A month after their company was selected as Georgia's Small Business of the Year for 2010 by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the SBA recently announced that the three owners have been selected as Georgia's Small Business Persons of the Year.
The family team of mother Carol Aebersold and daughters Chanda Bell and Christa Pitts, partners in the publishing firm Creatively Classic Activities and Books, received their awards Wednesday at an Atlanta luncheon.
CCA and B began in 2004, when Aebersold and Bell decided to write a book about an elf, which was based on an elf who sat in the family's kitchen since the 1970s. Aebersold would explain to her daughters that Santa really knew who was naughty and who was nice because the elf served as a scout who would give Saint Nick nightly updates on the activities of the Aebersold clan. This little family tale would become the seed from which "The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition" would grow into a highly successful children's book and related products.
CCA and B began selling its Christmas story mostly through a word of mouth campaign, and sold all of its initial book unit order by the last quarter of 2005. Over the next three years, CCA and B averaged a yearly sales growth of 342 percent.
The Elf on the Shelf product line is now featured in retail stores across the U.S. and Canada. The original author duo continues to be the creative team for new products. In 2008, the company's website was expanded to include a virtual North Pole. Other new products include Plushee Pals, a soft toy version of Santa's Scout elves. The elf skirt, part of a new Claus Couture Collection, was introduced in the fall of 2009.
Pitts, who spent five years with QVC TV network, serves as the company's chief operating officer.
"From humble beginnings in the Aebersold home living room, CCA and B operates from a now crowded 31,000-square-foot warehouse and office in Cobb County," according to a release from the company. "The company moved to its current location in 2008. However, with sales expected to double again this year, the suitability of the so called 'new' space could be very short lived."
The company has provided more than 600 community service hours per year and nearly $100,000 in product donations to organizations such as the Cobb Schools Foundation, Children's Cancer Research, Toys for Tots, and the Leukemia Society.