MOUNT VERNON — Business owners and operators lauded the accomplishments of their peers who have made major contributions in revitalizing the downtown during Thursday evening’s Main Street Mount Vernon 2019 Annual Awards Dinner.
The well-attended event was held in the Knox County Memorial Building and featured nearly a dozen categories of awards, with a welcome offered by MSMV board Chair Heather Brayshaw. Master of ceremony duties were handled by Sam Barone of the Knox County Foundation. The evening featured one award — the Taste of Mount Vernon Award — decided by dinner guests themselves, who voted for the different foods on their plates provided by more than a half-dozen food vendors. The taste award winner was Half Baked, a new bakery located on West High Street.
The Large Business of the Year Award went to CES Credit Union, which was accepted by President/CEO Sandy Coffing. CES was formed in 1952 and “we love serving our community,” she said. Also nominated were the Brenneman Lumber Co. and the City of Mount Vernon.
The Mid-Sized Business of the Year Award was received by The Alcove Restaurant, with a chef accepting the award and then heading quickly back to his gourmet cooking duties. The Alcove, which includes a performing arts venue, started out in 1911 as a small ice cream and candy shop. Two others nominated as mid-sized businesses were McDaniel CPA and the Grand Hotel.
The Small Business of the Year Award went to Paragraphs Bookstore, with Manager Lois Hanson accepting the award. Two others nominated in the small category were Happy Bean Coffee and Heartland Promotional Products.
The most prominent award of the night — the Walter Rudin Award, given to a recipient who exemplifies significant positive impact on the downtown and MSMV — was received by Jan Reynolds. Reynolds was a major factor in the creation of the Ariel Foundation in 2009, and a five-minute video tribute was shown in her honor. The video featured speakers discussing Reynolds’ impact with the foundation, including comments from Karen Buchwald Wright and Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis. While she was instrumental in paving the path for philanthropic participation in projects such as the downtown’s Kenyon Wright Center, Reynolds’ interests in community service expanded to such areas as the Shade Tree Planting Project.
The Nonprofit of the Year Award went to the Knox County Landmarks Foundation, which was accepted by Jeff Gottke. The foundation is about preserving, restoring and protecting old structures and believes they are an important part of history worth the effort to keep and renovate. Also nominated were New Directions Shelter and WNZR 90.9 FM.
The Community Pride Award went to the Woodward Development Corp., with project manager Pat Crow describing all the steps necessary, starting back in the 1980s, to bring the historic Woodward Opera House back to life. The venue has celebrated its re-opening within the past year and is now selling out shows. The Foundation Park Conservancy (Ariel-Foundation Park) and Tru Cut Landscaping were also nominated.
The Spirit of Heritage Award went to Lisa Lloyd, project manager of the Knox County Foundation. Others nominated were Jennifer Odenweller and Lori Armstutz.
Awards were also given to Main Street Mount Vernon members with 5, 10, and 20 years of membership. Businesses recognized for 20 years of membership were Brenneman Lumber Co. and Flappers Bar and Grille. Those awarded for 10 years of membership were Annie’s Concessions, Good Impressions LLC, Bruce Hawkins, and MTVarts.
Those awarded for five years of membership were: The Area Development Foundation Inc., Coleman Family Gallery, Food for the Hungry of Knox County, Heartland Promotional Products, HopeNow Furniture Bank, Knox County Landmarks Foundation, OSU Alumni Club of Knox County, Mount Vernon Dental, Shannon Staffing Inc., Simona Moore, CNP LLC, Williams Flower Shop, and the Winter Sanctuary Emergency Homeless Shelter.