LIMA — It was an evening dedicated to small business.
The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards gala and banquet Wednesday to recognize the county’s top businesses and leaders, which Chamber President and CEO Jed Metzger described as the real Real American Strength of Lima.
“It’s tough,” said Kevin Wieging, owner of Ultrasound Special Events, winner of this year’s Small Business of the Year honor. “Day in and day out, we try to grow our businesses. We try to make jobs.”
But it’s a venture Wieging thinks is worth pursuing. Wieging, who founded Ultrasound Special Events as a small DJ-ing venture while he was still in high school, led the crowd through a round of applause in honor of the small businesses he said keep communities like Lima strong.
“It’s not Google. It’s not Zappos. It’s the guys that get up and scratch and do it every day, all day long,” he said.
Wieging was one of six winners recognized by the Chamber this year.
Categories covered small business, nonprofit, emerging business, woman-owned business, young leaders and leaders who support women in business.
Some winners, such as David Tilton, founder of Coffe’ Amor and winner of this year’s Emerging Business of the Year honor, followed an unconventional path to their careers.
Tilton founded his coffee roasting business in his parent’s kitchen after returning to the U.S. from a mission trip. He had been traveling through El Salvador and Bolivia, where he acquired his passion for coffee roasting. His at-home coffee roasting business took off, eventually turning into a roastery and cafe in Wapakoneta. Tilton and his wife now own a second cafe in Lima too.
“(I’m) very humbled,” Tilton said. “These guys are amazing.”
The evening wasn’t exclusively about small business.
Community leaders and nonprofits took center stage as the Chamber recognized the county’s top young leaders, nonprofit and professionals who support women in business. This year’s nominees and finalists boasted long resumes in working toward a better Lima.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘How do you do this?’” Beth Seibert, winner of this year’s Athena Award, said as she reflected on her community service and work in a male-dominated field.
Seibert, who is a program coordinator with the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District, said the secret to her success is recognizing her abilities and sharing those blessings with others.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.