“This evening has a purpose to it,” said Joel Zimmerman, executive director of the Washburn County Economic Development Corporation. “Of course, we try to raise some money for our organization through this event. We also want to use this event to let you know who we are and what we do. We also want to make sure that area business leaders have a chance to network with one another.
“These are all good reasons for tonight, but the main purpose of tonight is to look at and focus on the amazing things happening in Washburn County,” he said.
Zimmerman described to the 170 people in attendance that patterns are shifting in Washburn County.
“Recent demographic shifts in Washburn County are occurring. The next time you hear someone say that Washburn County is an aging, dying county, you can confidently tell them that this is not true. We are seeing an increase in younger families moving here, in addition, we have been creating jobs and new businesses.”
He spoke of the importance of being excited about what is happening in the county and sharing that excitement and optimism.
“Just as contagious as pessimism, is optimism,” he said. “Excitement begets excitement! Your employees will feed off of your pride of the area, your customers will feed off of that as well, and in turn, we feed off of their excitement and enthusiasm, and all of a sudden, together, we are a community that is proud of everything that we are.
“We are our history. We are the businesses that have been around for decades. We are the businesses that have been around for a few months. We are the businesses that will be. Together, we are Washburn County.”
The evening finished off with the announcements of the 2019 award recipients:
> Community Partner of the Year – Northwest Regional Planning Commission.
> Innovative Business of the Year – Round Man Brewing Company.
> Customer Friendly Business of the Year – Alley Cats Coffee.
> Community Involved Business of the Year – Tony’s Riverside.
> Non-Profit Organization of the Year – Ventures Unlimited.
> Tourism Business of the Year – Round Man Brewing Company.
> Director’s Award – Peragon.
> New Business of the Year – Jack Link’s Aquatic and Activity Center.
> Business of the Year – Maple Ridge Care Center.