Chamber Announces 2022 Small Business Award Winners
The West Monroe West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize the winners of the 2022 Small Business Awards presented by Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union and Glenwood Regional Medical Center.
Nominations were accepted from Chamber members in the following categories: Emerging Entrepreneur, Small Business, Female Champion, Community Champion and the Silver Plus Award. And the winners are:
- Emerging Entrepreneur – 2 Winners were presented this year: CAKE and Tech Savvy
- Our first winner for the 2022 Emerging Entrepreneur Award hosted their ribbon cutting at their new downtown location in September of 2021, after navigating the challenges of opening a new storefront while operating and continuing to serve their clients to an exceptional level, they have made an impact in our downtown. Sisters who are known for lifting each other up during life's joys and challenges – they truly embody the entrepreneurial spirt and raise the bar when it comes to customer service, kind attention and love for their work. That teamwork now beautifully represents the spirit of running a family-owned small business. Everyone who enters CAKE is greeted with genuine smiles and kind words, no matter how busy Emily and Becky may be with custom orders or baking specialty items for their display cases. Their passion is apparent with every delicacy they make, from a tiny French macaron to an extravagant custom wedding cake. CAKE is destined for continued success because of a special combination of talent, positivity, and family determination. Congratulations CAKE – Emily and Becky!
- Our second winner for the 2022 Emerging Entrepreneur Award goes to a man (and business) with a true heart of gold. He has an undying passion to serve those who serve others ensuring his clients make lasting investments in their own businesses that work to their needs and not only his financial gain. He founded his company in effort to help schools, non-profits, and companies that serve others manage their IT needs so they can serve their mission without distraction. Nathan and the staff that he has recruited are reliable, kind, and have a heart for this community. Many programs in our community have benefited from his honest approach to ensuring businesses are open, data is secure and assets are protected. Congratulations Tech Savvy – Nathan Tremaine
- Small Business – Lyla Corkern, Finding Solace
- This business owner and her team truly live to better others. This owner is a true servant to others and believes in the mission to bring mental health support, service, and advocacy to everyone she can reach. She has built a thriving mental health private practice from a small building with only two people to a large setting that can serve the community but still feels accessible. Walking through their doors feels like walking into what we would all like to call home. There is truth in the name of her company as it is a place of refuge and peace for anyone to come in an ''as you are'' way to be able to find the tools to navigate life. The team at Finding Solace have grown and expanded to meet the high demand of community members needing mental health counseling and therapy. Moreover, Lyla uses her voice to spread the best messages about Mental Health. Eradicating the stigma, and using humor and powerful knowledge to bring about change. Congratulations to Finding Solace!
- Female Champion – Debbie Bourg, DBK Dance and Performing Arts
- For over 44 years, this community icon has been doing much more than educating students in performing arts. The life lessons learned in the studio are intentionally designed to teach students the value of serving their community. Students learn to serve in ways that go far beyond entertainment. The talented and well-trained staff equally share a very strong passion for teaching young people the intrinsic value of serving others. They believe that young people who learn empathy, compassion, and respect develop a greater sense of self-worth. When added to strong work ethic, discipline, and confidence, you are creating successful human beings! These women devote countless hours above normal above normal class schedules to students to ensure they reach their greatest potential. In the 44 years they have been in business, they have contributed their time and talent to the March of Dimes, Cerebral Palsy, Susan B Komen Race for the Cure, Ministry of Inspirational Therapy, Kiroli Park, The Children's Coalition, and The Cancer Foundation League of Northeast Louisiana. Their annual Fashion Fusion Event has helped not only to raise thousands of dollars for local Cancer patients and families but gives recognition and support to so many small businesses in our community. This year's Event raised over 80,000 for the Cancer Foundation League! That money stays right here for the patients and families of our community! Moreover - DBK teaches young people to ''Dance from your Heart and Give GOD the Glory!'' Congratulations to Debbie Bourg, DBK Dance and Performing Arts Center – our 2022 Female Champion Winner!
- Community Champion – VCOM - Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine Louisiana
- In less than four years, this business has established itself here in Ouachita Parish and made an enormous difference for the people of this community. In addition to the millions of dollars in economic support that it has funneled into the area, the students, faculty, and staff have also given of themselves in volunteer efforts and in-kind gifts. In fact, from May 1, 2021, until now, their organization has clocked over 7,570 volunteer hours. They have hosted blood drives, school supply drives, toy and supply drives for the local children’s home, and have raised funds for numerous community groups. When last fall’s hurricane season saw hundreds of evacuees seeking refuge at the Civic Center, VCOM-Louisiana faculty, staff and students were among the first on the scene to help those affected. It is clear – that VCOM has come into this community and embraced it as their own in a way we have not seen before. Congratulations VCOM Louisiana – Our 2022 Community Champion
- Silver Plus Award – Gretchen Kovac, Gretchen Kovac Construction
- This year’s winner is deserving of this award due to a well-known legacy of her business in the northeast region of Louisiana. Successful in a difficult field for over 44 years – they have created a unique brand developing subdivisions in our community and creating over 750 homes. Her impacts to community include donating the lot for the first St. Jude home, building the St. Jude home, donation of lots to Habitat for Humanity, and donation of lots to municipalities for infrastructure improvements. Mrs. Kovac has served on multiple boards within our community and demonstrates excellence in every project she tackles. Congratulations to Gretchen Kovac, Gretchen Kovac Construction!
The Chamber also presented a special award, the 2022 Innovator of the Year awarded to Lyndsay Turner, Pure Drip Wellness. This special award selected by the Chamber Panel is presented to a business that has shown innovation and adaptability and either recreated their model or helped create an entirely new market.
- This business has been a dream for the business owner for many years. This visionary owner wanted to bring a unique experience to our community. Something different. Something not already offered. This business offers a tranquil place to health and restore the mind, body and spirit. Opening in July 2021 Lyndsay Turner and her team at Pure Drip have created a successful, innovative business, offering Yoga and wellness classes along with infrared saunas. Congratulation to Pure Drip Wellness, this year’s Innovator of the Year!”
“With an outstanding group of nominees, totaling over 75 across the categories we are prouder than ever to present this year’s Small Business Awards! As you look at these winners’ names you will see a community that is actively invested in building a brighter, diverse, and prosperous future! Today we are honored to recognize long term achievement, community investment, and true entrepreneurship that only occurs in an environment where neighbors care, where leaders look to the future, and where public and private partnership reach for common goals.” Said Kristopher Kelley, Executive Director of the WMWO Chamber “Today – we celebrate the bright lights of our community. Today – we highlight not just members, but role models for our community. These nominees are the West Monroe West Ouachita Chamber – and we are stronger than ever because of them.”
These awards are possible with the support of these generous sponsors: Century Next Bank, Finding Solace, GO CARE, Graphic Packaging Int., Johnny’s Pizza House, Lazenby & Associates, Origin Bank, and Paramount Healthcare Consultants.