Sam Yehia, Sam & Wally's Eatery
Sam Yehia is probably the only businessman in Raleigh, or perhaps the entire state, who claims to have Sir Walter Raleigh as his silent business partner. "Wally," as he affectionately calls his partner, is the other half of the popular Sam & Wally's Eatery, located in downtown Raleigh.
How is this possible? With a good, old-fashioned dose of humor.
According to Sam Yehia, Sir Walter Raleigh has turned in his broad brimmed, feathered hat for that of a Sam & Wally's baseball cap. The proof is in the Sam & Wally's Eatery logo. There he is, right next to Sam.
Having worked with many of the better-known hotel and restaurant properties in the Triangle, and the owner of the original Truffles candy store, Sam says that his partnership with Wally is a perfect blend of their personalities and expertise. "We both have an old world background and tradition but share strong ties to North Carolina," he says. "Wally is the ideal partner for me. He has given his name to the restaurant (not to mention the city), but stays in the background -- a true silent partner."
Another partner Sam appreciates is the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. A Chamber member since 1995, Sam & Wally's Eatery has benefited from referrals. "The Chamber has been a great source of information about other local businesses," Sam says. "We have catered many lunches that have been referred to us by a member of the fine Chamber staff."
Sam & Wally's Eatery is located at the base of the BB&T Building at Two Hanover Square in downtown Raleigh. Sir Walter Raleigh, while not behind the counter, can be found in all his bronzed glory outside of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.
Gerald & Sherry FitzGibbon, The Mad Hatter Air Duct Cleaning & Chimney Sweep Service Inc.
They may not look like the chimney sweeps in the Disney classic "Mary Poppins," dancing on rooftops with soot on their faces, but Gerald and Sherry FitzGibbon with The Mad Hatter Air Duct Cleaning & Chimney Sweep Service, Inc. will get your chimney or air ducts just as clean ... without the spoon full of sugar.
Gerald and Sherry moved to Raleigh from Atlanta in 1995 to start their own business after working in corporate companies. They chose the area after reading articles that rated the community as being an up-and-coming place for new businesses.
"Within the first year we were contacted by the Chamber and encouraged, as a small business, to become better acquainted with the business community," Gerald and Sherry say. "And it's worked. At every meeting or event we have attended through the years, we always make at least one new contact."
As a family-owned and operated air duct cleaning company, Gerald and Sherry say that the Chamber has given their company credibility from the beginning. "Our customers feel comfortable doing business with us since the Chamber is viewed as a major player in the workings of our community," they say. "The Chamber consistently keeps us informed on new trends in business, economy predictions, and other issues important to us."
"We believe all businesses, especially smaller family-owned businesses, can really benefit from joining the Chamber. We are proud to be on the Board of Advisors at the Chamber."
The Mad Hatter Air Duct Cleaning & Chimney Sweep Service is a "Golden Rule" company, and they feel the Chamber is the same way. "We have to treat others as we want to be treated to better serve our community -- which, in turn, helps our business to keep on growing."
Barbara Mulkey, Mulkey Engineers and Consultants
Finding ways to treat people better, from clients to employees, is the hallmark of Mulkey Engineers and Consultants, and more importantly, of president Barbara Mulkey herself. An N.C. State alumnus, Barbara founded in 1993 what is now one of the fastest-growing engineering consulting firms in the Southeast.
How has she done it? In addition to being a skilled engineer and entrepreneur, Barbara is actively involved in the Greater Raleigh Chamber. "As a company, we've been able to make important connections with the area's business leaders, our elected officials, and our peers," Barbara says. "This has led to new business opportunities and helped fuel our company's rapid growth."
Barbara adds, "Aside from the business value, we also support the Chamber because of the leadership it provides in our community. From economic development to our quality of life, the Greater Raleigh Chamber leads the way."
And Barbara is a leader in her field, too. Initially working out of her home and only earning $28,000 in revenue the first year, she now heads a multi-million-dollar firm with offices in North and South Carolina. Mulkey Engineers & Consultants offers a broad spectrum of services, and the company has gained recognition for its innovative and dynamic work environment.
Linda Folger, TriSure Corporation
From small beginnings has grown the largest, independently owned insurance and risk management firm in the Research Triangle area. The company? TriSure Corporation.
Linda and Cleve Folger and John Cramer founded TriSure in 1999 as a result of a merger of two independent insurance brokers (Triangle Insurance Services, Inc. and Cramer, Menard & Mathis, LLC). Linda is one of three partners with TriSure Corporation, and a dedicated supporter of the Greater Raleigh Chamber.
"The Greater Raleigh Chamber has been a tremendous means of boosting our visibility," Linda says. "By participating in the educational events and networking events offered by the Chamber, we have not only learned more about our community but have developed lasting business relationships."
Linda's company is dedicated to providing innovative and comprehensive solutions for businesses. TriSure's goals are multifaceted, in that they intend to achieve significant profitable growth, provide unparalleled professional service to their clients, and serve as community leaders. In order to achieve these lofty goals, Linda says, it is crucial for them to be known in the business community for their professionalism and expertise.
In addition to providing sales and marketing support to TriSure Corporation, as well as the personal sales of business insurance products, Linda's local community involvement includes a board position with the Cary Chamber of Commerce, and membership in the Cary Page Rotary Club, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Raleigh National Association of Women Business Owners. She is also a member of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters, the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors, and the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina.
She is a 1974 graduate of North Carolina State University and a native of North Carolina.