Especially during these tough times, they play a crucial role in the economy.
The Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennasaw State University picked Turner's Furniture Company as it's Medium size Georgia Family Business of the Year.
"Mainly we just do everything we can to take care of our customers," said Fortson Turner, Turner's Furniture.
With fewer than 250 employees the store has withstood the test of time since 1915.
"It was started by my great grandfather and we're now in the 4th generation in the furniture business," said Fortson Turner, Turner's Furniture.
The family business has grown from a modest start in a hardware store in Pelham, to a multi-city enterprise thanks to the dedication the Turner family.
"They've found a good niche and are doing a great job with the niche they've found," said Grady Thompson.
Thompson is the Chairman of the Tift Co. Development Authority and said big business is good but locally owned and managed operations are at the center of the business community.
"Small businesses are the backbone of south Georgia," said Thompson.
Turner is thankful they've made it this far and within the past decade has implemented changes to keep the business growing.
"We use to operate as individual stores and we now have a central distribution center which helps to save money and keep our costs down," said Turner.
But growth hasn't come without challenges.
"It's definitely been a bit more challenging in the past year or two with the economy like it is," said Turner.
But with community support this and other family owned operations can continue to thrive.
"In Tifton and Tift County we support our small business, we try to do everything we can to keep them viable we know that's the life blood of our community," Thompson.
Another important mantra to small business success is good people.
"The most important part of the company is the employees it's not the buildings," Turner.
Turner's Furniture has locations in Albany, Tifton, Valdosta, and a new location in Moultrie.
The company is recognized as one of the longest lasting family-owned companies in Georgia.
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