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Media Marketing Inc. Receives Small Business Honor

May 12, 2006–After working together for more than a decade, Rita Jones and Jennifer Sibilly decided to join together and form their own business – a company called Media Marketing Inc., which publishes magazines and guides about the Virgin Islands for both visitors and locals.
"I had always wanted to go out on my own," Jones said at a press conference held Friday at the Small Business Development Center on St. Thomas. "And when I was nearing my 50th birthday, I thought, well it's now or never."
The business, she explained, started in 2002, and took "a lot of hard work" to establish. However, after four years — and some help from their investors, community members and the SBDC — both women are finally seeing the fruits of their labors, and are being honored this week as one of the SBDC's Small Business Persons of the Year.
"We are very honored to be receiving this award," Sibilly said after the conference. "It's like wow, we're really on the board."
When asked about the ins and outs of their business, both women explained that they put out three annual publications – the "Places to Eat Map," the "Marine Guide" to the Virgin Islands, and "Places to Explore," which is the official publication of the V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association.
They are also the local representatives for "Discover," the in-room guide for the HTA.
"Putting these things together really is a yearlong process which can be quite challenging at times," Sibilly said. "But being from here, it's also a lot of fun, because everything is always changing, and we're able to experience so many different things and meet so many different people."
Jones added that their publications also offer readers a unique view of the islands, since they are filled with "passion," and contain well-written articles about the history of the territory, editorials and a plethora of other material which shows visitors the best spots for eating, entertainment or sightseeing.
"It's not just about selling ads with us," she added. "We cover everything a visitor will ever need to know."
After watching the two interact during the conference, however, it is obvious that their friendship and comfortable dynamic also help to make the publications successful. "She's like my niece," Jones said of Sibilly, as the two hugged, laughed and talked after the conference. "We never have to worry about who's the boss or anything – that hasn't even been a factor since we started the business."
Sibilly added that the team was also supported by a "great" work staff – a group of friends and colleagues who she and Jones have known for about 16 years. "Everyone is so wonderful, it makes us really love what we do," Sibilly said. "That's why I feel like we're going to be around for a long time – we're not going anywhere."
Sibilly and Jones join a list of other community members and businesses receiving the SBDC and Small Business Administration awards, which are given out every year during Small Business Week. Others being honored this week are:
SBDC awards for St. Thomas
–Small Business Person of the Year: Jennifer Foster- Shear, Xtasy Hair Boutique.
–Women in Business Champion of the Year: Gloria Gumbs, Gumbs Group.
–Financial Services Champion of the Year: FirstBank Virgin Islands.
–Small Business Advocate of the Year: St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce.
Small Business Administration Awards for St. Thomas:
–Small Business Person of the Year: Clement Maduro, CMC Caribbean Inc. d/b/a/ Limnos Charters
–SBA Platinum Award: Business Loan Center
–SBA Gold Award: Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
–Small Business Advocate of the Year: FirstBank Virgin Islands

SBDC awards for St. Croix:
–Small Business Person of the Year: Vernon F. Nicholas, St. Croix Business Machines.
–Douglas and Joan Miner, Douglas Signs Inc.
–Small Business Financial Services Champion of the Year: Charmaine Hewlett, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development.
–Hispanic Small Business of the Year: Zenaida M. Fabre, Zeny's Bar and Restaurant.
Small Business Administration awards for St. Croix:
–Small Business Person of the Year: Timothy Patrick Providence and Stanford Providence, Fun Zone Food and Family Entertainment .
–Bank of the Year: Banco Popular de Puerto Rico.
–Small Business Advocate of the Year: FirstBank Virgin Islands.
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