6th Ave Homes, Silver Creek Metals, Tribe Alive and Elements of Architecture recognized


Small businesses … Big things.

The chant summed up the energy and excitement January 24 during the inaugural 2019 Forte Awards Night, which celebrated Fort Worth Chamber member businesses in four industries.

Approximately 250 Chamber members were there to honor the 12 finalists. The winners were:

  • Emerging Business (up to three years): 6thAve Homes, a one-stop shop for buying, selling, design and renovation of homes.
  • Manufacturing/Distribution: Silver Creek Materials, a leader in recycling, compost, mining and organic products.ng, compost, mining and organic products industry leader
  • Consumer / Retail: Tribe Alive, a sustainable fashion brand employing more than 150 people in underdeveloped areas in five countries.
  • Professional Services: Elements of Architecture, a full-service commercial architectural firm.

One of the four will be selected the 2019 Chamber Small Business of the Year during Mayor Betsy Price’s State of the City luncheon Feb. 19 at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

“Ninety percent of the Chamber’s 2000-plus members are small businesses,” said Jarred Howard, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President – Small Business & Entrepreneur.  “All of these businesses need to be more visible, promoted. We think we can help with that. The Forte Awards   are a start, giving us a showcase for the incredible work they do.”

Mayor Price, a small business owner before her municipal and mayoral careers, said: “I’m so excited the Chamber is showcasing small business. I owned one for 17 years. I know your pain. Nobody knows the labor you’re putting into it except you.”

The 4-Eleven, site of the Forte Awards, is illustrative of the work 6th Ave Homes produces. “This was an abandoned warehouse and to see you all here tonight is amazing,” said 6th Ave co-founder Jamey Ice.

Ice said the preparation work to enter the Forte Awards competition was helpful. “Distilling it on paper helped us communicate what we do,” he said. About the excitement and energy in the room, he said: “People in this room who love Fort Worth, ya’ll are making our city great and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

Silver Creek Materials recycles EVERYTHING that comes its way. The owner, Robert Dow, and his family are 4th-generation Fort Worthians; the business was started 35 years ago. The company’s composted materials provide sand, gravel, asphalt, fertilizer, insecticides and more. Within months, 20 new products will be in stores.

“Dickie’s Arena is built on top of our materials,” said Marshall Dow, Robert’s son. “The roads you drive on, the soil for landscape along the road…that’s probably us.”

Bob Spence said the competition “gave us a shift in direction. We realized we wanted to become more community focused.” Silver Creek has many community partners, including Tarrant Area Food Bank, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, Trinity River Water District and Boy Scouts of America.

Tribe Alive has a large international presence with its eight artisan design cooperatives in five countries. Carly Burson, Founder & CEO, said she entered the competition as part of the company’s plan to have a greater focus on Fort Worth.

“We never were really local,” she said. “So, we opened a store on Magnolia. The exposure is great, it is inner city and entrepreneur friendly.”

Debbie Fulwiler, President of Elements of Architecture, Inc., wanted to enter the Forte Awards because she senses a renewed business energy brought about by the Chamber’s strategic plan, Fortify.

“The energy has given us new life to what we’re doing,” she said. “To be a part of this is incredible.”

Debbie said the internal evaluation the company did before entering the competition helped it focus on what makes it special. Jerry Fulwiler called it “client acumen.” Said Debbie: “Our strength is we learn what clients want and give it to them.”

Bank of Texas was Presenting Sponsor of the Forte Awards event. Other sponsors included CliftonLarsonAllen, TCU Neeley School of Business, Wells Fargo, WeWork and media sponsor, Fort Worth Business Press.


Click here to view more photos from the event.