It has been a crazy couple of days for David Miller, owner of Chef by Request, a catering company based in nearby Lisle. Earlier this week, he and his wife welcomed their second child into the family. And this weekend, Miller took home the Small Business of the Year Award, one of eight awards given out by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.
“It sure makes the 15 years of blood, sweat and tears worth it to stand in front of so many friends, customers and colleagues,” said Miller. “It really is something.”
Miller was surprised by his wife and newborn when he won in the Business-to-Consumer category earlier that night, but they left before he won the ceremony’s biggest award.
“I’m really looking forward to calling her and saying, ‘Honey, you left a little early because there was one more big award,'” said Miller.
The 14th annual Small Business of the Year Awards aim to recognize small businesses in the area. The entrepreneurs nominate their peers and the winners are selected by a panel of past award recipients.
Businesses with fewer than 100 employees provide around 35-percent of all jobs in the United States. Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Bev Patterson Frier, has been creating jobs in Naperville for nearly 50 years.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” said Frier. “I was really overwhelmed.”
Frier came to Naperville in 1966 and opened up a fabric and piano shop. She’s owned numerous businesses ever since, and she doesn’t see that trend ending any time soon.
“When they say you’ve won a Lifetime Achievement Award, it’s kind of like it’s the end, like it’s over,” said Frier. “It’s not over– I still have a lot of things on my plate.”
During her speech to those in attendance, Frier jokingly said that she’s now going to work on her second Lifetime Achievement Award.
The complete list of winners this year are:
Excellence in Business – Lillians / Jersey Mike’s Subs / Nyberg & Cassiopi
Not-for-Profit – Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center
Business-to-Business – Beaird Group
Professional – Sherman Oaks Dental
Retail – Braconi’s Restaurant & Pizzeria
“They’re the ones that will create jobs and create vitality, and grow this economy,” said John Schmitt, President and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. “So to be able to honor these businesses, that’s what it’s all about.”
Kevin Harris, Chairman of the Board for the Chamber of Commerce said in his address to the crowd that small business helps support the community. And after this weekend’s event, it’s obvious why Naperville’s community is so strong.
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