Greater Grand Forks residents among Prairie Business award recipients – Grand Forks Herald

FARGO – Greater Grand Forks was well represented at the annual Prairie Business Awards event held in Fargo Thursday, Sept. 28. Between three of the magazine’s award contests, Grand Forks and East Grand Forks had 14 award winners who were among those honored at the Radisson Blu.

Prairie Business award winners Kathryn Kester, left, and Christy Dauer take a selfie at Thursday’s award ceremony in Fargo.

Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Honorees from 2022’s 40 Under 40, along with the 2023 winners of Top 25 Women in Business and 2023’s Leaders & Legacies and their guests enjoyed an evening of socializing and celebrating. Approximately 75 invited guests attended the event.

Prairie Business considers North Dakota, much of South Dakota and western Minnesota as its coverage area.

Korrie Wenzel, publisher of Prairie Business and the Grand Forks Herald, welcomed the honorees and guests.

“Once again, this was another fun party. It’s neat to see everybody socializing and meeting new people,” Wenzel said after the event. “Prairie Business does this each year, and we call out names of so many great business leaders and up-and-comers from three states. But it’s always really fun when we are able to recognize the successes and talents of people from Greater Grand Forks and our region.”


During a speech before handing out the awards, Wenzel said “the people whose names are called today represent so many great businesses from our region. Some – like our Leaders and Legacy Award winners – have already written most of the incredible story of their life and their time as business leaders. Others, like many of our 40-under-40 winners, are just starting on those stories. Meanwhile, Prairie Business is a teller of stories. Perhaps, someday, we’ll tell your story.”

Phil Gisi, founder and chairman of Edgewood Group of Companies, was one of the recipients of the Leaders & Legacies Award, which is bestowed upon those who have created a lasting impact and legacy in business. The honor was created in 2019 as Prairie Business magazine’s most prestigious award and honors executives from around the region who have had successful careers, including leaving a legacy of exemplary leadership.

Gisi, of Grand Forks, is an entrepreneur, real estate developer and innovator. He was out of town on business and unable to attend the celebration.

Jon Bogenreif, president/CEO, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC, Fargo, was one of the honorees for the Leaders and Legacies Award. A group of colleagues and family members attended with Bogenreif to celebrate his achievements. He spoke with emotion when talking about how being successful is due, in part, to having the support of his family, pointing out his wife and his mother among the guests.

Four Greater Grand Forks professionals were honored with Top 25 Women in Business awards, a category that profiles female business leaders who have achieved remarkable success in their business and industry. They were Deanna Carlson Zink, CEO, UND Alumni Association & Foundation; Nan Larson, senior vice president, Frandsen Bank; Heather Strandell, senior director of clinic operations, Altru Health System; and Carrie Wilson, executive vice president, Vaaler Insurance.

“I am full of gratitude for being named as one of Prairie Business’ Top 25 Women in Business. What an honor to be alongside 24 impactful, dynamic women in our region. I love what I do. I get to lead a wonderful team for a great mission to support the University of North Dakota and its outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Carlson Zink said.

Eight from Greater Grand Forks were named to Prairie Business’ 40 Under 40, which recognizes outstanding business professionals — age 40 and younger — from around the region who have gained notable achievements in their career and community. They were Landon Bahl, partner and director of business development, 322 Hospitality Group; Mallory Berdal, banking operations manager, Alerus; William S. Cromarty, founder/CEO, Kirkwall; Alicia Fadley, architect, Widseth; Christin Fine, director of environment, health and safety, Energy & Environmental Research Center; Jordan Grasser, professional engineer, AE2S; Kathryn Kester, community relations manager, Xcel Energy; and Megan Rupe, marketing team leaders, BeMobile.

“As a transplant to North Dakota, it’s an especially large honor to be recognized. The business climate here is so good that you can move here, found a business and be recognized for that is amazing,” Cromarty said.


“It was a pleasure to gather alongside all the others recognized at the award ceremony. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces and meeting new people from the region who are leading in their communities,” Kester said.

Said Rupe: “It was an honor to be nominated and even more flattering to win a 40-under-40 award. There is so much talent and innovation in the group that won this year it’s humbling to be included. For me being part of the group helps keep me motivated to keep seeking out opportunities and connect with like-minded professionals to keep the area at the forefront of business trends.”

The awards event included hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and musical entertainment provided by Billy Lurken, a musician from Mitchell, South Dakota. Sponsors of the event were Cornerstone Bank and BeMobile.

Prairie Business is a free monthly business magazine that covers business trends in the Dakotas and Minnesota. To receive a free digital edition each month, go to

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Frank’s Automotive vies for Top Small Business Award – Foothills Sun Gazette

Nothing “small” about this business award

As a preliminary finalist for the America’s Top Small Business Award, Frank’s Automotive is being honored as one of the best small businesses out of 15,000 award applicants, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The shop was named alongside nine other preliminary finalists from the chamber’s western region, which includes California, Arizona, Hawai’i, Utah and Nevada, and will be judged alongside those businesses for a spot as a finalist.

