Local business owners took time out of their customer-friendly schedules to attend the 2006 Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Awards Wednesday, June 21, where they were recognized for providing outstanding services to the Springfield community.
Nancy-jo Manney, executive director of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, said the award ceremony drew more than 60 people and represented more than 45 Springfield organizations. The awards provided local business owners the chance to receive recognition for their hard work and dedication to the community.
"It’s a show of your involvement in the community and a show of your commitment to your community and customers," said Manney, describing the benefits of winning an award. "You can present this award and say, ‘Look what I can do for you.’"
Five awards were presented during the luncheon, from the Outstanding Product to the Business Person of the Year Award, which took place at the Waterford in Springfield.
John Frazier, host of the lunch and member of the Awards Committee, said the process of determining the winners of the awards was challenging because of the more than 20 qualified businesses within the Springfield area that were nominated for the various awards.
Manney said local businesses were nominated for the awards by community members and then the Awards Committee, a branch of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, examined each nominee to see if it met the award’s qualifications.
Frazier said the awards are taken very seriously among business owners, who often continue to show off their award years after winning it.
"Winning an award gives the business more notoriety within the community," he said. "They display that plaque very fondly."
ROSS BLACK, owner of the Rosehill Texaco station, received the Arthur E. Morrissette Top Hat Service award, which honors commitment and devotion to quality service and customer satisfaction.
"I’m from the Midwest," Black said. "I run my business like they do back in the old Midwest: with a focus on the customer’s needs."
Black said he thought he won the award because of his strong focus on customer satisfaction.
In 2003, Black received the Businessman of the Year Award, which increased his business more than 10 percent. Hopefully, he said, winning an award this year will have a similar affect.
"It really helps my business," Black said. "Any time you get recognition from your peers it helps you out, the community hears about it and wants to know more."
Penny Youdmanee, owner of Thai Café, received the Outstanding Restaurant Award honoring superior food service. Similar to Black, she said the award is beneficial to her business.
Unlike Black, however, who said he has participated in the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce events in the past, Youdmanee said she has not been very active within the community. This award will encourage her to become more aware of her impact within the Springfield area, she said.
"Winning the award made me want to participate more in the community and to become more involved with the chamber," Youdmanee said. "I want to help the community in whatever I can do."
She said that since its opening nine years ago, Thai Cafe has consistently provided good food at an affordable price with fast and pleasant service. She credits the award to these qualities.
"Over 50 percent of our customers are regulars who we see at least once or twice a week," Youdmanee said describing why her restaurant has become so popular. "Even the customers who have moved away always come back to see us when they are in the area. Whatever we’re doing, it must be right."
Other winners included John Pellegrin of the Law offices of John Pellegrin, who received the Corporate Citizen Award; Jason Osser of EmBroidMe, who received the Outstanding Product Award; and Martin Saenz of Sign-A-Rama, who received the Businessperson of the Year Award.