Chamber recognizes exemplary businesses

Two second-generation Owensboro businesses were among those honored Friday night at the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce’s annual Chamber Celebration at the River Park.

Andrew Keller and his sister, Karissa Costello, bought Gene’s Health Food from Gene Clark, their grandfather, in 2013 and began enlarging it, adding a wellness center, a food truck and expanding their inventory.

Friday night, Gene’s Health Food was named Small Business of the Year in the 10 or fewer employees category.

In 2016, Jesica Mills and her husband, Danny, bought Don & Daisy’s Pharmacy Plus, the store her parents opened in 1985, and changed the name to Owensboro Family Pharmacy and Wellness.

It was named Emerging Business of the Year on Friday.

Stories about emerging leaders and passed torches were a constant theme Friday night. Outgoing Chamber President and President of Kentucky Wesleyan College Bart Darrell said it is part of what makes the community unique.

“We are blessed to be different,” he said. “I think one of the most common mistakes that people make in any community is that they look at another community and they say, ‘Wow, I wish we had that. I wish we were more like them.’ What that does is it gives you average, and this community is anything but. We are exemplary. So, I would challenge you (to do) this year is think about the things that are unique about us and give us a competitive advantage. If we focus on ourselves, we will be extraordinary.”

Old National Bank, which moved into the Owensboro market 20 years ago, was named Business of the Year in the 11- to 50-employee category and Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, which was created here in 2002, was named Business of the Year in the 51 or more employees category.

O.Z. Tyler Distillery, which began making bourbon here in 2016 for the first time in 24 years, was named Manufacturer of the Year.

Brescia University won the Education and Workforce award and Puzzle Pieces took home top honors among nonprofits.

And Hayden Farms, which has been raising cattle and poultry on Short Station Road since 1983, won the Rick Kamuf Agribusiness Award.

The evening, sponsored by Owensboro Health, began at 6 p.m. with a reception catered by Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn. On a stage covered with balloons, the evening was filled with laughter and even, at times, sadness, as the entire audience gave a standing ovation for C. Waitman Taylor Jr., a former mayor and community leader, who died earlier during the day.

The evening ended with an after-party, sponsored by UniFirst Corp., in the Jody Berry Theatre.

Nominees for the awards

Businesses with 1-10 employees — Aflac Keller & Associates LLC, Compass Counseling of Owensboro LLC, Gene’s Health Food Inc., Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance Gavin C. Roberts Agency, L. Ruth Interior Design, Packages Plus, Peacocks & Pearls and Preservation Station Market & Event Center.

Businesses with 11-50 employees — Champion Ford Lincoln Mazda, Haley-McGinnis Funeral Home & Crematory, J’s Liquor and Cheese Shop, Keller Williams Elite Realty, Old National Bank and Owensboro Family Eye Care.

Business with more than 50 Employees — Don Moore Automotive, Hendrick Screen Company, Jagoe Homes Inc., Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Owensboro PSC, Owensboro Dermatology Associates PSC and Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline Inc.

Education/Workforce Development — Brescia University, Daviess County Cooperative Extension Service and Daviess County Public Library.

Nonprofit — CASA of Ohio Valley, Crossroads Inc., Daniel Pitino Shelter, Hospice of Western Kentucky, Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, Puzzle Pieces, St. Joseph’s Peace Mission for Children and Western Kentucky Botanical Garden.

Emerging Business — All About You Salon & Spa, CYO Brewing, Imperial Lawns, Owensboro Family Pharmacy, Rehabilitation and Performance Institute PSC and Wonder Boy Media.

Manufacturing — Castlen Steel LLC, Kentucky Legend, O.Z. Tyler Distillery, Owensboro Grain, Perdue Foods and Toyotetsu Mid America.

Rick Kamuf Agri-Business Award — Elliot Farms, Estes Farms, Farm Credit Mid-America, Hayden Farms, Hill View Farms Meats LLC, Owensboro Regional Farmers Market, Reid’s Orchard and Trunnell’s Farm Market.

Emerging Business– Owensboro Family Pharmacy,

1-10 employees — Gene’s Health Food

11-50 employees — Old National Bank

51 or more employees — Southern Star

Manufacturing — O.Z. Tyler Distillery

Education and Workforce — Brescia University

Nonprofit — Puzzle Pieces

Rick Kamuf Agribusiness award — Hayden Farms

Chamber Ambassador — Minga Trogdlen, Independence Bank

Leadership Owensboro — Brad Youngman, Daviess County Sheriff’s Department

Chamber Director – Dave Roberts, UniFirst Corporation

CYP Member – Mario Vizuet, Old National Bank

Chamber Member of the Year – Visit Owensboro

Bill Young Community Leadership Award – Tish Correa-Osborne, Girls Inc.

By Keith Lawrence and Austin Ramsey Messenger-Inquirer