The Independence Economic Development Council on Friday stopped to honor more than 50 local businesses that have been growing and, in many cases, adding jobs.
One is Novus Power, which operates at the EDC’s Ennovation Center and makes precision timing products. It was named the small business of the year.
“We wee a bright future,” said co-owner Bill Kurple said in an awards video. “We have a continually growing customer base.”
Altogether, according to the EDC, the companies winning Friday’s awards have added or are adding more than 700 jobs.
• Unilever, which is adding on to its plant in Independence and adding about 90 jobs, is the manufacturer of the year. The plant will add the Knorr line of soups, sauces and gravies.
• Spicy Guys Pretzels is the emerging company of the year. It which operates at the Ennovation Center and which recently added a third flavor of pretzels.
“Working here in Independence has been a godsend,” said one of the owners, Jerome Ogren, in a video.
• Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal is the philanthropic business of the year. The company supports a variety of efforts in the community, including many related in the schools.
“I’m really proud that Cornell Roofing and Roofing is able to give back to the community,” owner and President Mary McNamara said in a video.
• The Missouri Mavericks, the minor league hockey team that plays at the Independence Events Center, is the hospitality business of the year.
• Centerpoint Medical Center, owned by HCA Health Midwest, is the major employer of the year. The hospital does more than 20,000 surgeries and has more than 67,000 emergency room visits a year and says those numbers keep rising. It breaks ground on a new cancer center this summer.
• A new award, the Good News award, was given to the Independence School District.
“There are few organizations out there that have embraced social media as well as ISD,” said Doug Cowan, president/CEO for the Community Services League, which sponsored the award.
• The Truman Heritage chapter of Habitat for Humanity is the non-profit of the year. CEO/President Pat Turner said the group has built homes for more than 65 families in Eastern Jackson County.
“We hope to grow the organization to the point where we can serve over 500 families in five years,” she said in a video.
The EDC also awarded iNpact awards to 47 companies that have made significant capital investments or added two or more workers.
“Thank you for all of what you do to bring economic development to Independence,” EDC President Tom Lesnak told those winners.
The iNpact Award winners are A Little Bar-B-Que Joint; A+ Remodeling; Albonee Winery; Applewood BBQ; Armament Systems; Arvest Bank; Borgman’s Dairy; Bradlech Construction; Cassie’s K9 Bakery; Centerpoint Medical Center; the Church of the Four Corners; Comcast and Xfinity; Comprehensive Mental Health Services; Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal; Corporate CopyPrint; Crossroads Hospice; Elite Cuisine; Flore Photography; GEHA; Grandma’s Bakery and Kitchen; Granola Jones and Limelight Promotions (same owners), Great Gran’s Pickles; HTS Technologies; KC Complete Auto Service; the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant and its operator, Orbital ATK, as well as the Lake City Business Center; the Midwest Foster Care Association; Missouri EdCounsel; Hy-Vee Food and Drug on Noland Road; Novus Power; Plantain District (a food truck); Post Press Specialties; Schulte Supply; Slim Chickens; Spicy Guys Pretzels; the St. Luke’s Medical Group; Staybridge Suites; the Stoney Creek Inn & Conference Center; Studio Englewood Salon; Superfit Muffins; The RED Force Fire & Security; UniDorr and Unilever.