Music has the Grammys. Movies have the Oscars. And small businesses in Warren County...well, they have the Business Excellence : Business Appreciation Awards.
Announced Tuesday, the 2013 award winners: Liberty Tax Service, The Kiln Doctor and Culligan, were selected from a dozen candidates to receive the distinction, a plaque and cash grants. Next week, Liberty Tax Service will be given a $500 grant, The Kiln Doctor a $700 grant and Culligan a $1,000 grant.
A four-person committee composed of Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce President Niki Foster, Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chairwoman Patricia Wines, EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and EDA Director of Business Development Marla Taylor Jones chose the winners. Jones said that the committee had put a notice out in radio spots, press releases and on its website four to six weeks ago.
She added that before the Excellence Awards, they had celebrated Virginia Business Appreciation Week by inviting local business members to a luncheon. But when many of the invitees couldn't take a couple hours off from working at their businesses, the committee decided to pool its money from the luncheon and dedicate it -- with support from the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative -- to the grants. This is the third year the awards have been given.
To be eligible for the award, the businesses must be located in Front Royal or Warren County, have fewer than 500 employees and fill out an application describing what types of community service they're engaged in and what they would use the money for.
In past years, the winners have used the grants for much-needed expenses. Main Street Daily Grind used the money to buy an espresso machine. Loving Arms, an assisted living community, purchased supplies for painting classes for its seniors. The Front Royal design studio, Linking You, used the grants for design software. And Royal Broadcasting, which relays local football and basketball games including those from Shenandoah University, bought network broadcasting equipment.
"The quality definitely improved after that," Jones said, referring to its sports broadcasts. "I think it's a very useful way to celebrate Business Appreciation Week."
Jones said that Liberty Tax Service intends to give its office a facelift with painting and new carpeting, Culligan is looking to update its forklift and The Kiln Doctor is going to fund its supplies, workshops and demonstrations for school programs and local potters.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org