• Small Business Person of the Year Award

    2020 Small Business Person of the Year, Thommy Long

    Thommy Long is a graphic designer, champion of small businesses, and the creative force behind LemonGrenade Creative. He is on a life-long mission to rid this earth of boring logos and mediocre brands.

    At the ripe old age of eight, Thommy watched his father draw and re-draw the letter “L” late into the night as he was meticulously creating a logo for his business, Long’s Handyman Services. Thommy was in awe. He became obsessed with typefaces, letterforms, and anything related to design. From this point on, Thommy knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. He went through high school taking every creative class he could and even won a citywide design contest in 1993 by designing the Fairfield City Schools logo, which is still being used today.

    He graduated Cum Laude, and second in his class, from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1998, and his relationship with the Art Academy didn’t stop there. He went on to become an adjunct professor and taught in the BFA Program and Community Education classes for seven years.

    For the next 15 years, Thommy worked as a graphic designer, art director, and eventually a senior art director at various Cincinnati agencies. He saw the impact great branding could have on the success of businesses and organizations. In 2014, it was time to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming his own boss and starting his own business. He created a design studio for the masses: accessible, friendly, and able to drive results.

    While Thommy started LemonGrenade Creative out of his house, after six short months he already needed to hire full-time employees, which meant it was time to start looking for a new home for the business. He immediately knew that downtown Hamilton was the perfect location.

    Thommy has always been invested in the success of this community. He has been a proud member of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and Alive After Five boards, and he was a graduating member of Leadership Hamilton Class 28.

    He also participates in art education programs where local school districts and other organizations shadow him at LemonGrenade, and he teaches the students the ins and outs of the graphic design field. These visits usually consist of a mock graphic design project and a provided lunch for the students. Because of this, LemonGrenade has become a very popular destination for art education.

    Thommy has had the privilege of handling the branding and marketing for countless businesses in Hamilton and the surrounding areas. LemonGrenade also works with several national clients including Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt University, Astellas Pharma Inc., and Easterseals. Most recently he has added two clients in Hawaii. Thommy also gave a sold-out lecture about branding and design during the American Institute of Graphic Artists’ Cincinnati Design Week in 2016.

    Earlier this year, at the beginning of the pandemic, Thommy noticed that much of the Hamilton business community was afraid to spend any money on marketing, and a lot of these businesses went silent. Knowing how customer engagement drives sales, Thommy and his team created the Lemon-Ade Program where they offered free social media graphics to local businesses to help promote themselves in these difficult times. This program was so popular that when word got around, LemonGrenade was able to help 37 business, creating over 100 ads, and donating more than 100 design hours to businesses in need.

    Thommy has been married to Kellie, his partner-in-crime, for 15 years. They share a love for vintage toys; He-Man and Strawberry Shortcake, respectively. They have two sons together, Julian age 14 and Griffin age 11. They also have two daughters, I mean dogs, Rae (the Head of Security at LemonGrenade) and Hannah (the Chief Barketing Officer).


    Past Recipients:

    2019 - John Kirsch
    2018 - Kym McCaughey
    2017 - Sara Vallandingham
    2016 - Eric Pohlman
    2015 - Sherry Armstead
    2014 - Jane Johnson
    2013 - Mindy Mueller
    2012 - George F. Schmidt
    2011 – Dennis & Robin Kurlas
    2010 - Sanders Family
    2009 - Edward D. Larkin
    2008 - Jeff Pohlman
    2007 - Bob Robinson, Sr.
    2006 - Bill Boehm
    2005 - H. Wayne Ferguson
    2004 - Craig Wilks
    2003 - Dave Lippert
    2002 - Mel “Moody” Baker
    2001 - Paul & Joellyn Goos
    2000 - Karen Underwood Kramer & Gayl Underwood
    1999 - Peter A. Towne
    1998 - Frank Pfirman
    1997 - Neil Cohen, Henry Sester & Ron Smith
    1987 - Bob Lippert
    1986 - Harold McMullen
    1985 - Bill Wilks
    1984 - Jay & Carolyn Antenen
    1983 - Jack Horn
    1982 - Joe Williams

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