AUGUSTA, Maine — A Veazie businessman has been named Maine’s Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Matthew Qualey, president of Qualey Granite and Quartz in Veazie, said he was “shocked” when he learned he had been chosen to receive the SBA award.
He had forgotten he had even been nominated for the award by Bangor Savings Bank, which has helped the company expand over the years with SBA-guaranteed loans, because “you just get so immersed in your day-to-day operations,” Qualey said Monday.
The company has grown over the years, consolidating its warehouse and home design center in Veazie at the end of 2010, Qualey said. It employs 15 people and will be hiring another four or five in the next quarter, he said.
That growth has been fueled by investments in the facility in Veazie, new equipment, and a new pricing model that its wholesale customers have responded to with more business, Qualey said.
“I’ve tried to be aggressive. We kind of quickly made the decision that we’ve got to be all or nothing,” he said. “We encourage our salespeople to find new ways to do things. We have made changes in how this relatively tired business model operates.”
Today, Qualey Granite boasts the largest indoor inventory of granite north of Boston, he said.
“Mr. Qualey has done an outstanding job growing his company through hard work, determination and meeting the needs of an ever-changing market,” said Marilyn Geroux, the SBA’s district director for Maine, in a statement.
Bangor Savings Bank, which has helped Qualey Granite expand with SBA loans over the years, nominated Qualey for the award.
Only companies that have participated in one of the SBA’s loan programs are eligible to receive the award.
The SBA will honor Qualey with a luncheon on June 4 at the Spectacular Event Center in Bangor.
Last year’s winner was Michael Cote, president and CEO of Look’s Gourmet Food Co. in Whiting. Cote went on to win third place in the SBA’s national competition.