BY CLYDE R NELSON
Executive Director, Merrill Region Chamber of Commerce
On Thursday, October 14, 2021, the Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual celebration and awards banquet to honor the businesses that have been elected by its 200+ members for their contributions to the Merrill area. This year’s event was held at the Northwoods Veterans Station in the presence of over 150 members, staff and guests. Those in attendance were entertained by Ken Neff, the House Master of Ceremonies.
At this year’s banquet, the Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce honored the 2020 and 2021 winners. The different award categories are based on the number of employees, and the categories range from large companies to larger companies. of 76 employees, to non- Benefit House members.
Here are the winners of the Company of the Year 2020 award:
The Big Business of the Year winner was Merrill Area Public Schools. The list of candidates also included: Church Mutual Insurance, Northcentral Technical College, City of Merrill, Bell Tower Residence and Agra Industries.
The midsize business of the year winner was the Kwik Trip East Main Street location. The list of other nominees included: Reindl Printing, Brickner’s Park City, Park City Credit Union, Mitchell Metal Products, Fabiano Brothers and Ascension [now Aspirus] Good Samaritan Hospital.
The winner of the Small Business of the Year was Lincoln Lanes of Les & Jim. The list of other applicants included: Los Mezcales, Lange Auction Realty and Sawmill Brewing Company.
The Hometown Business of the Year award was presented to two members in 2020. The winners were Ana Blair’s Boutique and Hugo’s Pizza. The list of other nominees included: Courtside Furniture, First Street Coffee Station, The Dugout, Westside Market, Auto Jockeys, Oak Park Dental, NAPA Auto Parts of Merrill and Chips Hamburgers.
The nonprofit company of the year winner was Veterans of Foreign Wars & Auxiliary. The list of other nominees included: HAVEN, Inc., Merrill Area United Way, Merrill Rotary Club, O’Tannenbaum Tour, Holy Cross Sisters USA Province, Merrill Lions Club, Gleason Community Club, Parkside Preschool and River District Development Foundation of Merrill.
Here are the winners of the 2021 Company of the Year award:
The winner of the Big Business of the Year was Weinbrenner Shoe Company. The list of candidates also included: Church Mutual Insurance, Sierra Pacific, Agra Industries, SC Swiderski, Merrill Area Public Schools, Park City Credit Union, Bell Tower Residence, Lincoln Wood Products, Northern Wire, and Wisconsin Public Service Corp.
The midsize business of the year winner was Brickner’s Park City. The list of candidates also included: Dave’s County Market, Reindl Printing, Kwik Trip East Main Street, Ruder Ware and Mitchell Metal Products.
The Small Business of the Year winner was Bob’s West 64. The shortlist also included: Breaman Merrill Ford, AmericInn, Les & Jim’s Lincoln Lanes, Lora Bladow RE / MAX Excel, Los Mezcales, Jokin ‘Joe’s, LLC, Urban Construction Company, Health in motion and VIP office products.
The winner of the Hometown Business of the Year was Sawmill Brewing Company. The list of nominees also included: Merrill Foto News, Bluejay Radio WJMT, Hargrave Appliance Center, Courtside Furniture, Chips Hamburgers, Westside Market, In the Lite Electric, Riverside Athletic Club, Z Best Car Wash, Ziebell’s Door Company, D’s Dogs and Dépanneur from Pine Ridge.
The winner of the nonprofit business of the year was the Lincoln County Fair Association. The list of nominees also included: Big Brothers / Big Sisters of North Central Wisconsin, O’Tannenbaum Tour, Parkside Preschool, Merrill Community Homeless Center, Pine River Fire Department, The Friends of Vincent Foundation, The Salvation Army of Merrill, Merrill Area Farmer’s Market, HAVEN, Inc., Merrill Area United Way, Merrill Youth Softball Association, and Veterans of Foreign Wars & Auxiliary.