McHENRY – Gary Lang Auto Group was named Business of the Year at the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce's Red Carpet Awards luncheon Wednesday.
The inaugural event was held at 31 North Banquet & Conference Center, 217 N. Front St., McHenry.
According to chamber Executive Director Kay Rial Bates, the luncheon acknowledges chamber members for their diligence, leadership and service to their customers, employees and their communities.
She said 100 businesses were nominated for the awards in 10 categories.
Accepting the award for Gary Lang Auto Group was sales consultant Tony Feucht.
"This is a great event," Feucht said. "It's good to see local businesses supporting each other. All the companies here are deserving of the recognition they received."
Runners-up for Business of the Year were Home State Bank and River Place Luxury Residences.
Kim Loewe, owner of Kiera's Confections, received the Red Carpet Award for Top Young Professional. "My mom will be super excited when I get back to the shop," Loewe said. "She'll probably start crying."
Loewe opened for business two and a half years ago. The shop is named after her daughter, Kiera, 7. Her husband is Allen.
Runners-up for Top Young Professional were Giuseppe Veneziano of BMO Harris Bank, and Adam Diamond of Diamond & LeSueur PC.
Receiving the Swan Award – for taking an ugly duckling building and turning it into a swan – was the McHenry Public Library, edging out 31 North Banquet & Conference Center and Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois.
Library President Frank Marasco said a former warehouse was converted into the library's home in 1995. Two years ago, the library spent $1.8 million without referendum for remodeling. "We turned a sow's ear into a silk purse," Marasco said.
Other winners were:
• Retailer of the Year: (Tie) Performance Unlimited and Steffan’s Jewelers. Runner-up was Meijer.
• Best New Start-Up of the Year: Epic Bicycle and Fitness. Runners-up were 3GM Consulting and Schwab Property Solutions.
• Excellence in Customer Service: 1st Impression Marketing Solutions. Runners-up were A Better Water Treatment Co. and Brunch Café.
• Most Innovative Marketing Program: Letizia Financial Group. Runners-up were Alden’s Kennels and Prosperity Training.
• Referral Group or Service Organization Giving Back: Rotary Club of McHenry. Runners-up were GiGi’s Playhouse and MC3 Referral Group.
• Small Office Home Office: Palmarium Home Inspection Services. Runners-up were Any Key Computer Services and Frank Hosticka’s LegalShield.
• The Rotary Club of McHenry Sunrise's Community Service and Ethics Award: Vicki Nielsen of McHenry Financial. Runners-up were Paul Letizia of Letizia Financial Group, and Steve and Craig Bjorkman of Bjorkman's Ace Hardware.
All winners were chosen by the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, the luncheon planning committee and selected chamber board members.
The event was sponsored by First Midwest Bank and River Place Luxury Residences. The presenting sponsor is Rotary Club of McHenry Sunrise.