Consolidated Mills honored as small business of the year

The Cy-Fair business Consolidated Mills was named small business of the year in November by the Lone Star College System as a representative of the Cy-Fair area.

The business, owned and run by Scott and Keith Vrana, offers a variety of food packaging and manufacturing services in addition to producing beverage concentrates, syrups and several foods items, such as salsas and sauces. They were selected for their efforts in supporting community organizations, including Cy–Fair ISD, the Cy–Fair Chamber of Commerce and several nonprofit organizations, such as Cy-Hope.

"Words cannot express how proud we are," executive vice president Keith Vrana said. "We worked very hard to get where we are, and this validates a lot of hard work and effort to this point. It also tells us we have a long way to go. We cannot rest on our laurels and we have to continue to be better."

Vrana said part of the vision when he and his brother bought Consolidated Mills 10 years ago was to be active members of the community.

"Our kids all go to Cy-Fair schools, and the Cy-Fair Education Foundation and Cy-Hope are two organizations we support," he said. "We've donated 400 cases of custom label salsa to [Cy-Hope]. We tried to do something different and unique, and they were able to raise more than $12,000 from selling it."

Vrana said he also made supporting the Cy-Fair Chamber of Commerce a priority. The Vranas participate on several committees, and Keith Vrana will soon be the chair of the transportation committee. He said some of the long-standing members of the chamber—including Mark McShaffry, owner of the Backyard Grill—have served as role models for how businesses can support the community.

"We want to follow them and pick up from what others have done and keep moving forward," Vrana said. "We're here for the long haul. We want to be a part of this community for a long, long time."

Each year, LSCS names a small business of the year for the areas covered by each of its six campuses. The 2013 Small Business of the Year Award ceremony took place Nov. 14. The other winners this year were:

  • Shank Wealth Management, Bill Shank and Christian Shank, representing the LSC–Kingwood area
  • The Woodlands Learning Rx, Kim Bellini and Beth Buzbee, representing the LSC–Montgomery area
  • Karen K. Abramski, P.C., Karen K. Abramski, representing the LSC–North Harris area
  • Country Air, David and Alice Arevalo, representing the LSC–Tomball area
  • Kwik Copy Business Center No. 117, Jerry Hays and David Vaughan, representing the LSC–University Park area

"Small businesses are truly an integral part of the fabric of the community they serve," LSCS Chancellor Richard Carpenter said. "The six winners who were named from a prestigious list of 18 finalists are a testament to the important role of small businesses in the local economy."

The two other finalists in the Cy-Fair area were Molen & Associates and Pella Windows and Doors of Houston. Vrana said the good work those companies do should also be recognized.

"When I see companies like Molen and what they do from their church and for the service providers out there—the fire departments and police departments—they have done some great things for the community as well," he said.

By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.