For the two biggest winners of the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual awards, the recognition comes as a nod to an entire workforce, not just their leaders.

For the two biggest winners of the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual awards, the recognition comes as a nod to an entire workforce, not just their leaders.

The chamber announced the annual award-winners last month, with Westerville Public Library executive director Don Barlow taking the Business Person of the Year award and Goldfish Swim School owner Lisa Armitage named Young Business Person of the Year.

Both said they were "honored" by the awards, but deflected praise to their coworkers.

"I feel pretty strongly that nobody accomplishes things by themselves," Barlow said. "Certainly, the library staff and library board were a big part of this."

Goldfish Swim School opened in April, and for Armitage, the award represented a successful first year in Westerville.

"I feel like it wasn't just recognition for me, but really for our entire team's success," she said. "It feels like it's recognition of the hard work we've all put into everything we've done at both locations (Westerville and Dublin)."

But both recipients admitted to being thrilled about the awards.

"I was very excited about it," Barlow said. "Obviously, you think you do a great job, but it's nice to get recognition from people that you have a great amount of respect for, especially people you've lived and worked with for 20 years."

Armitage doesn't have 20 years in Westerville under her belt, but said she "literally squealed" when she heard she had won. She said the award means a lot to a company that tries to be an integral part of its surroundings.

"We really enjoy being such a big part of the community," she said. "Being recognized by my peers and others in the community is very important to us. We put so much effort into really making sure we're investing in the community and giving back and that we're a presence."

The chamber also named two businesses of the year, with Northstar Family Dental picking up the award for fewer than 50 employees and Roush Honda receiving the award for more than 50 employees.

The honorees will be recognized at the chamber's annual meeting and awards dinner, set for 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center, 100 Green Meadows Drive S. Darren Malhame, co-owner of Northstar Cafe, will speak.

Cost is $40 per person, $50 nonmembers and $320 for a table for eight.

For more information call 614-882-8917 or visit westervillechamber.com.

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