Winners of the 2018 Salute to Small Business Awards pose together after Thursday's event. Pictured from left are Roy Salisbury of National Door and Trim, Kim Laudick of the YWCA, Chuck Koch of Koch Law Office, JoAnne Thatcher of Elite Interiors, Cheryl Bowen and Alli Kennedy of Brewed Expressions, and Andy Czaijowski of Statewide Ford Lincoln. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Winners of the 2018 Salute to Small Business Awards pose together after Thursday's event. Pictured from left are Roy Salisbury of National Door and Trim, Kim Laudick of the YWCA, Chuck Koch of Koch Law Office, JoAnne Thatcher of Elite Interiors, Cheryl Bowen and Alli Kennedy of Brewed Expressions, and Andy Czaijowski of Statewide Ford Lincoln. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – The Van Wert Chamber of Commerce honored local businesses Thursday afternoon during their annual Salute to Small Business awards.

"We gather to celebrate the small businesses in our community," said Seth Baker of the Van Wert County Foundation. "What I hope each of you leaves with here today is warmth and love of being recognized for what you do in our community."

The categories for Thursday's event were Spirit of Entrepreneurship, Charitable Non-Profit, Service Industry Showcase, Retail Excellence, Palate Pleaser, and Community Champion.

National Door and Trim was awarded in the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. Other nominees included Shine Premium Auto Detailing, Chet Straley of Straley Realty and Auctioneers, Burcham Printing, 133 Bistro, TAG Menswear, Eastside Auto, Brewed Expressions, Alliance Automation, and Sticky Rammel.

In the category of Charitable Non-Profit, the YWCA of Van Wert County was awarded first place. Main Street Van Wert and Portal 2:20 Teen Center were also nominated.

Koch Law Office was awarded in the Service Industry Showcase category. Also nominated was Keister and Baker Law Office, LLC, Tisha Fast State Farm, and Strategence Capital.

In the Retail Excellence category, Elite Interiors was awarded, and Slusher's Jewelry/TAG, Curvy Closet, Stephanie Ann's and Betsy's Boutique were nominated in the category.

Brewed Expressions was awarded in the category of Palate Pleaser. Also nominated for that category was 133 Bistro, Truly Divine, Collins Fine Foods, Wild Hare BBQ, and Sycamore Ice Cream of Van Wert.

In the final category, Community Champion, Andy Czajkowski and Statewide Ford Lincoln was awarded. Other nominees were Eric McCracken and Lee Kinstle of GM Sales and Service, The Marsh Foundation, 1st Federal Savings and Loan, Mark White/YMCA, and Gen X Training Studio.

Also recognized during the awards were those who opened businesses since the last Small Business awards. That list includes the following: Adriel, AFLAC - Benji Wise, Eastside Auto Repair and Sales, Eric Hurless - Edward Jones, Jeremy Hinton State Farm, Just For You Flowers, Law Offices of Dawn K. Kennedy, Midwest Sportswear, Pinnacle Treatment Center, Sister's Embroidery and More, Spherion, Stephanie Ann's, Stonekote Epoxy Werks, Tech Solutions, and Van Wert Physical Therapy.

"For 13 years we have honored the best of the best of our small businesses, and today we will continue that tradition," said Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Verville. "Each person here today has impacted, directly or indirectly, the success of a small business or have certainly been impacted by a small business here today."