Fourth annual awards went to local businesses and individuals that made a significant positive impact on West Michigan’s economy and community in 2013.
by Samantha Vanderberg
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Local First awarded exemplary businesses and individuals with the LocalMotion Awards at their Annual Meeting, presented by Eastern Floral and held at the Goei Center. The LocalMotion Awards were created to recognize businesses and individuals leading the way in building a vibrant, sustainable community. They’re a tool to help shift the “norm” towards sustainable business practices and to educate the community on the unique ways locally owned businesses impact our region. The awards were presented by Local First board members Andy Guy and Emily Loeks.
The Triple Bottom Line, Up & Coming Business
This award is presented to a locally owned company that demonstrates a strong commitment to the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) – either through successful outcomes or innovative programs. The compnay must be in business between two and five years. Previous winners include: Brewery Vivant, Dwelltech Solutions, MadCap Coffee. This year’s winner: CityFlatsHotel
Since it’s founding in 2011, CityFlatsHotel Grand Rapids has demonstrated their commitment to the Triple Bottom Line – especially through their building practices. Their recent LEED Gold certification makes them the second hotel in Michigan to receive this prestigious award. Beyond their commitment to the environment, CityFlatsHotel also works to increase their economic impact on the community by sourcing product and food locally as much as possible.
The Triple Bottom Line, Longstanding Business
This award is presented to a locally owned company that demonstrates a strong commitment to the TBL– either through successful outcomes or innovative programs. The company must be locally owned, in business longer than five years, and demonstrate a strong commitment to the TBL– either through successful outcomes or innovative programs. Previous winners include: Founders Brewing Company, Gazelle Sports, Curtis Cleaners. This year’s winner: TerraTrike
The world’s largest manufacturer of recumbent tricycles, TerraTrike tries to give back to the earth more than what they take. They are strongly dedicated to Grand Rapids’ future and are a change agent in the community. With both larger buyers and individual customers, and through the product section of their storefront, Terra is an ambassador for West Michigan local businesses. Not only is their product promoting a green lifestyle, their day-to-day business operates in a way that reduces their carbon footprint. They pay their employees living wages and provide a safe & fun work environment.
The Mover & Shaker Award
Awarded to the business that demonstrated a significant shift in their supply chain to local over the past twelve months. Previous winners include: Essence Restaurant Group, Ninth Bridge, Wealthy Theatre. This year’s winner: Spoonlickers
Spoonlickers prides themselves on producing 100% all-natural yogurt, exclusively sourced from a local dairy farm. In essence, they’ve created a brand new supply chain. When it’s in season, they purchase local produce for toppings and they create almost all of their toppings in-house. They use local distributers for their other product needs. Not only do they strengthen the relationships between others in our local food system, they increase consumer awareness about the importance of local food here in West Michigan.
The Local Hero Award
This award is presented to an individual or family who has demonstrated a significant shift towards local purchasing and sustainable living. Previous winners include: Christine Helms-Melatic, Julie and Pat Wise, Steve Faber. This year’s winner: Jamiel Robinson
As the Founder/CEO of Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses, Jamiel connects business owners together and provides support to businesses trying to become more sustainable. His family shifted their purchasing to support businesses in underserved black neighborhoods, and the Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses created the “30 days 30 dollars” challenge in order to encourage people to spend money at locally owned black businesses. Jamiel has played an integral role in promoting economic equity in black neighborhoods through championing local businesses.
The Change Agent Award
The Change Agent Award is presented to a locally owned business or organization that is growing successfully and can be accredited for revitalizing a neighborhood or business corridor. Previous winners include: LINC, Welcome West, Atomic Object. This year’s winner: 616 Development
616 Development redevelops buildings and fosters community in urban neighborhoods in and around downtown Grand Rapids. Currently, 616 Development and sister company 616 Lofts operate four full mixed-use historic buildings in downtown Grand Rapids, each of which was renovated from a dilapidated state. Building community is part of their mission – 616 works hard to connect those that live and work in their buildings to the locally-owned businesses nearby, fostering a sense of community self-reliance through each physical redevelopment.
The Guy Bazzani Local Legacy Award
Recognizing lifetime achievement, this award honors an individual or business dedicated to promoting locally owned businesses and sustainable business practices in West Michigan. Previous winners include: Jaye Van Lenten, Amy Ruis, Rob McCarty & The Image Shoppe. This year’s winner: Laurie Beard, president & CEO of Founders Bank & Trust.
President & CEO of Founders Bank & Trust, Laurie is an outspoken advocate for Local First and local business. With Laurie’s leadership, Founders Bank & Trust has been a charter member of Local First, and she has incorporated Local First ideals into the culture Founders. Laurie’s belief that the bank should seek to enhance life for the community and those who live in it has made Founders Bank a community staple. Laurie is not only an advocate for locally owned businesses, she is a champion of their success.
Nominees were selected through an open call to the public. Any business that is locally owned, locally headquartered, and not publicly traded was eligible for nomination. Individuals eligible for an award must reside in West Michigan. Once nominations were closed, nominees were asked to complete an application and then an independent committee comprised of past winners and community sustainability leaders chose the winners. Over 100 businesses were nominated for the awards with 80 nominees completing the application process.
Local First is a non-profit organization that fosters the development of an economy, grounded in local ownership, which functions in harmony with our ecosystem, meets the basic needs of our people, encourages joyful community life, and builds wealth. For more information on Local First and its efforts to promote a local living economy in West Michigan, please visit www.localfirst.com.