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Dorchester County small businesses honored

Eighty people gathered at the Dorchester Center for the Arts recently for the 2014 Annual Dorchester County Small Business Awards.  Dorchester County Economic Development Director Keasha Haythe welcomed the guests and recognized the Dorchester County Council and awards committee for their commitment to small businesses.

Haythe said, “A yearly spotlight on our local businesses for their outstanding accomplishments in innovation, job creation and vital contributions continues Economic Development’s commitment to acknowledge and celebrate business achievements — helping to recognize Dorchester County businesses from small to large, new to legacy, nonprofit and most innovative concept.”

From left, Johnny Shockley, co-owner of Hooper’s Island Aquaculture Oyster Company; poses with Kathy Coursey, senior vice president of lending at 1880 Bank, and Nancy Shockley.

From left, Johnny Shockley, co-owner of Hooper’s Island Aquaculture Oyster Company; poses with Kathy Coursey, senior vice president of lending at 1880 Bank, and Nancy Shockley.

Len Foxwell, Comptroller Peter Franchot’s chief of staff, poses with Keasha Haythe, director of Dorchester County Economic Development.

Len Foxwell, Comptroller Peter Franchot’s chief of staff, poses with Keasha Haythe, director of Dorchester County Economic Development.

Del. Addie Eckardt addressed the guests and thanked the business owners for their hard work and dedication to the community.  She also provided Maryland General Assembly citations for all the award winners.

Comptroller Peter Franchot’s chief of staff Len N. Foxwell also spoke at the event, praising Dorchester County after having visited downtown Cambridge earlier in the day for their annual Shop Maryland for the Holidays tour to urge residents to shop locally over the holiday season.  He praised Haythe for her work promoting the county.

Following an invocation from Cambridge Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Cesar Gonzalez, guests enjoyed a buffet provided by The High Spot.  Serving as the Master of Ceremonies, Pat Wielgosz recognized every nominated business individually.

Committee member Mickey Love presented the evening’s first award (1-25 Employees) to winner Delco Packaging Products Inc. President David Deluca accepted the award and thanked his staff for supporting him.

Presenting the next award, committee member Valerie Brown explained this business started with one truck and has grown large enough to be part of the 26-50 employees category.  Brown presented East Coast Underground President Cheryl Hughes with the award.

Committee member Nancy Shockley presented the New Business: 5 Years or Less Award to Bliss Jewelry & Gifts.  Owner April Dean Goodman accepted the award.

Committee member Steve Disharoon presented the Legacy: 20+ Years Award to Henry Funeral Home, a firm founded more than 20 years ago. Janelle Henry Buck accepted the award.

Committee member Kathy Clark Coursey took time to relate the many contributions of the Nonprofit Award winner Dorchester Center for the Arts.  Executive Director Mickey Love accepted the award.

The evening’s last award (Most Innovative Business Concept) was presented by committee member Tracy Tyler to the winner RAR Brewing. Co-owners Chris Brohawn and JT Merryweather accepted the award.

The evening ended as small business owner and Dorchester County Council President Ricky Travers delivered final remarks and prompted all to “remember the reason for the season.”