Alum Receives Small Business of the Year Award

by Janelle Meyers '08

Azusa Pacific University alumni Zach Miller ’00, MBA ’01 and his wife Jennifer ’99, M.A.Ed. ’04 received a Small Business of the Year 2006 Award in the 24th Senate District. This award, presented by State Senator Gloria Romero, recognizes exceptional small businesses whose dedication and commitment to the community have improved the economy and the quality of life. They were among six recognized small business owners.

The Millers own the Little Caesars Pizza, Carvel/Cinnabon, and Verizon Wireless stores in the shopping center located at Barranca and Alosta avenues in Azusa. Their Carvel/Cinnabon shop marks the first time the franchises co-branded and the first time that Cinnabon has been located outside of an airport or mall.

Zach received the award on August 2 in Los Angeles and was selected from approximately 35 nominees. All businesses nominated were required to meet the following criteria: established for at least three years, comprised of fewer than 100 employees, and located within the boundaries of the 24th Senate District. The 24th Senate District includes the Los Angeles, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, Monterey Park, Rosemead, and West Covina.

The Millers are strong believers in reinvesting in the community. They invest in their employees’ educational goals by offering a textbook program, where each employee is reimbursed for all college text books purchased. They also recognize continued service by giving employees with 1,000 hours of service a free iPod and a gift card to purchase music.

“My wife and I feel that our employees are our biggest assets; investing in them at this stage in their lives will lead to bigger and better opportunities for them,” said Zach. “We realize that our employment is only a stepping stone in our their career paths and encourage them to look beyond the walls of work and towards their goals and dreams.”

When presenting this award, Azusa Mayor Diane Chagnon shared that Zach does an exceptional job of living out APU’s Four Cornerstones, which are Christ, community, scholarship, and service. She also acknowledged that Zach goes above and beyond by serving through his businesses, and is known for always doing the right thing.

“The story of our co-brand store is a testament to my education at Azusa Pacific University, the location and acceptance of the people in the city of Azusa, and the wonderful blend of ice cream and hot cinnamon rolls in the store,” said Zach.

In addition to the Small Business of the Year award, Zach will be recognized by the School of Business and Management in APU's Academic Hall of Honor during Homecoming weekend in October.

The Millers also own and operate Verizon Wireless stores in Glendora, La Habra, Newport Beach, Rancho Cucamonga, and Adelanto, as well as Sonic Burger restaurants in El Centro and Calexico. They also co-own two Richie’s Real American Diner locations in Temecula and Murrieta, and are expanding the Little Caesars concept in the state of Washington.