PITTSBURG — The nurturing of entrepreneurial enterprises and small businesses is part of the community’s heritage, and each year the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce celebrates its success stories.

Three finalists have been selected for the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Small Business of the Year award, which will be presented next Thursday during the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet at Memorial Auditorium.

Pro X Realty, Roto Rooter Sewer and SilverCreek Medical Reimbursement Solutions each have successes to celebrate, including growth, optimizing customer service, expanding employment and community involvement.

“I know it’s a difficult choice for our committee each year to narrow down the finalists,” said Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Operations Devin Gorman. “These highly visible, successful businesses are outstanding supporters of our community and each one is deserving of this distinction.”

Gorman said Roto Rooter Sewer, which has been locally owned and operated by the Pingree Family for the past 21 years, was a finalist last year as well.

The company has three full-time employees and serves hundreds of customers a year, with employees actively pursuing educational opportunities to keep current on best practices and industry trends.

Owner Uealene Pingree said she and her husband bought the company in May 1996, and she has continued to run it since his death in 2001.

Throughout the Pingree’s 20 years with the company, customer service has set Roto Rooter Sewer apart.

“Usually, unless in an extremely busy time of the year, we can offer same-day service to clean a line,” Pingree said.

The company employees two technicians and one secretary, and Pingree said customers always appreciate being able to talk to a real person when they call.

In addition, Roto Rooter is very involved in the community and in helping out many area not-for-profits.

Strong growth also helped set apart both Pro X Realty and SilverCreek Medical Reimbursement Solutions.

Pro X Realty began in 2009 when Tyler Casey began managing rental properties and has grown to become Pittsburg’s largest property management company. The company now encompasses three branches: Pro X Realty, Pro X Property Solutions and Pro X Construction.

In just a few short years, the company has grown to become the largest property management company in Pittsburg, employing seven real estate agents.

SilverCreek began when Rebecca Light saw a need for quality, state-of-the-art billing services in rural areas. In 2006, Light’s business plan expected 10 clients and five employees, but 10 years later the company employees 28 people in Pittsburg and serves more than 90 providers.

“We didn’t project how much of a demand there would be for a quality billing service that really focuses on rural providers,” said Light, SilverCreek Medical Reimbursement Solutions’ CEO regarding the business’ growth. “Working with the City of Pittsburg and the chamber we were able to make a move into a larger facility.”

In addition to easing the burden on physicians throughout Kansas and Missouri, Light said the business is active with the chamber, schools, athletics teams and area non-profits.

— Sarah Gooding is a staff reporter at The Morning Sun and can be contacted at sgooding@morningsun.net