Business Excellence Awards
The Board of Directors of the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce instituted the Business Excellence Awards to honor member businesses and volunteers. In general, nominees must be members in good standing with the Elk River Area Chamber and have gone above and beyond in some manner. Their business and employees should positively impact the Elk River region and be above reproach professionally, ethically, and responsibly.
General Selection Process: Businesses are encouraged to nominate a business they believe is deserving of the award. You will need to complete a questionnaire about why the business you are nominating should win the award addressing how they have fulfilled the guidelines below. The selection committee will review all nominations and the final selection will be made by the Chamber's Board of Directors. Businesses will be recognized at the Business Excellence Awards program.
In all categories, emphasize how the nominees have contributed to the Chamber's mission of fostering a strong, vibrant business community that benefits the entire region. Their dedication to chamber involvement and positive community impact should shine as their most notable qualities.
The following awards are available:
Business of the Year
This prestigious award recognizes a business that embodies the essence of community collaboration. Nominees should be active, engaged Chamber members who actively contribute to the local community's growth and prosperity. Qualities to consider include:
- Chamber Involvement: The nominee should actively participate in Chamber programs, committees, and events. They should demonstrate a commitment to supporting the Chamber's mission and collaborating with fellow members.
- Community Impact: The business should have a tangible, positive impact on the community. This could be through philanthropic initiatives, job creation, or supporting local causes and organizations.
- Community Leadership: Recognize businesses that actively lead community projects, mentor emerging entrepreneurs, or provide resources for community development.
There will be both a Small Business of the Year (under 50 employees) and a Large Business of the Year (over 50 employees).
New Business of the Year
This award celebrates the contribution of new businesses to the community and their engagement with the Chamber. Business should be new to the Elk River area and in business here less than 5 years. Key attributes to consider include:
- Chamber Integration: Nominees should have quickly become active Chamber members, participating in events and committees to build relationships within the local business community.
- Adaptability: Highlight businesses that have demonstrated resilience and adaptability, contributing positively to the local economy.
- Community Support: Recognize businesses that have integrated themselves into the community fabric, showing support through local sourcing, partnerships, or outreach initiatives.
Employer of the Year
This category celebrates businesses that go above and beyond in creating a supportive and nurturing work environment while also actively engaging with the Chamber and the community. Qualities to look for include:
- Employee-Centric: Nominees should prioritize employee well-being, growth, and development. This can include offering benefits, flexible work arrangements, and fostering a positive workplace culture.
- Chamber Engagement: The employer should be actively involved in Chamber activities and programs, leadership opportunities, or efforts that benefit the local workforce.
- Community Investment: Recognize businesses that invest in the community beyond their products or services, whether through volunteer work, charitable donations, or partnerships with local nonprofits.
Young Professional of the Year
This category acknowledges the outstanding contributions of a young professional to both the Chamber and the community. Look for qualities such as:
- Chamber Involvement: The nominee should be an engaged Chamber member who actively participates in networking, mentoring, or advocacy efforts.
- Leadership: Highlight individuals who have demonstrated leadership potential, either within their own organization or through community initiatives.
- Community Engagement: Recognize those who have a positive impact on the community through volunteer work, advocacy, or other meaningful contributions.
- Vision and Innovation: Consider young professionals who bring fresh ideas and innovation to the Chamber and the broader business community.
Business Excellence Awards Past Winners
Employer of the Year ~ Cornerstone Auto Group
This category celebrates businesses that go above and beyond in creating a supportive and nurturing work environment while also actively engaging with the Chamber and the community.
They prioritize employee well-being. They offer free health plans, subsidizing health, and dental premiums, and consider various factors, including physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual aspects when making decisions. Their Continuous Performance Development program and free online college education exemplify their dedication to personal and professional growth.
New Business of the Year ~ Edge Bar + Boutique
This award is aimed at companies that have been in business for less than five years and celebrates the contribution of new businesses to the community and their engagement with the Chamber including Chamber Integration, Adaptability and Community Support.
Opening its doors in the fall of 2022 Edge Bar + Boutique has quickly become an integral part of Downtown Elk River. This establishment combines the best of a coffee shop, a boutique, and a meeting place, offering an outstanding vibe, delectable coffee and food, and a well-curated selection of clothing and gifts.
Large Business of the Year ~ 101 Market
This award is to recognize an organization that has been in business for at least five years and recognizes a business that actively contributes to the local community's growth and prosperity fit this category.
For 26 years, the Nathe family's 101 Market has been a pillar of the Otsego community, offering seasonal excellence. Their community impact is evident in their support of local farmers, providing fresh Minnesota-grown produce, and sourcing from local flower farms for their Petals to Pines Floral department.
Small Business of the Year ~ Star News
This award is to recognize an organization that has been in business for at least five years and recognizes a business that embodies the essence of community collaboration, as an active, engaged Chamber member.
They are being recognized for their emphasizes on the power of partnerships and community involvement and supported local businesses need for information with great local coverage.
Young Professional of the Year ~ Dexter Hanson, Central Minnesota Mental Health Center
This award will recognize an employee or business owner that is under the age of 40 as of September 1, 2023 and
- serves as a role model for other young professionals both personally and professionally.
- is an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in his/her business or profession
- volunteers through organizations within the area that work to improve the community
Dexter Hanson is a Community Engagement Specialist at CMMHC and is passionate about helping people. With a background in building relationships and nine years of experience, Dexter has worked on diverse projects ranging from volunteering with collaborative community-building efforts to raising awareness about mental and chemical health stigmas.