Many of the famous awards shows occur around this time of year. There are the Grammy awards for music, the Oscars, Emmy, and Tonys in acting. At the Midway Chamber, this is the time of year we also give out our awards – the Leadership Awards – in the categories of Rookie, Nonprofit, Small Business, Large Business, and Volunteer. On Feb. 26, the chamber announced this year’s recipients at our annual celebration. Here are the nominees…
Rookie of the Year: Ceiba Forte Law, Flying Pig Thrift, Neighborhood Development Center
And the award goes to… Neighborhood Development Center (NDC). NDC has been operating in our community for years, helping several businesses get their start. This year, they are also nearing completion of a new building at the northwest corner of Dale and University, which will house their offices along with a training center, retail incubator space, and affordable housing.
Nonprofit of the Year: African Economic Development Solutions, Junior Achievement North, WomenVenture
And the award goes to… WomenVenture.
WomenVenture equips women with the skills and resources to create and grow profitable and sustainable businesses. Lack of access to capital, gaps in business knowledge, and deficient support networks are still major barriers to launch and profitability for women entrepreneurs. WomenVenture’s programs open women’s access to entrepreneurship by surmounting these hurdles. Their seven core training programs, microloans up to $50,000, business coaching, and community of support ensure clients are prepared to lead successful businesses. WomenVenture recently moved to Saint Paul, located at the Blair Arcade building on Selby Avenue.
Small Business of the Year: Elsa’s House of Sleep, Lloyd’s Pharmacy, TST Creative Catering
And the award goes to…Elsa’s House of Sleep
Established in 1997, Elsa’s House of Sleep is a full-service furniture store that offers delivery and assembly, layaway, and a full line residential furniture including rugs, mattresses, lamps and accessories. Elsa’s House of Sleep was founded by Elsa Rezene in 1997 as a mattress store, but she intuitively expanded into all types of home furnishings. In 2002 she moved the store to its current University Avenue location where the business continues to prosper. Her children continue to this day in her tradition of honest bargains and great customer service.
Elsa’s was chosen as one of the highlighted businesses on Small Business Revolution, a reality show helping small businesses. In part through the show, Elsa’s has been busy renovating its space with a completed date expected this spring.
Large Business of the Year: Comcast, Hamernick’s, Mortenson
And the award goes to…Mortenson
Over the past two years, Mortenson has been involved in assisting with the rebuild of many Midway buildings. This continues with the RRR Fund, where they help with façade improvements along University Avenue.
Volunteer of the Year: Tonya Bauer, St. Paul Port Authority; Sara Betru, Jennings Community School; Matt Meyers, SPIRE Credit Union
And the award goes to….Matt Meyers
Matt has been a Midway Chamber board member since 2014 and served as treasurer and on the executive committee from 2015 to 2021. Not only does Matt have a thorough understanding of the financials, as treasurer, he clearly communicated issues and explanations so that everyone on the board understood past, current, and future implications. He took extra time to consider questions others may not be thinking about that he believed were important for the board to consider, often submitting written documentation to accompany spreadsheets. This was particularly valuable in 2020 and 2021 as the chamber navigated the unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic.
We were excited to announce this year’s recipients and recognize them for their great work in our community and helping build a stronger Midway. Think about others you know who help make our neighborhood better and brighten their day by telling them thanks for their contributions.
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