Kazoobie Inc. of Beaufort sells a million kazoos a year, shipping the inexpensive, plastic instruments around the world.
In the process, the business is helping blaze a trail out of the national recession, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber this week named Kazoobie one of 75 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners, plucking the business from a pool of nationwide applicants.
The award recognizes businesses that excel in strategy, employee development, community involvement and customer service, according to the chamber.
"The recipients of this year's Blue Ribbon Small Business Award are on the forefront of our economic recovery," chamber president and CEO Thomas Donohue said in a news release. "These small businesses are our nation's job creators, and this award recognizes their significant contributions to our economy."
Kazoobie and the other honorees will be recognized at America's Small Business Summit 2011, scheduled for May 23-25 in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, other prizes could await.
Seven of the Blue Ribbon businesses will be named finalists March 14, and one will be named the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year during the summit. The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Blue Ribbon businesses also are eligible for a Community Excellence Award to be decided this month by online voting, the chamber announced.
Kazoobie president Stephen Murray said he didn't expect the company to win when it was nominated by the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Murray said the company -- based in the Beaufort Industrial Village -- is relatively small. It has only three full-time employees and hires two or three more on a seasonal basis.
However, it makes an impact in other ways, he said.
Kazoobie, which bills itself as the only plastic kazoo manufacturer in the U.S., is a domestic success story in an era of outsourcing, Murray said.
"We're proof positive it is possible to manufacture in the U.S. and be a good company and be successful at it," he said.
Murray said the company also:
"It's got a great little story with it," Murray said of the kazoo. "We try to keep that alive."