Ten businesses were honored during the fourth annual Outstanding Businesses awards, presented by Clatsop Economic Development Resources.
Kevin Leahy, executive director of CEDR and the Small Business Development Center, announced the winners at the March 16 event. Businesses were chosen from a pool of nominees put forward by other businesses. The 2016 event had the most nominations ever, Leahy said, with more than 40.
“You could feel the excitement in the room, everybody speaks from the heart, that’s the key to this whole thing. To me it’s the best day of my day job in the whole years is to be awarding these,” Leahy said.
Before the awards were handed out to business owners, a surprise award was given to Skip Hauke, co-founder of CEDR and a previous CEDR president, honoring his service to CEDR and Clatsop County as a whole.
A representative of Gov. Kate Brown read a statement from the governor congratulating Hauke on his years of service and wishing him well.
State Sen. Betsy Johnson was at the event, and read her own praise of Hauke, hailing Hauke’s efforts in starting CEDR to include both private and public sector representatives in the group. That model has been adopted statewide, she said.
“Early on, Skip saw the need for a combined county wide economic development effort. At that point in time...there were 20 independent economic development organizations accomplishing not a whole lot,” Johnson said.
To remedy that, Hauke garnered funds from Clatsop County and partnered with the community college to start CEDR, she said.
Upon accepting the award, Hauke pointed out its importance in identifying the accomplishments of CEDR as a whole.
“I think the best thing about it is it recognizes CEDR and what CEDR has accomplished, and we have... become a model for the state... and our numbers prove that we’re doing the right thing,” he said.
The first award of the night, for Entrepreneurship in a small business, went to La Luna Loca.
“This award is also a representation of the people behind our success, the people that work with me and the people that spend their hard-earned dollars in our store for things that may not be the cheapest, but are made the best way possible,” owner Kathy Kleczek said.
Following Kleczek, the award for Outstanding Customer Service for a small business was given to Kevin and Lisa Malcom, owners of ice cream and french fry shop Frite & Scoop.
Kelly Truax, owner of Bruce’s Candy Kitchen, took the award for Business Service to the Community for a small business. The more than 50-year-old Cannon Beach and Seaside staple was granted the award for its efforts in the community, including donating candy for events like Easter egg hunts.
“We just give because we can, and it’s a blessing that we’re able to do that,” Truax said.
Owners of Airport Crabpot Company, Vern and Lisa Lamping, accepted the award for Technological and Manufacturing advancement. The Lampings’ use a patented method to weave the crab pots, and saw a jump in order from 50 a year to more than 800 from Costco and other businesses. That jump in demand led them to develop a new, more efficient method for protecting the pots from corrosion that allowed more equipment to be shipped.
The award for Entrepreneurship in a medium business went to Micha and Jennifer Cameron-Lattek, owners of Street 14 Cafe in Astoria. The business has expanded both in space and offerings, growing to include a neighboring storefront and adding lunch and dinner offerings to its menu.
General manager Wendy Higgins accepted the award for Outstanding Customer Service in a large business on behalf of The Ocean Lodge in Cannon Beach. Higgins described working with her staff to foster an endeavor to go beyond expectations for customer service.
“One of my goals is, when we have employees, that when they leave us, they leave better than they came to us,” Higgins said.
The Astoria-Warrenton KOA was awarded the Business Service to the Community for a large business, in part thanks to the site’s keeping its pool open for seniors through the winter months and the community events it hosts throughout the year. Dale Brechlin, manager of the Astoria-Warrenton site, commented on the community focus he finds important. That focus includes offering free camping or lodging to local scout groups, he said.
Cliff Tuttle, manager of the Warrenton Hampton Lumber Mill, accepted the award for Entrepreneurship in a large business on behalf of the mill. The business employees nearly 150 full-time employees, and has a focus on keeping their workers involved in the community, Tuttle said.
P&L Johnson Mechanical won the award for Job Creation — during 2015 the company saw a 20 percent increase in number of employees. Paul Radu accepted the award and, during his speech, emphasized the company’s dedication to educating its employees. That dedication helps to attract workers to the area, Radu said.
The final award of the night, Economic Impact, went to Bornstein Seafoods. The seafood business has an estimated local impact of at least $105 million, Leahy said. Andrew Bornstein accepted the award for the business.
“The fish industry is about peaks and valleys and we’re in it for the long haul,” Bornstein said. “We’re growing and we love being a part of this community, and we love to try to find ways to do it in a different way.”
Entrepreneurship — Small Business: La Luna Loca
Customer Service — Small Business: Frite & Scoop
Business Service to the Community — Small Business: Bruce’s Candy Kitchen
Technology/Manufacturing Advancement: Airport Crabpot Company
Entrepreneurship — Medium Business: Street 14 Café
Customer Service — Large Business: The Ocean Lodge in Cannon Beach
Business Service to the Community — Large Business: Astoria-Warrenton KOA
Entrepreneurship — Large Business: Hampton Lumber Mill
Job Creation: P&L Johnson Mechanical Inc.
Economic Impact: Bornstein Seafoods