By Dennis Volkert
Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual dinner and awards ceremony Nov. 9 at Sturges-Young Center for the Arts.
This is the 100th year of Sturgis chamber of commerce.
The ceremony included presentation of awards, recognition of outgoing board members, a welcome to new chamber members and a message from board president Tom Bontrager of Locey CPA.
Also featured were segments from master of ceremonies Tom Duke, one a historic look-back at 1923, including both local and world events; and a humor-laced vision-of-the-future segment, “Top Stories of 2123.”
Partial list of awards and nominees for the 2023 ceremony:
Community Service Award: Gabe Alvez, Southern Michigan Bank & Trust.
Ambassador of the Year: Misti Gardner, Farmers State Bank. Recipient is chosen by peers on Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors.
Phoenix Award: The Parlor (co-owners Rita and Gabe Taylor). Also nominated: Thurston Woods Village (CEO Tim Still) and Southern Michigan Bank & Trust (SVP: Matt Moses, VP Loan Commercial Loan Officer: Gabe Alvez, VP Retail Business Development Manager: Tina Cronkhite)
Customer Service Award: Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders (co-owners: Kara and Greg Williams). Also nominated: El Taco Loco (co-owners Daniel and Noemi Lopez) and Willer’s Shoes (co-owners Todd Maynard and Elizabeth Denman).
Outstanding President Award: Bret Hamlin.
Chamber Participation Award: Scott Leonard, American Legion post 76.
Also at the ceremony, Kari Hatt, executive director of SACC, announced “Sturgis Fest” 2024 will have a Disney theme.