Sour Lake Chamber honors local businesses

Two Sour Lake businesses were honored at Sour Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 24.
J&R Meat Market, located at 185 TX-326 in Sour Lake, was named Small Business of the Year, while KAT Excavation and Construction, at 16531 Hwy 105 in Sour Lake, received the Business Leadership Award.
Small Business of the Year recognizes a member who has been in business over three years, provides excellence in customer service, has experienced progressive sales/marketing growth, provides innovative products or services, community volunteerism, and/or demonstrates economic support of the Sour Lake/Hardin-Jefferson area business community.
Rose Linscomb accepted the award for J&R. She and her husband John have been owners of J&R Meat Market since 1986.
Rose writes in Sour Lake Chamber literature, “Back in the early 1980s, John worked for an Oil and Tool Company for 12 years. Back in that time, the oilfield crashed and he was laid off. John worked here and there for a year or so. My parents had just retired and moved back here to Texas. They owned three convenient stores in Louisiana. Just about that time we saw that Rainbow Packing was up for sale. Not knowing anything about running a business, my parents agreed to help us get started by owning our own business. … At that time we were J&R Meat Packing. We butchered and processed cattle for people and also processed deer. After about one year, we added the little grocery store on the front. Then we were called J&R Grocery and Market. Twenty-two years later, we decided that we wanted to expand, so in 2008, we demolished our home and business and built J&R Meat Market L.T.D./Valero. We went from four part-time employees to 13.”
The business was even recently featured on an episode of Animal Planet’s television series, “Lone Star Law,” thanks to local Game Warden Michael Boone, who is originally from Sour Lake.
As for being named Small Business of the Year, Rose said the honor left her speechless.
“I was shocked really,” she said. “It was awesome and I felt very honored. … I do have to praise my employees, and the community — my customers. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have received it.”
The Business Leadership Award recognizes businesses that demonstrate innovation, involvement in their community, and represent a well-rounded business organization. The business must also demonstrate economic support of the Sour Lake/Hardin Jefferson area business community, have been in business over three years, and have experienced progressive sales/marketing growth.
KAT Excavation and Construction has been in business since 1989.
According to Sour Lake Chamber literature, “At the age of 8, Kerry (Trest) could operate a dozer, track hoe, (and) work on trucks and equipment.”
Inspired by his father and grandfather, who both owned their own businesses, Kerry chose to start his own business, but with a larger focus.
“Kerry (Trest) started out with a chainsaw and a dream in 1989 and it steadily grew,” the literature states. In 1992, he incorporated the business and the vision that grew into KAT Excavation & Construction Inc. today (KAT stands for Kerry Allan Trest). Rusty, his brother, joined the KAT team as an operator in 2015. Kerry and his wife Belinda have a son Chris, who has been working at KAT since 2007. Chris works in dispatch, the shop, and as an equipment operator.”
Equipment World and Caterpillar named the company a finalist for its national award Equipment World Contractor of the Year in 2017, and they won the BBB Torch Award in 2016.
“It’s kind, it’s overwhelming, and it’s probably one of the most gracious awards you can get when your peers and your co-businesses are around you,” Belinda Trest, co-owner of KAT told The Business Journal. “You can win all kinds of awards … but the heart warmer is the hometown award.”
“It’s our privilege to recognize these award winners, both of which were overwhelmingly nominated by their business peers. J&R Meat Market and KAT Excavation & Construction are heavily involved in the local business climate, each of them demonstrating a commitment to not only quality of their products and services, but to the growth and success of our community,” said Sour Lake Chamber of Commerce President Rebecca Gardiner. “They never hesitate to get involved with our community and school events. Both demonstrate a positive response to adversity. For example, during Hurricane Harvey, KAT had their dump trucks out assisting with rescue and recovery efforts, even while their own offices flooded, and J&R remained opened throughout the storm, one of the few locations in the area to offer gas and food, with their employees having lost everything and still coming in to work.”
For more information about the Sour Lake Chamber of Commerce, visit sourlakecoc.com or call (409) 287-0688.

Photo by Carol Gary - State Rep. James White, KAT Excavation & Construction Inc. owners Kerry and Belinda Trest, BBB Serving Southeast Texas President Liz Fredrichs, Sarah Blacksher and Rachel Iglesias, both of Rep. Brian Babin’s Office and Sour Lake Chamber of Commerce President Rebecca Gardiner.

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