The Portage County Business Council honored two businesses and two individuals at the Council’s Annual Dinner Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Holiday Inn & Convention Center in Stevens Point.
Stevens Point Brewery, 2617 Water St., Stevens Point, received the 2012 Decree of Excellence Award; Sandra’s Lasting Impressions, 2205 Post Road, Plover, received the 2012 Small Business of the Year Award; Jeff Peterson received the 2012 President’s Award; and Denny Rosenthal received the 2012 Ambassador of the Year Award.
The brewery was founded in 1857, and Dennis Peterson of Delta Dental, who presented the award, said its “ability to endure is amazing” and it’s now the fifth oldest brewery remaining in the United States.
The brewery has undergone four expansions in four years, with capital investments of $4.6 million since 2009, he said.
Joe Martino, operating partner at the brewery, took the expansion a step further, announcing that the brewery would be undergoing a $2 million expansion that should be completed in May, increasing capacity by 50 percent, from 100,000 barrels to 150,000 barrels.
The brewery was awarded the Decree of Excellence for 2003, and Martino said since that time the brewery has grown from 21 employees to 35, its beer was sold in three states but is now in 28 states plus England, with Point Beer scheduled to be added in Scotland in two weeks.
“Ten years ago I asked for you to continue your support of the brewery,” he said. “Today I ask for your continued support.”
Sandra Galloway started Sandra’s Lasting Impressions in 2006 to fulfill her passion to have her own clothing, home décor and gift store.
“It’s truly an honor to be here,” Galloway said, admitting she was nervous. “Having a business of my own has always been a dream. My father started a small business and said he loved it. My mother said it was too much work.”
Galloway said the four other women she works with in the store make the work enjoyable. “We all have different personalities but we blend so well,” she said.
Rosenthal, the Ambassador of the Year, is a director of customer services and international sales at the Worth Co. in Whiting. She was chosen for her dedication to community outreach and participation in activities that promote the mission of the Portage County Business Council, accumulating the most points during the year by attending business events such as ribbon cuttings, grand openings, Business After Hours, visits to new and existing businesses and monthly meetings.
Dave McHone, president of the Business Council, said Dave Worth of the Worth Co. described Rosenthal as “a cross between a whirlwind and a Tasmanian devil” and “nervous as a burglar about tonight.”
Rosenthal said she has learned much about the community through the Ambassador program and has enjoyed getting involved by helping with activities. “I’m glad to know I’m making a difference. When I moved here 15 years ago, I didn’t know a soul,” she said. “Now when I go somewhere I know someone, often three or four people.”
She praised the other ambassadors for their work, saying, “As far as I’m concerned, we’re all Ambassadors of the Year.”
McHone presented Jeff Peterson with the President’s Award for his dedication to the Portage County Business Council, the Portage County business community and economic development of the area.
Peterson, who served as president of the Council in 2011, is an accountant with CliftonLarsonAllen in Stevens Point and served in various capacities with a number of organizations in the area.
“This is a very easy community to be involved in,” he said. “People are interested in one another. I appreciate being part of the community and being involved.”
When he came to Stevens Point, he said he was told he would only be here about three years but he never found another place he wanted to go.
He said his biggest supporter has been his wife, Sandy, who flew back from Arizona Tuesday to attend the dinner. She retired in 2008, he said, telling the crowd, “which shows who’s the smartest of the family.”
McHone, who was the 2013 president-elect of Council but moved into the post in March 2012 because of vacancy, said he offered the Business Council Board the opportunity to select a new president.
He then turned a circle behind the rostrum and continued speaking as the president for 2013, saying “we business people have passion, pride and commitment to do our very best. This community is comprised of many elements. At the very foundation of the community has to be strong and viable business and industry offer opportunities for people.”
He said businesses are responsible for economic development and small business owners and others need to step outside their normal operation and expand because they are responsible to leave things as well or better than what was given to them.
“Besides,” he said, “don’t we want our children to support us in our retirement?”