‘Like A Family’
Local Chamber’s Honorees Know How To Run A Business
Posted: January 10, 2013
HARRISONBURG — Old Dominion Realty’s longevity is hereditary, President Mike Pugh says.
From the time his father, the late Clyde Pugh, started the company in 1962 through more than 50 years in the business, one thing has remained constant even as the industry experienced dramatic change and Old Dominion grew into a real estate powerhouse.
“It’s a family company,” Mike Pugh, 58, of Bridgewater said, rattling off relatives who work for the company and the many longtime employees who’ve become like kin over the years.
“We operate it more like a family than a business,” he said.
Old Dominion, founded in Bridgewater and now based in Harrisonburg, has grown into six offices in Virginia and West Virginia with a dozen workers and 90 agents. Much of the growth occurred within the last 10 years as the company expanded beyond real estate sales and residential construction.
On Wednesday, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce recognized Pugh as Business Person of the Year. The chamber also honored Katrina Didot, owner of A Bowl of Good café, and Craig and Nancy Miller, who run a farm near Hinton. Didot was chosen as Entrepreneur of the Year, while the Millers were recognized as the Farm Family of the Year.
Pugh said he can’t take all the credit for Old Dominion’s success.
“I’m touched and very appreciative of the award, but I really think it belongs to a lot of people over 50 years,” he said.
Entrepreneur Of The Year
Didot, 45, of Harrisonburg, started A Bowl of Good with three tables inside Kate’s Natural Products on University Boulevard in 2005, but the following year, she had to give up the space because of a rent increase.
In 2009, the restaurant found a new home in a custom-made space on Mount Clinton Pike near Eastern Mennonite University.
Last fall, A Bowl of Good opened a second location on Port Republic Road near Neff Avenue.
The café specializes in using local ingredients and working with growers.
Didot said efforts have been focused over the past few years on keeping prices reasonable while delivering a quality product.
Her husband, Ernie, said the restaurant’s opening coinciding with a movement to use local food.
“That’s the vein we’re hitting on,” he said. “There’s a demand for that.”
Being recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year, Katrina Didot said, demonstrates that the risks she’s taken have paid off.
“I feel very honored and I feel very thankful to the chamber and greater community,” she said. “It’s a vote of confidence.”
Craig and Nancy Miller — or at least, the fruit of their labor — gained national attention last year, when two of their turkeys were selected to take part the annual presidential turkey pardoning Thanksgiving tradition.
President Barack Obama pardoned Cobbler and Gobbler during a ceremony at the White House, which the Millers attended.
But the couple’s care for the land is what earned them recognition from the Chamber of Commerce.
Craig Miller, 50, said they did a conservation stewardship program through the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Cargill, for which he grows turkeys.
It included piping rainwater from the roofs of chicken houses and planting 400 trees, Miller said.
“We’re pretty proud of it in our area,” he said. “We try to be progressive.”
Being recognized by the chamber affords an opportunity the Millers don’t usually get, he added.
“It’s awesome because one thing we don’t get to do as farmers is educate the public,” he said.
Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or firstname.lastname@example.org