Merrill Chamber announces 2019 Businesses of the Year
MERRILL, WI – The Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce presented their 2019 Businesses of the Year awards at their 109th gathering of their members on Thursday, Oct. 10.
Each year the Chamber’s member/investors can nominate businesses in five categories and then vote for their favorite in each category.
The categories and nominees for the 2019 Large Business of the Year were: Weinbrenner Shoe Company, Merrill Area Public Schools, Park City Credit Union, Lincoln Wood Products, Wisconsin Public Service, Church Mutual Insurance, Northern Wire and NorthCentral Technical College. And the winner was Weinbrenner Shoe Company based on their longevity in Merrill, corporate giving, product being manufactured and their above and beyond partnership with Merrill High School; allowing students to make their own boots last year for a hands-on experience.Accepting the award was Jeff Burns, President of the company. Chamber staff also re-presented the award the next day at the company in front of all Weinbrenner staff because it was their award.
2019 Mid-sized Business of the Year nominees were: Merrill Tool & Water Jet, Brickner’s Park City and Reindl Printing. And the winner was Merrill Tool & Water Jet based on all the great things they manufacturer (they do all the metal cutting for Sawmill Brewery), they are an underrated business in the community who set record breaking numbers in 2019. Accepting the award was Lee Osphal, owner of the company.
2019 Small Business of the Year nominees were: Breaman Merrill Ford, Merrill AmericInn, Merrill Community Bank, Precision Manufacturing, Kwik Trip, Lora Bladow Re/Maxx, Urban Construction and Los Mezcales. And the winner was Merrill Community Bank based on being a longstanding booster of many projects/events in Merrill, donating a portion of their property for the Pocket Park Banker’s Square and donating to the mural project located on the wall behind their building.
2019 Hometown Business of the Year nominees were: Serce-2-Sisu Fitness & Movement, Dynamo Creative, Courtside Furniture, Geiss Meat Service, First Street Coffee, BlueJay Radio, Ana Blair’s Boutique, RTL Electric, and Westside Market. And the winner was Geiss Meat Service based on being a small, multi-generational, family business who constantly wins awards for their meat products.
Accepting the award was co-owner Andy Geiss.
2019 Non-Profit /Volunteer Organization of Year nominees were: Haven, Merrill Ice Draggers, Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, Merrill Optimist Club, O’Tannenbaum Tour, Merrill Fire Fighter Charities, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Lincoln County Fair Association. And the winner was Merrill Optimist Club, based on the kids programming they sponsor throughout the year from their profits from the Cheese Curd Stand and for a great effort put forth to erect the new Accessible Playground at Normal Park, which just opened. Accepting the award was Kurt Rust, President of the Club.
The sixth award presented that evening was for 2019 Ambassador of Year. The Chamber’s Ambassadors are a great group of folks, whose employers allow them time during their workday to make visits and calls to fellow members to see how things are going, ask if we can do anything for them and twice a year collect raffle prizes. And of course, they are the smiling faces at every ribbon cutting congratulating and welcoming new businesses to the area. Ambassadors are busy representing not only their businesses but also the chamber, but each year at least one Ambassador soars to the top and this year was no different. The recipient this year was Sarah Strum from Park City Credit Union. Kurt Rust, Chair of the Ambassadors presented the award.
Other speakers for the evening event included Zach Kubichek, co-owner/General Manager of The Sawmill Brewing Company giving the Business Perspective of the chamber and community as the winner of last years Hometown Business of the Year. And Jeff Schneider, 2019 Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors who spoke about all the partnerships and connectivity that joins the chamber, businesses, government and community together as one solid voice of business. And Debbe Kinsey, President/CEO of the chamber who spoke about all the programs and strategic planning that has taken place in 2019. She stated, “ it is the Circles of Influence we create for ourselves and linkages we make bringing businesses, government, schools and others together to share and make connections that will keep Merrill moving forward in a positive direction.”
Kinsey also welcomed the new member/investors this year: Ana Blair’s Boutique, Merrill Tool & Water Jet, Koblitz Law, Marco, Elite Carriers, The 107 Bait Shack, Rosebud Yoga Studio, Nichols Farm, Merrill Community Theater, The Dugout and Riversbend Realty Group. The Chamber is one of the oldest in the state, established in 1911. They not only offer a full array of Chamber of Commerce programs, they also operate a Foundation that covers numerous organizations as non-profit entities and the Tourism Administrator for the City of Merrill.
For more information, please contact the Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce via telephone at 715-536-9474, visit their website www.merrillchamber.org or see them on Face Book under MerrillChamber.