St. Lawrence County winery earns Rural Business Award – WWTI –

WINTHROP, N.Y. (WWTI) – High Peaks Winery out of Winthrop got one of eight Rural Business awards presented by the New York State Small Business Development Center on Wednesday, September 13.

High Peaks was given the honor at a special ceremony held at the 805 Pickle Street location. SBDC State Director Sonya Smith was present at the ceremony to help give the award.

The SBDC serves 24,000 business and Smith handed the crystal trophy to winery owner Matthew Whalen. He got support from the SUNY Canton SBDC. Whalen initially sought assistance creating a business plan for his startup before moving the enterprise to its new location.

Advisors offer free direct counseling and various management and technical assistance services. During its rise, the winery also received backing from the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Authority.

The winery and adjoining vineyard are home to a large, semi-enclosed tasting area for guests to sample one of the 13 seasonal wines and craft beer selections.

Loudoun Chamber Announces Small Business Award Finalists – Loudoun Now

The Loudoun Chamber of Commerce has announced 23 finalists in the 29th Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards and opened public voting for the People’s Choice Award.

The finalists announced Thursday are competing in six industry categories. The winner in each category will be a finalist for the chamber’s 2023 Loudoun Small Business of the Year. Finalists for Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced Friday, Sept. 22.

“I am proud to congratulate our 23 finalists for the 29th Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards,” Loudoun Chamber President & CEO Tony Howard stated. “These finalists represent the special qualities that all small businesses and entrepreneurs possess: tenacity, vision, work ethic, and an unrelenting faith in themselves, and in Loudoun. We look forward to celebrating them, and the entire Loudoun small business community, on Nov. 10th.”

The 2023 finalists were chosen by chamber committees from among nearly 100 applications.

Meanwhile voting is open until 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21 for the People’s Choice Award in each category. The finalist with the most total votes will be declared the award winner.

Winners will be announced at the awards gala Friday, Nov. 10 at Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Fairfax. Sponsorships, tickets, voting for the People’s Choice Award and more information are online at

Finalists include:

Superior Service Business of the Year

  • CEO Consulting Group, LLC
  • Dogtopia of Purcellville
  • Fleur de Cuisine
  • Fuel & Tire Saver Systems Company, Inc.

Destination Business of the Year

  • Bear Chase Brewing Company
  • Elite Formation Studio of Dance
  • Hidden View Bed and Breakfast
  • The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Health & Wellness Business of the Year

  • Beckner Counseling, LLC
  • Function-N-Fitness
  • Sunstone Counseling
  • The Williams Center for Wellness and Recovery

Homebased Business of the Year

  • BB Insurance, LLC
  • Essay Cure
  • Mama’s Canine Mix

Nonprofit Organization of the Year

  • Loudoun Coalition for Women and Girls
  • Legacy Farms
  • Loudoun Literacy Council
  • Tree of Life Ministries

Main Street Business of the Year

  • Birch Tree Books
  • Casa De Avila Tacos
  • Crimson Wealth Strategies

Franklin Chamber’s 2024 business award nominations open – Daily Journal

The Franklin Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its annual awards.

The awards recognize and honor businesses and individuals for making a difference in the community. They are presented annually during the Franklin Chamber’s Annual Meeting, which is next set for Feb. 8, 2024. The event also coincides with Mayor Steve Barnett’s annual Franklin State of the City address.

Award nomination forms are available on the Chamber website or by contacting the Chamber office and will be accepted until Dec. 31.

The Chamber is seeking nominees that fit these descriptions:

  • Business Hall of Fame Award: Recognizes a Chamber company in business for 25 plus years, based on their success in growth and stability, commitment to quality and over all contribution to the community.
  • Community Impact Award: Recognizes a Chamber business/organization that has demonstrated outstanding business success in the areas of growth, stability and commitment to quality of life and overall contribution to the community.
  • Community Service Award: Recognizes an individual(s) or organization that has contributed significantly to the Franklin community; serving selflessly without intent for personal or monetary gain.

The 2023 recipients are:

Business Hall of Fame Award recipient – Frechette Eye Care Center

Community Impact Award recipient – Franklin Parks & Recreation and Festival Country Indiana

Community Service Award recipient – UpLift Johnson County

The Chamber is eager to honor more deserving recipients and welcomes nominations from the community, said Rosie Chambers, executive director.

“Our aim is to acknowledge and celebrate the valuable contributions of those who are making a significant impact in our community,” Chambers said in a statement on the awards. “We encourage businesses and residents to nominate deserving businesses for these awards.”

