More than 100 attended the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event on Wednesday to hear the stories of the five businesses chosen by area municipal boards and councils.
“This is a very special day for this chamber,” said Joy Gaasch, president of the Grand Haven-based Chamber of Commerce. “The municipalities, businesses and entrepreneurs, you're all here because you dared to dream in one way or another.”
This year's awards were presented to:
*Commercial Manufacturing & Assembly (Grand Haven Township)
*Grand Transformers Inc. (City of Grand Haven)
*Active Manufacturing (Spring Lake Township)
*Old Boys' Brewhouse (Village of Spring Lake)
Kevin Donnelly, owner of the family-run Appolonia's at 115 Third St. in Ferrysburg, said he was thrilled with the honor. Donnelly uses pizza recipes passed down from his ancestors.
“Our true mission was to leave a legacy for our kids so they would be part of the community,” he said. “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and it's just great to be recognized.”
Besides the local recognition, the five businesses received honors from the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners and state representatives, who could not be present because they were in legislative session.
County Commissioner Roger Bergman, who presented the county resolution, praised the honored businesses.
“I want to thank them for their contributions to the life we all enjoy in Northwest Ottawa County,” he said.
Gaasch noted that 64 percent of all new jobs are created by small businesses and 44 percent of private payrolls in the United States are in the small-business sector. She credited local businesses for creating many of the amenities enjoyed by Northwest Ottawa County residents — including Rycenga Park, summer concert series in local parks, the boardwalk and lighthouses.
“The list goes on and on,” Gaasch said. “We're an amazing microcosm of how the world should work.”