March 25,  2024

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced the winners of this year’s Small Business Person of the Year awards, highlighting over 50 outstanding small business owners and entrepreneurs across the United States. Charlie M. Downs, III, Restauranteur and Entrepreneur, has been named Missouri’s Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, in acknowledgement of his exceptional achievements as a small business owner.

“I am both grateful and humbled to have been selected for Small Business Person of the Year for the state of Missouri, an immense honor and testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team” said Charlie M. Downs, III.

Leading Sugarfire Smokehouse, Charlie has built a legacy around mouthwatering Best in St. Louis Barbecue. With 11 locations in Missouri and additional establishments in Colorado, Illinois, and Iowa, Sugarfire Smokehouse has received numerous accolades, including Best Barbecue by Travel Channel, St. Louis Magazine, and Feast Magazine. The brand has also made waves at the May World BBQ Championships in Memphis and has been featured on acclaimed shows like Pit Masters, Beat Bobby Flay, and Burgers, Brew, and Que.

“We nominated Charlie because of his exceptional leadership into building his restaurants into a renowned brand with multiple locations across states; which demonstrates not only entrepreneurial brilliance but also a commitment to quality and community engagement,” remarked Jeff Camilleri, EVP, Chief Banking Officer at CNB St. Louis Bank. “This recognition serves as a fitting tribute to Charlie M. Downs, III”.

In addition to Charlie’s successes, he has been long time member of a Community Advisory Board for CNB St. Louis Bank, where his contributions provide us resources and referrals to grow and evolve. His journey embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and defines the success of small businesses, shaping the future of our communities.

Charlie and all other award winners will be recognized at a luncheon hosted by the Small Business Administration during Small Business Week on May 2nd, 2024. Learn more about the event, where we are proud sponsors, here.

About the SBA: The Small Business Administration (SBA) was created with the mission of helping businesses start, grow, and expand or recover from declared disasters. Today, they offer a wide range of services to small business owners and entrepreneurs to power the American dream of business ownership. Small businesses created two out of every three new jobs, which is more than half of the America labor force working or owning a small business.

View the full list of 2024 SBA award winners here!

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