Greensburg Daily News
Multiple generations of Decatur County business owners — including a handful of aspiring teenage business owners — came together Thursday night at Shelbyville’s Indiana Downs for the 2012 Greensburg-Decatur County Awards Dinner.
Jeff Emsweller, the Chamber’s executive director, said over 230 people attended.
“We were a little nervous about holding the dinner outside Decatur County,” Emsweller said. “This is the first year we’ve done that, but we were very pleased with the turnout. Plus, I’ve had several comments from attendees telling me what a wonderful evening it was.”
Chamber President Tammie Spurlock, of Decatur County REMC, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies, opening with a list of statistics attesting to the Chamber’s vitality and ongoing growth.
“We are 358 members strong,” she said. “We’ve added 40 new members since December 2011, have held 17 ribbon cuttings in 2012 and have recently completed a complete redesign of our website.”
Spurlock also listed a number of popular, successful events organized by the Chamber in 2012, including October’s Shopping Scramble and the Golf outing from August.
Spurlock also awarded three major business-related prizes on behalf of the Chamber.
The 2012 Small Business Grant was awarded to Logan and Charity Wilder, owners and operators of Greensburg’s Crystal Clear Window Cleaning.
According to Spurlock, winners of the $1,000 grant must be a chamber member in good standing who’s been in operation at least a year.
“Applicants must be based within Decatur County and not owned by an out-of-town corporation,” she added.
In accepting the award, Charity Wilder thanked and acknowledged the business’ five employees, saying that Crystal Clear’s success and ongoing growth wouldn’t be possible without them.
The 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year Award was awarded to Thomas and Karen Stricker, owners and operators of Greensburg’s Cutting Edge Sporting Goods.
In making the announcement, Spurlock revealed that neither of the Strickers was aware of the award before the announcement.
Spurlock also lauded the Stricker’s dedication and passion.
“The Strickers opened Cutting Edge Sporting Goods in Greensburg on Sept. 5, 2009 with two employees,” Spurlock said, “and an under 1,400-square-foot store and have since expanded to an 8,400 square foot store in downtown Greensburg, now employing five people.”
She continued, “The Stricker’s goal is to be the premier location in Southeast Indiana for archery tournaments and outings, pulling customers from, of course, the Decatur County area and from Indianapolis to Cincinnati and beyond, and they are actually succeeding in this goal.”
In accepting the award, Thomas Stricker thanked his employees and acknowledged that Cutting Edge is indeed his passion; otherwise, he wouldn’t open the store seven days a week, with closing hours that are, “Until everybody leaves.”
“We’re hoping,” he said, “that someone will be able to put the same kind of passion into it when I’m no longer able to do it.”
Stricker’s sons currently assist their parents in running the business.
The night’s most prestigious honor, the 2012 Business Leader of the Year Award, went to Jim Saler, President and Board member of Greensburg’s First Federal Savings and Loan.
Before actually revealing Saler’s name as the winner, Spurlock named a long list of the achievements in his multi-decade career, including important contributions to local education, business and charitable endeavors.
In accepting, Saler said, “I’m very much surprised by this award and accept it with all the humility possible. We’re very fortunate to live our community, and I promise to continue working to make it a better place.”
Saler acknowledged that being an employee of a business as opposed to an owner puts him in a unique position regarding his interactions with other employees compared to other Chamber members. He also espoused a business philosophy of “management by consensus.” Such an approach is sometimes frowned upon by others in the business world, he added.
“I surround myself with strong personalities,” he said, “which can lead to conflict.”
Such conflict, he further contended, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, and can prevent a business leader from “driving the business over a cliff.”
The audience acknowledged Saler with a standing ovation.
Thursday’s dinner also included presentations by participants in 2013’s Maverick Challenge Contest. The multi-county contest, which was won by Decatur County’s own Morgan Tomson in 2012 in the county’s first year of participation, allows entrepreneurial-minded high school students to create their own businesses, with the winner being awarded a sizable grant to get their endeavors off the ground.
The evening concluded with a rousing, well-received performance by Indiana-based comedian Dave Dugan.
For more information on the Greensburg-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce or any of its events, call 663-2832 or visit www.greensburgchamber.com.
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.