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Representatives of EIEA sponsoring partners Stephen Taylor, far left, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation; Kristel Smith, the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (CEDET), Eastern Kentucky University; and Michael Cornett, right, director of marketing and public relations for The Center for Rural Development, present EIEA recipient Jonathan Huston, founder and president of, with a framed certificate and photograph taken earlier this year at the awards luncheon at an EIEA Hometown Event.

2011 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award (EIEA) winner Jonathan Huston, founder and president of the world’s largest online retailer of collectible games,, was honored last week as one of the region’s top small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Huston, who started the company with his wife, Lana, approximately 18 years ago in their home in Keavy, was recognized for his win in the For-Profit Business category on Nov. 3 at an EIEA Hometown Event at the company’s new warehouse in Corbin.

“We are honored to have been selected as the 2011 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award recipient,” Huston said. “It is a testament, once again, to the dedication of our entire team, as well as the satisfaction and support of our customers.”

Earlier this year, Huston moved the company’s entire operation to a one-million-square-foot warehouse in Laurel Countythe former home of American Greeting Cards.

The company sells collectible card games, miniatures, board games and supplies for games, including Yu-GI-Oh!, Dungeons and Dragons, Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, and others through its website. The online retailer specializes in new and rare, out-of-print games. has made Inc. 5000 List for the second consecutive year and is ranked No. 449 by Internet Retailer Magazine as one of the nation’s 500 most successful online retailers of 2010.

While the company focuses on growth at the national and international levels, also makes connecting to the community a priority.

Huston said the company hires locally whenever possible, and lends its support to several community organizations and programs including local orphanages, the Corbin Backpack program, and Barbourville Empty Stocking Fund. Additionally, hosts community blood drives at least three times a year, and donates canned food to the Barbourville food drive along with collectible Yu-Gi-Oh! tins and binders to local schools.

Huston was presented the EIEA Award in the For-Profit Business Category in September at the 2011 EIEA “Decade of Distinction” luncheon and awards program hosted at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

“The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards program was established in 2001 to recognize and honor excellence in entrepreneurs who demonstrate exceptional achievements in Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” said event emcee Michael Cornett, director of marketing and public relations for The Center, one of the EIEA program’s sponsoring partners. “ illustrates that the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and well.”
The EIEA program, also sponsored by Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Business and Technology and Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, honors the success and achievement of small business owners, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profits in 55 Kentucky counties.

Other 2011 EIEA award recipients include Sandra G. Dingus, owner, president, and CEO of Drug Testing Centers of America, Start-Up Business; Donovan Wadsworth, owner of D & M Contracting Inc., Richmond, For Profit Small Business; and Cheryl and Mark Martin, co-owners and instructors of Appalachian Foothills Therapeutic Equestrian Center, McKee, Not-For-Profit Entity.