At Wednesday night’s Summit Awards, Jim and Marilyn Moncol knew they would take the stage to present the Alco Custom Cabinets Award that their company sponsors. They didn’t know they’d also be called up to receive one, their second in three years.
Alco Custom Cabinets, the Police Athletics and Activities League, and as usual Aversboro Coffee provided some of the highlights as the Garner Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards ceremony to recognize businesses that excel in the community.
“To me it’s like the Oscars,” Marilyn Moncol said of the event modeled after such celebrity award shows. “It’s the event of the year in Garner.”
Perhaps the honor of the night, however, went to someone unable to attend. Carl Franks, who died earlier this year, was named the year’s recipient of a lifetime achievement award. Franks spearheaded the re-founding of the Chamber of Commerce in 1970, started Pop Warner football in Garner, was an alderman as well as the town’s first police chief, and was instrumental in setting up the Trojan Club and building Trojan Stadium.
Dena McDonald of Alossi Renewal Spa received the gavel to become chair of the Chamber of Commerce from outgoing chair Tommy Sims.
But the bulk of the evening was dedicated to dinner and the business awards.
The chamber submits applications for the awards to out-of-state judges in an effort to keep the playing field level. But just looking at the winners, Aversboro Coffee seems to have a firm grip on their award. The local cafe won the Forever First Award for customer service, and has won five awards in the last four events.
Alco Custom Cabinets took home the Integrity in Business Award. In 2012, the Moncols won the Exceptional Customer Service Award.
“The award means everything to a small business owner,” Moncol said. “It says as a small business owner, you’re doing right by your customers and your employees.”
PAAL took home the Nonprofit Achievement Award. The Garner Police Department’s outreach effort to create positive activities for young children at a number of local schools has earned it praise from a number of quarters in the community.
Other awards included Entrepreneurial Awards for three different classes of business: E2 Technologies won for businesses with 15 or fewer employees, Accenturate Staffing won for businesses with 16-50 employees, and Jordan Driving School won for businesses with at least 200 employees.
Planet Fitness won the Alco Custom Cabinets Steady Growth Award.
For many of the businesses, the application for the award itself provided an opportunity to take stock of where the business was and where owners wanted to go.
“The application, we’ve gone back and re-read it and said, ‘Yes, that’s really who we are,” said David Parker of E2 Technologies, a company that specializes in both automated home security and energy efficiency.