Joyous tears were shed by Janet Baumgardner, the owner of Comfort Keepers in North Augusta, when she was named 2012 Small Business Person of the Year at the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce Business Expo on Thursday.
The business, which offers in-home care, is on West Avenue.
“It really is an honor to be recognized by your community and your peers,” she said.
She added that her family has been a great support system along the way, helping her make the business successful.
“It takes a team to do what you have to do,” she said. “I thank you and I want to really thank my team that helps me every single day. It just really takes a lot of good, hardworking people to be behind you when you are a small business owner.”
She began the business in 2002 with one client and herself as a caregiver, according to Rod Barrie, who nominated her for the award. She now has 28 full-time employees.
Baumgardner is involved in various community programs, such as serving on the board of the North Augusta Noon Lion’s Club. In February she began the Stop Senior Hunger campaign through Comfort Keepers along with Golden Harvest Food Bank and collected more than 1,000 pounds of food for the ongoing program.
“Janet understands the heart and the passion needed to do her job as a franchise owner of an in-home care company,” Barrie wrote in his nomination letter. “She truly cares for each and every senior that she is able to help through Comfort Keepers. She is a very compassionate and empathetic person and always goes above and beyond in any way she can…”
Baumgardner said she is grateful for the award and the business, but it’s not about her.
“Above all, this is not my business, but it’s God’s business, and we started this out to serve him and we are just going to do the best we can,” she said.