As we kick off Small Business Week, we sat down with an experienced entrepreneur who has achieved significant business growth, accelerated by a small business certification.

Joy Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Office Creations, a Gwinnett-based firm that creates environments which elevate people, teamwork, culture, and passion. They are the leading integrator for sustainably built spaces that create human-centered experiences and build lifelong relationships. Office Creations is a certified, woman-owned business, holding the coveted Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification. This designation signifies that a business is at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, or managed by a woman (or women) and connects qualifying businesses to supplier diversity and procurement executives at hundreds of major U.S. corporations and government entities. “This certification has given us a seat at the table that we may not have otherwise had,” says Mitchell. “It has opened the door to relationships and organizations that value women and diversity and has given us greater opportunities to grow.”

Mitchell recommends that small business owners strongly consider obtaining certifications for which they qualify. “The application process is lengthy and detailed, and it takes time,” she explains. “But it’s absolutely worth it in the end.”

Since opening its doors in 2001 with just three employees, Office Creations has grown to 46 employees with sales expected to top $42 million this year. “We saw an opportunity to come alongside companies to support their vision and goals for their space and help elevate their environments,” says Mitchell. “I’ve been so fortunate to have key relationships with business leaders in Gwinnett who have helped mentor me and invest in my growth. These relationships have been pivotal to our company’s success.”

Office Creations has won significant awards, including being named among the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 10 Dealers every year for the last decade and being recognized as one of Atlanta’s Top 10 Women-Owned Businesses for the last three years.

That’s no small feat for any business but is particularly impressive for a company that helps equip office spaces during a time when remote work has become common. Mitchell notes that her client base is diversified across industries, so when traditional office needs slowed, they were able to focus on clients in health care, senior living, government, and higher education.

And today, traditional office customers are returning with new requests. “Post-covid, we see a lot of employers wanting employees to be back in the office. We help them curate spaces that offer employees something they cannot attain while working from home through spaces that foster impromptu conversations and collaborations. These spaces promote the warmth and engagement of connection that they can only get in person,” she adds.

Mitchell and her team are playing a large role in the building renovations at the Gwinnett Chamber. She shares that the goal of the Chamber’s renovation is to update facilities and design spaces that encourage collaboration, networking, and connection among business leaders. It’s a space that entrepreneurs can use to build business relationships and that the county can use to invest in the businesses of tomorrow, according to Mitchell. “There will be multiple areas for collaboration and connection, space for heads-down focus work, areas for coffee and conversations, and innovative meeting space,” she says. “The design focus is on elevating these environments to cultivate connection and business relationships because that is key to the success of every business.”

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Gwinnett Chamber facilities will be under renovation.