NELDON: Many deserve thanks this year

Each year, I look forward to the joy on business owners’ faces when they learn they have been recognized for the blood, sweat and tears they put into their business. Nothing beats the pride that comes with the validation of being named one of the best in the region.

This year, with all our local businesses have endured in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this process has been all the more gratifying. In addition to the long hours, difficult decisions, number crunching and planning that goes into running a business even in a good climate, these individuals have adapted to constantly changing safety precautions, enormous loss of revenue, furloughs, layoffs and shuttered doors.

For this reason, I would like to take this opportunity to tell every business owner, manager or employee who serves our community that you are valued and appreciated. Regardless of whether or not you took home an award this year, you earned a gold medal in my book.

We at Leader Publications stand ready to help you weather this storm, and are impressed beyond measure by the tenacity, ingenuity and sheer dedication you all have given to our community.

As a special thanks to those who have chosen to plant not only their businesses, but their homes, tax dollars and charitable contributions in the Michiana community, this year, Leader Publications chose to recognize only locally-owned businesses (with the exception of one category that recognizes local franchises of hardware stores, which go above and beyond to give back to the region).

By and large, the thousands of votes cast in our annual Best of the Best contest were for locally-owned businesses anyway — further proof that consumers in this region see and appreciate the investment our local businesses have made in their communities.

I would also like to thank those members of our community who consistently support these small businesses. Whether you are part of an organization serving businesses or if you are simply a consumer who chooses to shop local, you, too, deserve a medal. 

Last but not least, congratulations to our winners in each category. We look forward to supporting you for many years to come.

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