More than three dozen local businesses and other organizations were honored Thursday for growth, for investing and adding jobs, and for giving back to the community.
“None of them do it for the honor. They do it to grow their own businesses,” Mary McNamara, chair of the board of the Independence Economic Development Council, said at luncheon to honor the companies.
Central Bank of the Midwest was singled out as the philanthropic business of the year.
“Philanthropy changes communities. It’s catalytic,” said Doug Cowan, president and CEO of the Community Services League, in making the presentation. He noted that the bank last year gave to more than 70 local non-profits and that dozens of its employees give their time and effort to local groups.
In a video outlining the bank’s activities, Vice President Sonci Bleckinger said “philanthropy is a core mission” for the bank and that it’s good “to be part of a corporation that just fits into Independence and the surrounding community.”
• The emerging company of the year is All Things Independence, a store on the Square started and run by students in the Independence School District’s Academies of ISD program. Presenter Tom Waters, owner of Corporate CopyPrint, said they built it “from the ground up -- a hard way to go, by the way.”
• The major employer of the year is Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care, which has been in Eastern Jackson County for more than 20 years. Many patients are veterans, and many veterans serve as volunteers.
“Employees are the key component to quality care,” said Tony Yarbrough of Central Bank of the Midwest in presenting the award.
• The hospitality business of the year is the Little BBQ Joint, 1101 West U.S. 24. Amy Williams presented the award in her role with the city’s Tourism Advisory Board but also mentioned her job as deputy director of the Truman Library only a few blocks away. The library has many guests from around the country and even around the world, and sometimes library officials have to take people to a good, quick lunch.
“People like to come to Kansas City for Kansas City barbecue, so we like to take people there whenever we can,” she said.
• The manufacturer of the year is Burd & Fletcher, which is in the Geospace underground facility and makes cups and packaging. It was founded in Kansas City in 1886 and has been “family-owned since day one,” said Mayor Eileen Weir, who presented the award.
• The small business of the year is the Chad Mitchell State Farm agency. “The company is all about community service and giving back to the public,” said David Long of Heartland Business Capital in presenting the award.
• The non-profit of the year is the Mid-Continent Public Library. “And this organization is really on a roll,” said EDC President Tom Lesnak, mentioning last year’s voter approval for expanded facilities and national honors that included officials making a 2014 trip the White House.
Also, the EDC gives its iNpact awards to companies that have hired two or more new employees or made $50,000 or more in capital investments in the previous year. There were 30 winners, pushing the total to more than 400 over the nine years the award has been given.
This year’s winners are The American Marksman (which has opened a facility at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant), Atomic Fizz, ARCPoint Labs, Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet, Centerpoint Medical Center (which has earned the award each year it’s been given), the Community Services League, Continental Siding Supply, Continental Manufacturing, Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, Corporate CopyPrint, Duluth Trading Company, The Examiner, Fencepost Productions, Hallmark, JobOne, the Little BBQ Joint, Los Cabos Mexican Grill and Cantina, MC Power, Missouri Moisture Analyzers, Menards, MyPlace Hotel, Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom, Orbital ATK (operator of the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant), PolySource, Post Press Specialties, PRMC (which runs the Second Chance Store on 23rd Street), Red Force Fire & Security, Tyler Tech, Unilever, and Value Creators.