The Justine Petersen organization, which has been helping small businesses and low-income families secure loans, on Thursday handed out its holiday hardware.

Freddie Lee James Jr. and his wife, Deborah, were honored as the small business of the year for producing its popular “Ghetto Sauce,” a business that started in the kitchen of the James’ home in the Greater Ville neighborhood.

On hand to congratulate the saucemakers was Eddie G. Davis, former St. Louis school board president and now head of the Center for Acceleration of African American Business.

About 150 people attended the awards ceremony at the organization’s office at 1023 North Grand Avenue.

Other winners Thursday included St. Louis Alderman Marlene Davis, Tim Hill, Vivian Hudson, Chris McCoy, Laurie Peterson, Ted Rice, Carl Trautmann  and the Richard Saddler family.

Justine Petersen, a former St. Louis housing inspector, founded the St. Louis Reinvestment Corp. in 1994. It was renamed in her honor after she died in 1996.

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