Owners of the Langham Creek Ace Hardware were recently recognized as Small Business of the Year for the Cy-Fair area by Lone Star College System's Small Business Development Center. Owners Chuck and Arlene O'Malley were honored at the 2014 awards banquet held Nov. 20.

"We were both humbled to even be nominated as finalists," Chuck said. "When we saw who the other finalists were, we figured one of them would win, so we were very much surprised. It was an honor."

Ace Hardware was one of three finalists in Cy-Fair. The other finalists were Dr. Anastasia Gentles, Zawadi Bryant and Consuelo Cazares with Night Light Pediatric Urgent Care and Cesar Lima and Steve Park with AAA Plumbers.

"Lone Star College understands the challenges small businesses owners face and is proud to play a part in helping them succeed," LSCS Chancellor Steve Head said. "These small businesses are vital to the local economy and all the finalists and winners should be proud of what they have accomplished."

The award, which LSCS has been presenting for 28 years, recognizes the overall success of small businesses and their community outreach efforts. Ace Hardware was chosen in part because of fundraising efforts to support local organizations, including the Texas Children's Hospital and the Langham Creek YMCA, where they are helping build a baseball field for the physically handicapped. Another fundraiser involves allowing customers to pay $5 for a bucket and giving them a 20 percent discount on anything in the store the can fit in the bucket, with all proceeds going to TCH.

"My wife and I have been in this area almost 30 years, and we work very hard at being good neighbors," Chuck said. "Part of being a good neighbor, besides helping customers in our store, is being part of the community."

The O'Malleys host yearly ongoing fundraisers for the Children's Miracle Network, but also make their store available to any local organization looking to host an event. In the past, they have hosted car washes, bake sales, and regularly invite local school choirs and bands to perform at fundraisers for donations.

"We're always available," Chuck said. "We try to never say no to any organization that wants to do a fundraiser—schools, churches or anything. It's just part of being a good neighborhood."

LSCS officials narrowed down a list of an estimated 200 applications to 18 finalists for the small business award. Six winners—one representing each LSCS campus—were announced at the awards banquet. Other winners include:

  • LSC-Tomball: Klein Wealth Management

  • LSC-Kingwood: Red Door Realty & Associates

  • LSC-Montgomery: Karlins Ramey & Tompkins, LLC

  • LSC-North Harris: AEI Engineering, LLC

  • LSC-University Park: Register Real Estate Advisors

The O'Malleys will be celebrating the seventh anniversary of their Langham Creek store Dec. 7.