Bemidji Area Business Leaders Recognized 15th Annual Awards of Excellence
Many Bemidji area business leaders attended the 15th annual Awards of Excellence held at the Hampton Inn & Suites to celebrate the success of small businesses in the area. This year, the new business of the year went to Stittsworth Meats & Smokehouse, and the Leach Brothers won Entrepreneur of the Year.
“It’s nice to have everybody here in the room and see some of the business owners that are out here; it’s just kind of nice to appreciate all the work that everyone’s done and it’s cool to have everybody together,” restaurant co-owner Brett Leach said.
“It’s a cool event, too, that it’s not just about the awards – the speaker was really good, I thought he added some impactful notes,” restaurant co-owner Derek Leach said.
“It’s been a long road to get to this point, and having your peers recognize you is awesome,” Stittsworth Meats CEO Mychal Stittsworth said.
Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deb Pfaff said Stittsworth Meats won New Business of the Year for their innovative concept in bringing true farm to table experience.
“They are doing something that’s absolutely revolutionary not only for our area, but across the country. It’s nice to see that kind of ingenuity right here in Bemidji,” Pfaff said.
There are five award categories, and the Community Impact-Nonprofit of the Year is their newest category that was added this year. Pfaff says it was exciting that there was a tie between two nominations…The Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area and Sanford Health.
“There’s so much giving and care in this community that it’s exciting when we could recognize two very worthy businesses for all that they do for the community,” Pfaff said.
Pfaff said this year there was exceptional nominees, and that it’s not an easy task for the committee to pick award winners.
Awards of Excellence Winners:
- Healthy Workplace of the Year: Knife River Materials
- Business of the Year: Lueken’s Village Foods
- Entrepreneur of the Year: Leach Brothers Group
- New Business of the Year: Stittsworth MSU & Smokehouse
- Community Impact-Nonprofit of the Year: Sanford Health & Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area