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Pete Johnson Named Business Person of the Year

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Small Business Administration announced the 2013 Vermont small business award winners April 15.

The premier accolade, 2013 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year, is awarded to Pete Johnson, Pete’s Greens owner.

Johnson was selected as the SBPY for his outstanding leadership related to his company’s staying power, employee growth, sales increase, innovative ingenuity and contributions to the community.

“We’re very excited to name Pete as our Small Business Person of the Year,” said Darcy Carter, SBA Vermont District Office director. “The judges had a very competitive field to choose from, but Pete's Greens’ rose to the top.”

Pete's Greens is a certified organic four-season vegetable farm that uses moveable greenhouses to grow vegetables year round.

 “Vermont plays a pivotal role in the organic local food movement and Pete is helping lead the way,” said Carter.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program, organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

"I'm excited to accept this award for Pete's Greens,” said Johnson. “We have a great staff of dedicated folks and they are who make the farm a special place. And we have great customers without whom Pete's Greens would still be an idea. And I'm really honored that the SBA considered an organic farm to be a worthy recipient of this award. It goes to show how powerful and developed the local, organic movement is in Vermont."

When it first started in 1995, it had about a half-acre of land. Today it has more than 200 acres. Pete’s Greens has a 500 member Community Supported Agriculture and supplies to more than 100 stores. Sales have increased by at least 10 percent each year.

Each year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. During National Small Business Week, Pete’s Greens will compete against the other state and U.S. territory small business winners for National Small Business Person of the Year. The winner will be announced June 21.

The other 2013 Vermont winners are Nelson’s Ace Hardware as the Family-Owned Business of the Year, Shelburne Shipyard as the Woman-Owned Business of the Year, Music Store Live as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Patch’s Green Clean Services, LLC, as the Micro-Enterprise of the Year and Eastwind Diamond Abrasives as the Exporter of the Year.

“Congratulations to all of our winners,” said Carter. “Each one is deserving of their respective award. They all represent the best of Vermont’s small businesses.”

The winners will be recognized during the 2013 Vermont Small Business Awards Ceremony cohosted by Vermont Business Magazine from 4 to 7 p.m. June 13 at the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn, Shelburne, Vt.

“We look forward to honoring the winners during the celebration,” said Carter. “It’s open to the public, so come out and support Vermont’s small business winners.”

Registration information will be available in May.

The SBA is a federal agency assisting small businesses start, grow and prosper.

For more information, call 802-828-4422.