The envelope please …

Published on: January 2, 2019

Riverview readies to honor businesses of year

By KEVIN BRADY

Riverview Chamber of Commerce provided photoS
Finalists in the Large Business Category (over 20 employees): The Alley At SouthShore, Shapes Fitness for Women – Riverview and FirstLight Home Care.

It’s the Oscars of the Riverview business world, and hundreds of guests will be decked out for the red carpet Jan. 11 when the winners are announced at the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards at The Regent. 

“It’s wonderful. I’m floating on air,” said Donna Fore of P.F. Auto Glass, Inc., nominated in the small business category. An anonymous friend nominated Fore’s company for the award. “I didn’t expect to be in the top three so it’s awesome. To be nominated by a peer is awesome. I was blown away. I feel like I am already a winner. I just cannot believe it happened. Win or lose (and she doesn’t expect to win, she said) I’ve already won.”

With 63 nominees this year, the job of the judges was not easy. The panel included two chamber board members, (Chamber President Michelle Mosher and President-Elect Mike Jones), two previous award winners (Cheryl Saxe and Jill Andrew) and one community leader, (Corey McCaster of the Small Business Development Center).

“I think it’s an honor (for the nominated businesses) that you are held in that high esteem. That someone in our community felt that you deserve this honor,” said Tanya Doran, the chamber’s executive director.

“It was pretty tough to judge,” said Cheryl Saxe, co-owner of Coastal Catering. “There were a lot of great applicants, and in the end it came down who had the best fit for all the categories. There were a lot of great qualifiers, and I am sure they all deserve (to win). Unfortunately there can only be one winner for each category.”

Finalists in the Medium Business Category (up to 20 employees): Brandon Family Law Center, Bryan Hindman Electric and Mary & Martha House.

Each entrant must be in business for a minimum of three years to be considered for the award with points based on growth, leadership, community involvement, chamber support, successes in the past 12 months and impact to the greater Riverview community.

A winner in last year’s Small Business Category, Saxe said the awards have a special significance because they come from the community she serves. “Most important (to me) is that we were acknowledged by the community we are in and love,” said Saxe who helped found the catering firm in 2011. 

A former Riverview Chamber president, board member and treasurer, Fore has seen the chamber grow in leaps and bounds over the last decade. “I joined in 2008, and we had about 30 members but now there are (hundreds). I went through (the recession) in 2008 and 2009 and I don’t think I would have survived without (the chamber). These are my family and friends,” said Fore, who has been in business for 24 years.

From a membership base that could comfortably meet at Denny’s a decade ago and was dwarfed by neighboring chambers, the Greater Riverview Chamber had 708 members as of last week. 

“We still have that small-town feel, but the community is certainly growing, and our numbers reflect that,” Doran said. “But (the members) are not just numbers to us; we have a relationship with them. One thing we are very proud of here is that each and every member matters, and we have a relationship with them.”

Finalists in the Small Business Category (five employees or fewer): P.F. Auto Glass, Inc.; Preservation 1st Financial Group, LLC and Thatcher Properties.

This year’s finalists are: 

Organizations with five or fewer employees:

  • P.F. Auto Glass, Inc.
  • Preservation 1st Financial Group, LLC
  • Thatcher Properties

Organizations with up to 20 employees:

  • Brandon Family Law Center
  • Bryan Hindman Electric
  • Mary & Martha House

Organizations with over 20 employees:

  • FirstLight Home Care
  • Shapes Fitness for Women – Riverview
  • The Alley At SouthShore

The awards dinner is set for Friday, Jan. 11, at The Regent in Riverview. The awards ceremony will also include the installation of the chamber’s 2019 Board of Directors.

Contact the chamber office, 813-234-5944, for more information. The chamber recently moved to a new home, 10101 Bloomingdale Ave., Suite 102, Riverview, FL 33578. The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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