At last week’s eBay Open event, the 2018 Shine Awards for Small Business Winners were announced.
Thousands of submissions to just 15 finalists across five Shine Awards categories and then it was down to the finalists to badger everyone they knew to vote for them – friends, families, communities, and even eBay customers. In the end nearly 25,000 votes were cast and those with the biggest networks won.
2018 Small Business of the Year Shine Awards: Cori O’Steen of UpakNShip!
Cori was not only the Everyday Hero category winner but was voted overall 2018 Small Business of the Year.
Cori founded her business in 2003 as a single mother packing orders while her children played in her living room. She began selling clothing that her children had outgrown, but always had difficulty finding the proper packaging to ship the clothes in. After locating the appropriately sized poly mailers, Cori began selling shipping supplies on her eBay store. In 2012, Cori’s family proudly created their own Poly Pak Brand product line including the new Poly Pak Designer Mailers, which are a custom designed colorfully printed line of poly mailers in stock and ready to buy in the quantity you need.
After learning her daughter was an addict, Cori began using her eBay profits to donate to addiction recovery programs. Recently Cori built her own organization, Recovery Road Ministries, a ten-month in-home recovery program that provides professional counseling, public education, job training, and other opportunities and resources to promote healthy recovery for each resident.
Category Winner: Click-and-Mortar: John M. Stack, ACityDiscount
In 1999, John was ready to shut down his family-owned restaurant equipment business because he was struggling to move stock locally. Luckily, his son, Marty Stack (now Executive Vice President) and then-General Manager Ed Saunders convinced him to try a fairly new selling strategy: eBay. The trio placed 50 coffeemakers on eBay auctions which sold successfully. Almost overnight, ACityDiscount transformed from a local business with four employees to a coast-to-coast sales operation eager for online expansion. ACityDiscount is now ranked as one of eBay’s largest providers of restaurant equipment.
Category Winner: Global Business: Bill Ingersoll, Bikes, Trikes and Quads
Bill grew up racing Motocross in a rural area in upstate New York. As the son of a single mother, money was always tight, which led Bill, his grandfather, and business partner to begin buying and selling ATVs and ATV parts to supplement the costs of racing. In 2008, he tragically suffered a severe spinal cord injury, which confined him to a wheelchair. The accident marked a turning point in his life, catalyzing his eBay career and leading him to start an eCommerce business. Since 2010, Bill has been using his passion for Motocross to sell ATV parts in his eBay store, Bikes, Trikes and Quads.
Category Winner: Woman or Minority-Owned: Gina Foster, POCKETS
One summer, Gina’s daughter asked her to purchase duct tape so that she could tape her twin sheet to her plastic summer camp mattress. Always a problem solver, Gina refused to buy the duct tape and instead bought fabric to sew a bed sheet that could not pop off the mattress. At the end of the camp, a camp leader asked where she bought those “incredible sheets” because her kids were the only campers who woke up ON their bed sheets and not stuck to the plastic mattress. Right then, MATTRESS POCKET®, the sheet that Won’t Pop Off – Guaranteed, was born. After selling at small shows and fairs, Gina turned to eBay, growing her business globally and bringing economic opportunity to her small Oklahoma town.
Category Winner: Young Entrepreneur: Hawa Lukulay, Messie’s Closet
Hawa launched her eBay career shortly after she graduated high school in 2013. Fascinated by the thrill of treasure hunting, she opted to spend her summer before college learning the ropes of selling young contemporary clothing on eBay instead of getting a job. Fast forward five years, Hawa has successfully put herself through college with her store earnings, giving her the freedom to grow the business and manage her own schedule.