with events and training courses like “How to SUP with your Pup” to train dogs and people to safely paddleboard together. Co-owner and CEO April Peterson is passionate about encouraging more women and other marginalized communities to participate in outdoor activities and offers women-specific gear, workshops, guided trips, and programs for teens.
  • Shakopee Brewhall - Taproom & Coffee House (Shakopee, MN): Shakopee Brewhall is a hybrid coffee house and craft brewery offering a variety of craft beers and handcrafted coffee drinks in a family-friendly environment. The brewhall and taproom is a member of the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce and hosts a full events calendar for customers including trivia, live music, book club and community education classes. CEO Ryan Lindquist and staff are always crafting and experimenting—resulting in a new, small batch beer release every Saturday and ever-changing seasonal menus for brews and coffee.
  • Waggin' Tails Pet Ranch (Fulshear, TX): Waggin' Tails Pet Ranch is an all-inclusive, family-owned pet resort for dogs and cats offering day camp, boarding, grooming, and training services. The company is a member of the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce and the Fulshear Katy Chamber of Commerce. Unique offerings like “yappy time,” group play, and swim classes are popular. Owner and President Denise Einkauf started Waggin’ Tails in 2005 with a passion for the pet industry and now partners with local high schools and career centers to provide internships for future pet industry leaders to gain experience at the 15-acre resort.

The top seven small businesses will receive a one-year paid membership to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and will be prominently featured on the CO— website, a platform that provides practical information and tips to 20,000 business owners daily and over 6 million individuals annually, spanning the United States and the globe. The winner of the coveted title of "America's Top Small Business" will receive a $25,000 cash prize.

On October 19, the seven finalists will be recognized and celebrated at the America's Top Small Business Summit: Ready. Set. Scale. at the Chamber’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony following the summit. 

Summit attendees will gain invaluable insights from the tactical success secrets shared by America’s Top Small Business finalists and will enjoy exclusive access to executives from industry giants such as Google, Walmart and Meta that ardently champion and promote small businesses.

Presented by Enova International and its small business lending platform OnDeck, the summit will also include a fireside chat exploring the challenges small businesses face when seeking capital with Cory Kampfer, Enova’s Co-President of Small Business Lending.

"It's an honor to partner with the U.S. Chamber to celebrate the remarkable contributions of small businesses across the country," said Kampfer. "Enova, and our small business lending platform OnDeck, will continue to champion the growth of small businesses, and we look forward to recognizing this year's seven finalists at the Chamber's 'America’s Top Small Business' Awards."

Learn more about this year’s seven finalists here.

Register for the America’s Top Small Business Summit: Ready. Set.

How the U.S. Chamber Supports Small Business 

America’s Top Small Business, formerly known as the Dream Big Awards, is part of the U.S. Chamber’s longstanding commitment to supporting and advocating for small businesses. We work every day to fight for policies and regulations that benefit small business, elevate the voice of America’s small business owners, highlight the role they play in the nation’s economy, and support Main Street businesses’ growth and success with tailored resources and expert insights.

Learn more about the U.S. Chamber’s small business work here