Previous "Business of the Year" recipients
2010 Kustom Floor Designs Inc.
2009 Eldridge Fencing Inc.
2008 Business Management Inc.
2007 Great Bend Tribune
2006 Central Kansas Medical Center
2005 Venture Corporation
2004 Adams Brown, Beran & Ball Chtd.
2003 Great Bend Feeding Inc.
2002 CPI Qualified Plan Consultants Inc.
2001 Doonan Corporation
2000 Farmers Bank & Trust NA
1999 Dillons Stores
1998 Stickney Distributing Inc.
1997 Office Products Inc.
1996 Fuller Brush Company
1995 Becker Tire & Treading Inc.
1994 Straub International
1993 Marmies of Great Bend
Since he was 14 years old, Tim Miller has been dedicating all his resources to building a legacy now known as Tim Miller Enterprises. After over 50 years of hard work and perseverance, the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development is recognizing Miller and his numerous business ventures with the 2011 Business of the Year Award.
Miller was born in El Dorado in January 1940. His family moved around for several years until his father took a job as an oil supply man in Great Bend in 1946. Starting at a young age, Miller knew the value of hard work, spending his school breaks working in the oilfield. Shortly after his father launched his own warehouse company, Tim joined the business right after graduating from Great Bend High School in 1957.
"I traveled all over the country for the business, and even lived in Texas and Southern California for brief periods of time," Miller said. "But I always came home to Great Bend."
During the same year that his father retired and went out of business, Miller started his own warehouse company, Oilfield Manufacturers Warehouse Incorporated, in 1972. This was the first of the six businesses that now make up Tim Miller Enterprises. Miller Plastics manufactures all the plastic parts sold by
the warehouse business. Miller Ranch encompasses his farming and commercial cattle operations. Ten years, ago, EZE Load Trailer Manufacturing started making trailers, and Tim Miller Sales is responsible for selling those trailers nationwide.
Miller’s final namesake business is Tim Miller’s Charlie’s Place. The bar was started in the mid ’90s, and Miller purchased and expanded it in 1998. "The best part of all of my years in these many businesses is the people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve built," Miller said. "No matter where I travel, there is probably someone I’ve met over the last 50 years in one context or another."
In addition to his impressive legacy in the private sector, Tim Miller has also contributed significantly to several non-profit organizations. He was a founding board member for the Kansas Oil & Gas Museum and Foundation, and still serves on the board as its president. He has been on other boards, including the Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association (KIOGA) and the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development. In his wallet, he still carries the same reserve sheriff’s deputy badge he received in 1960, although he isn’t as active as he used to be.
Tim Miller Enterprises was built on the back of a hard working man who feared the advice of his mentors in the financial industry. "My banker told me a long time ago to save money and stay out of debt, and that’s what helped me make it through the ups and downs in the oil industry," Miller said. Former Great Bend resident Cecil Burton also shared this advice, "No one can ever make more land, so invest wisely."
While his business ventures were always important to him, Miller’s family is the thing he’s most proud of. Tim and his wife, Loretta, have five children between them. His expects his children to carry on Tim Miller Enterprises one day, along with The Gallery, a business in downtown Great Bend he helped his wife launch several years ago.
Because of the significant investments Tim Miller has made in the Great Bend community and because of his lifelong commitment to its inhabitants, his diverse and ever-expanding business, Tim Miller Enterprises, was selected as the 2011 Business of the Year award recipient. "Twenty years from now, I hope Great Bend still maintains its small town values," Miller says. "This has always been my home, and I cannot think of a better place to raise a family and develop businesses than right here. I am so grateful for the support of this community and our many customers."
"Business of the Year" is an annual award presented by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce to showcase companies that demonstrate excellence in customer service, growth and response in positive ways to adversity. Businesses must also show community involvement and demonstrate innovative business practices by improving products, services and programs.