By Ryan Cornell
The Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority has announced the start of the application process for its fourth annual Business Excellence: Business Appreciation Awards competition.
The awards, presented during Virginia Business Appreciation Week from June 2-6, are cash grants given to three local small businesses that exhibit excellence in business practices and contributions to the community.
Marla Taylor Jones, director of business development for the EDA, said winners are chosen from about 10 to 20 applicants by a panel of EDA staff and board members and the Chamber president.
"We're looking for good, solid businesses that have been successful for a few years and that also volunteer to do some community service as well," she said.
"A lot of times, these business owners and entrepreneurs just need a little bit of money to get over the hump, or to purchase new equipment."
Last year's grants were awarded to Culligan of Front Royal, The Kiln Doctor and Liberty Tax Service.
Culligan owner Arnold Williams received a $1,000 grant award, which was used to repair his business' broken forklift.
"We just saw [the award] was out there and we said, 'Let's try, you never know what could happen,'" he said.
He described the repair as a "nothing spectacular, but very feasible" improvement that has certainly helped his small business.
"It's used every day," he said. "It's very useful. I would hate to lift 2,400 pounds of softener salt with my hands."
The Kiln Doctor used its $700 grant to expand school services, and Liberty Tax Service used its $500 grant to refresh its offices.
Small business owners or operators licensed in the Town of Front Royal or Warren County that have fewer than 500 employees are eligible to apply for the grants.
Applications are due at the EDA offices no later than 5 p.m. June 2.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org