The Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Boyne community to its annual meeting from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday Jan. 22 in the Boyne Mountain Civic Center.
Expect to try a variety of food, enjoy an awards ceremony and welcome new office-holders while mingling with hundreds of other attendees during the event.
“We usually sell about 300 tickets to the event—it’s a pretty big deal and a lot of fun,” said Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Baumann. “I think the awards has made it more intriguing for people to attend to see who’s going to be honored this year…. It’s not chosen by the board or by the staff of the chamber, it’s voted on by the whole community, so that makes it interesting.”
Awards to be given this year include the Business Leadership, Community Pride, Entrepreneur of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year awards.
“I think there have always been awards of some kind but we’ve expanded in recent years,” Baumann said. “We have added an entrepreneur of the year, a young entrepreneur of the year, in the past we’ve had a volunteer of the year and a leadership award that has been known in recent years as the Sally Roselli Award… Sally was a former president of our board and she died. She was a business owner and she died of cancer, and so they named the leadership award after her.”
The event is open to all members of the community. Over 200 people have purchased tickets to attend the event and 18 businesses have sponsored tables.
“I think (the event) calls attention to the good things that business and civic leaders have done in the past year,” Baumann said. “It’s always a very upbeat and positive event and we think that’s good for the chamber and the community.”
All nominations for awards are as follows, courtesy of the Chamber:
Sally Roselli Business
Leadership Award finalists
• Michelle Cortright, the long-time downtown business woman who owns Harbor House Publishers, is a non-stop promoter or our community. She serves on the boards of the Boyne City Main Street Program, The Economic Development Commission, Evangeline Township and Charlevoix County Community Foundation.
• Leslie Neilson of inspired living has steadily built one business and has started building a second, been active in community organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and Child Study Club, actively promoted downtown events and activities in her store and in her e-mails, offered ideas to other area businesses aimed at growing their businesses and promoting customer loyalty, and made her customers feel personally valued rather than just a possible sale walking through the door.
• Tony Williams and Robin Lee Berry of Freshwater Studio put in long hours keeping their business open year-round. Their concert series has brought nationally-known talent to Boyne City. They are active in many civic events including the Mushroom Festival and SOBO Arts Festival. They are great ambassadors for the Boyne area – welcoming, full of information, enthusiastic about all Boyne has to offer.
• Family Fare invested $3.5 million to give their store a major face-lift to offer Boyne City a first-class grocery store. They are always there with a generous food contribution when Boyne City has a city-wide event like Community Christmas, Buff up Boyne or the Star Spangled Banner event.
Community Pride Award
For a local organization or non-profit:
• Lake Charlevoix Association works to protect our lake, eliminate phragmites, and brings homeowners and governments around the lake together to protect our most valuable resource. It is the single most active group protecting Lake Charlevoix, which is so critical to the Boyne area economy, business climate and recreation.
• Friends of the Boyne River planned, secured grant funding and implemented the new Boyne River Nature Area, which includes a hiking trail, boardwalks across swampy areas and a rain garden to prevent erosion.
• Ridge Run Dog Park Committee researched sites and best practices, found an ideal city-owned area on the north end of Boyne City, and raised more than $30,000 in private funds and donated services to make a dog park happen – all in just a few months. Now a regional attraction, the dog park is a great place for our canine buddies to play and for residents to get to know one another.
• Boyne Thunder Committee – Over the last 10 years this committee, through organizing and managing this July event, has raised more than $300,000 for Camp Quality and more recently Challenge Mountain. Boyne Thunder has become the third largest boating poker run in the nation and one of the greatest summer tourism events in Northern Michigan.
Entrepreneur of the Year
For starting or expanding
a business venture this year:
• Leslie Neilson for opening a premier yoga studio, balanced living, in addition to her long-time inspired living store. She has also introduced spinning and self-defense classes to benefit our community. Leslie’s marketing finesse has made this a thriving studio and brings much health and fitness to our city. She has great vision, creativity, and persistence.
• Jeff and Angie Marshall spent two years restoring and remodeling the building before the long-dormant Pied Piper Skatery in Walloon Lake returned to life this past August. People can now rent a pair of quad skates and roll around in a historic log building that was built from Northern Michigan trees in 1935. They maintain a clean, fun, family-friendly atmosphere with special events like 80’s Nights and Skating With Santa.
• Jack Laurent and the Grain Train – After many months of study and thorough research, the Grain Train chose Boyne City as the first location to open a new store. This gives us one more option for groceries, especially for those people who have been traveling to Petoskey for natural or organic foods.
• Chris and Sandy Nelson took the long-neglected and closed bowling alley and brought it back to life as BC Lanes, located next to their highly successful BC Pizza. They have done a wonderful job of remodeling the building and bringing more entertainment and recreation to Boyne City.
• Barbara Green and Janet DiPirro opened Dogs World North, which provides reasonably-priced doggie day care, overnight boarding, training and grooming – all under one roof on Lexamar Drive in the Boyne City Business Park. Overnight boarding, especially, filled a void, so it is no longer necessary for Boyne area residents to drive miles away for this service.
Ongoing contributions to the community by a long-time business leader
• Ed Grice, general manager of Boyne Mountain Resort, leads a team of 900 people during peak season. His positive leadership, his commitment to excellence and his support for the surrounding area are admirable. Ed encourages his team to become active and involved and support the Boyne Falls and Boyne City communities as volunteers. You can see his active participation on the Chamber Board, at a variety of community events and cooking pierogi at the Boyne Falls Polish Festival.
• Bruce Janssen of The Wood Shop. In business since 1974, he has always been generous with his time and resources. Helping anyone new in the community, often at his own expense, he is an ardent and passionate cheerleader for all things Boyne City whether it be convincing new entrepreneurs to give Boyne a try, helping new business owners to connect with the community or just expounding on the merits of Boyne City with his own new customers.
• Gary Deters and Jeff Wellman of Re/Max Resort Properties have the longest continually operating real estate business in Boyne City. They moved their office to a new location last summer in order to implement major technology upgrades. They were the free carriage ride sponsor during Stroll the Streets and other events. The owners serve on various local boards including the Chamber of Commerce, Boyne Thunder and Team Boyne.
• Brothers Chris and Wayne Nelson opened BC Pizza in Boyne City in 1988 and the business has now expanded to 31 locations. In the past couple of years, Chris and his wife Sandy have purchased and totally remodeled the neighboring bowling alley, which is now known as BC Lanes and is managed by their daughter Shantel Erber. Their philosophy of community support remains a pillar of their success.
Volunteer of the Year Award
• Nancy Cunningham’s patient determination over several years on behalf of the Friends of the Boyne River gave us the new Boyne River Nature Area, which can be accessed from Lexamar Drive in the Boyne City Industrial Park. Nancy found grant funds to construct a hiking trail, complete with boardwalks and an erosion-prevention rain garden.
• Michele Carter was the driving force on the city committee that researched sites and raised $30,000 in private donations (plus more in donated services) to build Boyne City’s Ridge Run Dog Park. The dog park now draws people and their pups from all over Northern Michigan.
• Ward Collins has impacted a variety of causes in the Boyne City community by serving on the board of the Boyne Arts Collective, Boyne Thunder Committee, and most recently helping to lead a citizen-focused initiative to restore fluoride to city water. He assists at Camp Quality functions when needed to help this organization that serves children with cancer.
• Martha Sulfridge led a committee that developed Boyne City’s Walkabout Sculpture Show, which featured three outdoor sculptures in and around downtown Boyne City this past summer. They are just getting started – they now have funding and artists for 8 sculptures next summer.