It’s awards season. The Grammys announced the best in music Sunday and on Feb. 22, the Academy Awards will give out Oscars to film professionals. More than 28 million people watched the Grammys last year and more than 43 million watched the Oscars. Of course, nothing like the more than 111 million that viewed the Super Bowl.
Award shows, large or small, are important to people, to a community that strives for excellence. Five years ago, when my family and I were getting ready to transfer to Illinois from Michigan, we took care in searching for the right location for our family. We chose the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills area because it is a great community that has a thriving business district, well laid out subdivisions, dedication to green space and amazing schools.
This community strives for excellence. It shows in the customer service one receives, the dedication to providing products and services to the community that keep us fit, well-fed, insured, financially secure, keep our homes maintained, well dressed and so much more.
It is only fitting then, that the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Chamber holds an awards night to highlight and bring significance to those businesses and organizations that work hard to serve the community.
More than 170 people attended the chamber’s annual awards dinner recently at Boulder Ridge Country Club. There was a lot of buzz around this event as we started with a Nominations Mixer back in June at Port Edwards. With 50 businesses nominated, we used social media to garner votes, as well as in-person voting throughout the summer at chamber events. More than 1,000 Facebook votes were placed and the same with in-person voting.
By September we had narrowed down to three finalists in six categories. The finalists were announced at the golf outing dinner at Golf Club of Illinois. A survey was then used to find out what made these businesses special to the community. After more than 400 submissions, the votes were very close.
The remarks were tremendous: “great customer service,” “it’s more than just a haircut,” “they really care about what they do and their customers,” “they help the homeless,” “they bring hope to the community,” “they make people feel like they’re coming into a friend’s home not just a business,” and more.
Reading these reviews made me feel so grateful to be leading an organization filled with businesses and organizations dedicated to promoting a great community to live, work, worship and play.
The winners were:
• New Business – Allstate Insurance/Dan Hickey
• Small Business – Fox River Spa and Salon/Julie Bevel
• Large Business – Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle/Jonathan Feinstein
• Organization – Home of the Sparrow/Kathy Jaster
• Restaurant – Biaggi’s Ristorante, Jason Chablani
• Sole Owner – Nationwide Insurance/Jackie Gappa
One more award was given to the chamber’s Volunteer of the Year. As a membership organization, all the great programming and events couldn’t be done without the help of volunteers. And this year two members stood out heads above the rest in terms of the number of votes they received from their peers. The Chamber awarded the Volunteer of the Year award to Karen Lavorata of Mary Kay Cosmetics and Dave Rudin of Lifeline Christian Church and Advance Leadership.
Awards night is a great way to recognize those that strive for excellence. Because we like to encourage and support our peers, the businesses that help us out and make living here one of the best places. As you go about town be sure to visit these businesses to congratulate them and thank them for their contribution to this community. Be sure to look for the Nominations Mixer in June for next year’s awards dinner.
• Katrina McGuire is president of the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at 847-658-5300.