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Winners of Cook County Chamber's Annual Business Awards to be announced on October 28

Oct 20, 2020 01:15PM ● By Editor
From Jim Boyd, Executive Director of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce - October 19, 2020

The members of the Cook County Chamber have voted, and the winners of our 2020 Annual Business Awards have been chosen. Ordinarily these awards would be presented at the annual Fall Gala, but for obvious reasons there will be no Gala for 2020. Yet if there ever were a year when these awards were deserved and should be presented, this is it! 

The Chamber Board also has decided to honor someone with the Norman Deschampe Community Service Award, which is awarded only on the occasion of extraordinary public service.

Please tune in to WTIP at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 28, to hear who will win these important honors. All of the nominees are listed below, and all would deserve to be honored with these awards. They epitomize the best of the community spirit that makes Cook County such a caring and wonderful place to live. 

Nominees for Entrepreneur of the Year, both heartily deserved for helping feed the community and its visitors through this hectic summer:

1.      Abby and Sam Hedstrom, Kate and Jeremy Keeble for overcoming great odds to get The Fisherman’s Daughter restaurant up and running in the old Dockside space.  

2.      Christina Conroy for hard work, persistence and good humor in starting her Rebel Girl Community Minded Catering lunch delivery business as well as the Bad Seed food stand, and her wedding catering.

Nominees for Business of the Year:

1. WTIP received two nominations, both citing the radio station’s dedicated efforts to keep the community informed and entertained, with a special emphasis on its public information role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2.      Grand Marais State Bank for working quickly and intensely to qualify to provide COVID-19 related Paycheck Protection Program loans to local businesses, then making the loan application process “really easy” when many other banks made it difficult. The bank helped county businesses qualify for $6.5 million in PPP loans.

3.      Voyageur Brewing Co. for its extraordinary hard work in remaining safely open and available to serve the community during the pandemic. 

4.      Johnson’s Big Dollar Food Store for “consistently being there for the community,” including  during the pandemic. 

5.      Latz Properties, Lutsen, for the contributions to community made over decades by its owner, Jeff Latz,  who will be retiring this year after many years as the heart and soul of “downtown Lutsen.” 

Nominees for Community Business Leader of the Year:

1.      Matthew Brown, general manager at WTIP, who also serves on the board at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, volunteers at Ruby's Pantry, North House and many others. 

2.      Susan Prom, co-owner of Voyageur Brewing Co., who has “basically working herself to the bone throughout this whole pandemic.”  

3.      Dennis Rysdahl, owner until months ago of Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts in Tofte. Over the years Dennis has served on just about every community board there is. He and his resorts also have been extraordinarily generous with financial contributions to community organizations. 

4.      Chris Callender, former chef at Wunderbar, for making “something like 3500 meals over several months during the shutdown just on his own time, and donations from random meal eaters as well as the Wunderbar kitchen space for him to work.  Pretty cool.”

Jim Boyd
Executive Director
Cook County Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 805 
Grand Marais, MN 55604
218-370-9665 (office/cell)
218-387-2466 (home)


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