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UTAHN NAMED TOP OPERATOR OF SMALL BUSINESS

SHARE UTAHN NAMED TOP OPERATOR OF SMALL BUSINESS

Utahn Lorraine Miller knows good things sprout from small seeds - like the plants she started selling at a small store in 1975, which grew into a million-dollar-a-year business.

That also led President Clinton on Wednesday to name her the nation's No. 1 small-business operator in a ceremony where top small business operators from each state waited to see who would win the top honor."Lorraine Miller is an outstanding example of what one individual can accomplish through hard work and personal initiative," Small Business Administration administrator Erskine Bowles said.

"She is an example of American entrepreneurship at its best," he said. His agency brought the 50 state winners to Washington as part of its Small Business Week activities.

Miller is president of Cactus & Tropicals Inc., Salt Lake City, and is only the third woman to win in the competition's 31-year history.

Miller started with $600 worth of plants in a small store, where she lived upstairs. Her business today has four greenhouses, a garden, a gift shop, an office building, two trucks, almost 40 employees and more than $1 million in annual sales.

It is growing steadily at 20 percent a year.