Fort Worth’s 6th Ave Homes, a one-stop shop for buying, selling, designing and renovating homes and buildings, received the 2019 Grand Forte Small Business of the Year during Mayor Betsy Price’s State of the City luncheon Feb. 19 at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
“I’m so excited the Chamber showcases small business,” said Price. “I owned one for 17 years. I know your pain. Nobody knows the labor you’re putting into it except you.”
6th Avenue Homes, co-founded by musician Jamey Ice and Fort Worth Police detective Jimmy Williams in 2016, has a team of agents, guides, designers and contractors, to make the design or renovate process simple and easy. What began with just one agent and one contractor grew to 22 people in a year. In 2018, they had more than $25 million in sales and 35 team members.
Ice said the preparation work to enter the Forte Awards competition was helpful. “Distilling it on paper helped us communicate what we do,” he said.
The 4 Eleven, where three other businesses won a Forte Award for their respective categories on January 24, is illustrative of the work 6th Ave Homes produces. An abandoned warehouse, the 4 Eleven now serves as an event venue on the Near Southside.
“Small businesses are a key indicator of a region’s economic health,” said Jarred Howard, senior vice president – Small Business & Entrepreneur at the Chamber. “The Forte Awards gives us a platform to showcase and promote some of the incredible work they do.”
For the first time, the competition – formerly called Small Business of the Year — was categorized by industry and not the number of employees. Categories were Emerging Business, Manufacturing/Distribution, Consumer/Retail and Professional Services.
The award was renamed the Forte as a play on the city’s name as well as recognizing a person’s strong suit, talent and skill.
Twelve category finalists were judged on their written applications and site visits by business owners and professionals who are members of the Chamber, and graduate students from TCU’s Neeley School of Business. The Grand Forte recipient was chosen by a blue ribbon committee of Chamber investors.
Bank of Texas was presenting sponsor of the competition and event. Other sponsors included CliftonLarsonAllen, TCU Neeley School of Business, Wells Fargo, WeWork and media sponsor, Fort Worth Business Press.