Story + Photography by Tony Centzone
The Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce recently presented its 2nd Annual Entrepreneurship Award to Cindy Kerns, and Jerry and Carolyn Ellis, owner/operators of Clarksville's legendary Catfish House.
About 100 local business leaders and Chamber members, as well as Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett, were on hand at The Catfish House for presentation of the GrowCo 2 Award.
“This is very special, because this community means a lot to us,” Cindy Kerns said. “We would not have been here for 40 years without the people in this community, whom we love dearly. To get an award from the people that we serve is very special to us.”
Jay Albertia, Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman, took a moment to talk about the history of the award, and the Chamber's selection criteria.
“Last year, we presented this to the Knots and Armitsteads, owners of The City Forum,” Albertia said. “We have a committee inside the Chamber that looks at who has made a substantial footprint within our community. Entrepreneurs who started with nothing but an idea, and then built something great.
“When you start looking at who has made a long-lasting impact in Clarksville, you see these folks. They have had people from all over, gravitating to this little family business for 40 years. I think the key to their success is that the family is still here. They are involved in the day-to-day operation, and that has to be a major contributor to their ongoing success.”