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Longboat Key Monday, Jul. 29, 2019 2 months ago

Small Business Week approaches on Longboat Key

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Celebrate your local economy by nominating a small business.
by: Nat Kaemmerer Staff Writer

Small business, big impact. Anyone you know fit the bill? 

The Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce Small Business Week is right around the corner, and residents have a chance to put the spotlight on a Chamber business they believe in to win an award. Last year’s winners included Book a Little Sunshine, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Happy Paddler Kayak Tours and Ecoventures and G. Fried Flooring America. 

“We definitely have a lot of respect for the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce,” said Julie Kirkwood, owner of Book a Little Sunshine. “We really felt honored.” 

The categories for the awards are Rookie Small Business of the Year (1-3 years old), Small Business of the Year (10 or fewer employees), Small Business of the Year (11-100 employees) and Good As Green Businessperson of the Year. That final award has only been around for two years, and is still being modified as things go along, said Small Business Chairman Michael Vejins. Currently, judges look at both how environmentally green a business is in its internal endeavors, as well as how “green” the final product they release is. 

“Everyone is really, really different and it’s hard to categorize,” Vejins said. “ It’s one of the more interesting categories because sometimes it’s about an internal related process and limiting water use and lighting and what kind of waste they produce.” 

Exposure to the community is one of the most beneficial reasons to host an event like this. The more people know the name of a business, the more likely they are to support it. After going dormant for a while, this event has been rebuilt in the past few years to do the most for the small businesses comprising Longboat’s economy. 

“(There’s been) a good turnout,” said Vejins. “The exposure has been tremendous.”

However, there’s always room for growth. 

“It’s probably my last year doing it because I want new people in it to generate new ideas and keep the business world exciting,” Vejins said. “A whole bunch of people have to contribute ideas.” 

This, like any Chamber event, is to bolster Longboat Key’s economy and celebrate the big impact a small business can have on the island. Even if a business is nominated and doesn’t win, Vejins wants Small Business Week to benefit all in the Chamber. 

“I personally, from being the lead on this, just enjoy hearing people's stories of why they’re in it and how they engage the community and how they’ve grown,” said Vejins. 

Send in your Chamber nominees to the Chamber of Commerce by 5 p.m. on Aug. 12. Contact Gail Loefgren at [email protected] for the forms.

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