Finalists have been named in nine categories of the inaugural Bluffton Business Awards: Small Business of the Year, Business of the Year, Person of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year, Business Startup of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Good Heart Award, Professional Education and Development Person of the Year, and Regional Impact Award.

Finalists of the Lifetime Achievement and Memorial awards will be announced after press time.

Winners will be announced at the Bluffton Ball, to be held Jan. 8 at the Bluffton Rotary Community Center at Oscar Frazier Park.

The Bluffton Business Awards and Bluffton Ball were created by the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce to celebrate Bluffton.

The event is sponsored by Moonlit Lullaby.

Since the Awards Committee began receiving nominations in October, more than 160 were submitted for 90 different businesses and individuals impacting the Greater Bluffton area.

Some categories drew more than 20 nominees. Submissions were open to the public and no affiliation was required for nomination or recognition.

“”We are proud of our tradition of business in Bluffton. Bluffton represents the best in business, and our local companies do a great deal to support the community,” said Shellie West, executive director of the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.

“Our committee has worked hard to narrow down the selection of finalists. Our formula was based on the quality of the nominations, the match to the category criteria, community involvement and impact, and committee research,” said award committee chair Ron Gray. “Now comes the difficult task of picking just one winner.”

Small Business of the Year finalists: Sea Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, Accurate Lithography, The Breeze Media, Easy2Own Furnishings

Business of the Year finalists: Covert Aire, Beacon Insurance, Coastal Shores Landscape & Property Management, Timeless Interiors, Reichenbach Chevrolet

Person of the Year finalists: Lili Coleman, Bluffton Self Help; Mike Covert, Covert Aire; Ben Kennedy, Brighton Builders

Nonprofit of the Year finalists: Programs for Exceptional People, Second Helpings, Bluffton Self Help, The Literacy Center

Business Startup of the Year finalists: Aunt Laurie’s, Healthsmart, Just Be Centre, Lowcountry Lobster

Rookie of the Year finalists: Daniel Lentz, Memory Matters; Mike Reichenbach, Mike Reichenbach Chevrolet; Emily Cohn, Moonlit Lullaby

Good Heart Award finalists: Audre Reichenbach, Mike Reichenbach Chevrolet; George Owens, Town of Bluffton; Nate Pringle, A Call to Action

Professional Education & Development Person of the Year finalists: Dylan Curtis, Hilton Head Christian Academy; Timothy Chase, Bluffton High School; Marva Neal, Okatie Elementary School

Regional Impact Award finalists: Parker’s, John Paul II High School, The Greenery

For more information about the awards, visit www.BlufftonBusiness