The Canal Winchester Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated the business community's 2012 successes at its annual awards dinner and business expo March 15.
Approximately 125 people attended the event at the Links at Groveport, according to chamber Executive Eirector Amanda Lemke, with 15 area businesses promoting their offerings during the business expo.
"It was an absolutely wonderful event," Lemke said. "This was a celebration to honor our members' commitment to local business growth and economic development as well as honoring our business of the year, businessperson of the year and pillar of the community award-winners."
Lemke said the chamber also had a surprise thank-you for its volunteers, presenting them with awards during the opening ceremony.
"We wanted to thank our many dedicated members who volunteered throughout the year," she said. "Our association is stronger because of them and the relationships and connections they've developed with other members.
"One was our mayor, Michael Ebert. A World War II veteran contacted us wanting to make sure Ebert was recognized for his civic leadership related to the 25 WWII veterans honored in last year's Labor Day parade."
The three major annual awards are based on nominations collected from community and chamber members in January and February for the preceding year, and then voted on by four judges designated by the chamber.
Lemke said this year's Business of the Year is Storage One, with locations in Canal Winchester, Pickerington and Whitehall, for excellent customer service and outstanding management. Lemke said the company acted as an advocate for a better business community and promoted community involvement.
The Businessperson of the Year Award went to Kerri Beany Foulks of Beany's Auto Service Center, for outstanding customer service, work quality and ethics along with significant contributions to the chamber and community.
Joe Bitler of Bolenbaugh Hardware was named Pillar of the Community. Lemke said the award was presented to Bitler because of his history of service to the community through individual efforts, unselfishly giving of his time and talents to benefit the community and showing outstanding character, citizenship, civic leadership and ethics.
"We're thankful for the commitment these people have made to our community and to the chamber and we're looking forward to tremendous business growth here during 2013," Lemke said. "To continue that growth, we're offering a new young-professionals networking group and a monthly series of business-builder workshops, dedicated to bringing education to local businesses which will assist them in strategically planning and creating a more engaged workforce."
The next workshop is scheduled from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. March 21 at the Canal Winchester Community Center; the topic will be pursuing government contracts.