Approximately 200 Geneseo business owners and civic leaders attended the 2020 Geneseo Chamber of Commerce annual dinner on Thursday, March 5, at Lavender Crest Winery, Colona.
Comedian Bobby Ray Bunch entertained the guests prior to Geneseo Chamber Executive Director Zack Sullivan singing a song to the crowd, citing he wanted to show something Chamber membership had never seen before.
He said, “Geneseo is a proud community. We help each other out and look out for each other. It takes a lot of collective hard work to have what we have. The fact that Geneseo is bucking so many economic trends that the rest of Illinois faces today shows that our hard work is paying off, and our hard work is being noticed by surrounding areas.”
Awards were presented at the event and nominations for the awards were based on criteria set by Chamber membership in addition to a public survey with the annual Chamber dinner committee having the final say on nominations.
The awards:
-Business of the Year –Jerrod Minnaert, Geneseo Brewing Company. The award recognizes the business as a whole –not an individual. Attributes considered for this award may include achievement, outstanding citizenship, leadership, dedication, motivation, strong community involvement, ambassadorship of Geneseo and long-term business success.
-Business Person of the Year – Amy DeFauw, Katsch Boutique. Recipient must be an owner, CEO, president, manager or top leader and qualities considered are achievement, outstanding citizenship, leadership, dedication, motivation, strong community involvement and long-term business success.
-Beautification Award – Amy Balensiefen, Central Schoolhouse. Nominations may be for a business remodel, renovation or new construction. Must include exterior alterations and may also include interior alterations and the project must have been completed within the last 36 months.
-Rising Star Award – Bethany Winkleman, Bethany Winkleman – Start Farm Insurance Agency. Recipient must be an owner, CEO, president or manager of a business open for five years or less. Attributes include forward-thinking strategies, strong community involvement, and demonstration of strong qualities of leadership. This nominee has made a positive difference in the business community within a short period of time.
-Landmark Award – Andy Thurman, Geneseo Park District executive director. Criteria for nomination includes Chamber board members who have demonstrated commitment to the mission of the Chamber by serving in executive leadership roles, long-time Chamber volunteers, and /or those who have been instrumental in the creation and success of a community event.
-Volunteer of the Year Awards – Geneseo High School students Halle Houston and Olivia Johnson – GHS Silver Cord Volunteer Program. Their volunteer hours include having helped at numerous Chamber events.