Rob Phillips wins Orange County business award – Trucks, Parts, Service

Rob Phillips, CEO and president of Phillips Industries, received the 2023 Innovator of the Year Award from the Orange County Business Journal. 

[RELATED: Phillips Industries moves HQ, promotes duo]

“I am beyond honored to win this award. There was such an impressive list of nominees and I am very humbled to receive the recognition,” Phillips says. “We are driven and focused on making huge, game-changing improvements to transportation, and this recognition validates our commitment to our work. We will continue to push boundaries and manufacture cutting-edge technologies that make a real difference in transportation.” 

The Innovator of the Year Award is designed to honor, recognize and celebrate individuals and their organizations who are creating game-changing products and services and who demonstrate brilliance and leadership in innovation. 

Rob Phillips is the fourth-generation CEO of Phillips Industries, a supplier of commercial truck and trailer electric harness systems. He joined the family business in 1995, overseeing expansion into Poland, China and Vietnam, as well as the launch of. Phillips Connect, a technology and software company. Phillips recently launched Phillips Innovations, with the goal of bringing an elevated level of safety, sustainability, driver comfort and automation to the industry through research and development investments in solar, backup camera technologies and autonomous driving solutions for trucks and trailers. 

From Immigrant to Business Award Winner: Mariya Solodar’s … – USA TODAY

Mariya Solodar emigrated to the U.S. less than two years ago, and the young businesswoman is already making headlines. Recently, Solodar was nominated for the “TOP 100 USA Entrepreneurs of Ukrainian Origins” award. During her short time in the U.S., she has already created a business from scratch and nurtured it to success.  

Mariya, congratulations on receiving a business award! Tell us, what inspired you to become an entrepreneur, and what achievements are you most proud of? 

Thanks for the compliments! Looking back, I think that the entrepreneurial spirit was in me from birth, even if I didn’t have any childhood dreams of starting a business. I lived in a small town in Ukraine, where an entrepreneurial culture was in its infancy. In my mind, entrepreneurs were merely “people in crimson jackets” (a popular color in the 90s post-Soviet space). 

Only later, when I started working in advertising, did I begin to notice people who sat in cafes all day long, not going to the office but somehow making an income. I saw that they lived very free lives, and it inspired me to learn more about entrepreneurship. 

I studied, attended conferences—including those in the U.S.—and immediately put my knowledge into practice. First, I created a marketing agency. Then I formed a Ukrainian-Russian educational business that brought in millions of dollars in revenue until everything collapsed in a day with the start of the war in Ukraine.  

What challenges did you face as an aspiring entrepreneur when starting a business in the U.S.? 

For starters, I showed up in the U.S. with one suitcase and blocked bank cards. My life had to begin anew from scratch, which in itself is not easy. At the same time, I was building a business in a new country and faced a number of obstacles. I didn’t know how everything worked. I spoke English but was not a native speaker, and I didn’t fully understand the local mentality. 

At first, I was even hindered by things that I had considered to be strengths of mine.  For example, as an experienced entrepreneur, I had developed an ability to communicate well with employees. However, it turned out that there are completely different standards and rules of business communication in the U.S. I went to UCLA and took a course in business communication, which taught me to express my thoughts without sounding harsh or too personal to Americans. 

What kind of business are you developing in the U.S.? Why did you choose this particular industry? 

First of all, I am still engaged in the educational business from my new home in America. My team is developing a platform for teaching in-demand online professions called “Todoo Digital”. Education is my calling, and I plan to devote as much time to it as possible. 

Additionally, I’m the owner of “More Show USA”, a children’s party agency. My best friend created this wonderful business and, after moving, I developed the agency’s U.S. branch. However, I was not prepared for how difficult it would be. At the very beginning, I had to do everything with my own hands, including loading costumes in a warehouse. 

Now I can proudly say that we’ve achieved great results. The agency conducts children’s events in Los Angeles, often working with celebrities. We plan to open representative offices in other U.S. states. 

Did your Ukrainian origin play any role in your business? 

My Ukrainian background brings a unique cultural perspective to my work. However, in the modern global world, cultural and national differences are smoothed out. The world has few restrictions—you are free to create, no matter who you are or where you’re from.   

How do you find balance between your personal life and your work? 

For me, balance does not mean an equal distribution of time between all areas of life. I believe that properly setting priorities helps solve the problem of lack of time. I always put myself first: my health, physical condition, well-being, development, and what brings me joy.  

Relationships are my second priority. Relationships with family, friends and loved ones are sources of happiness and positivity. Work ranks third in my priorities. I do not live to work, but rather I work to live and achieve a quality life. If it becomes necessary to give something up, I simply make a choice in accordance with my inner values and priorities. 

How do you plan to develop in America as an entrepreneur? 

I intend to make a significant contribution to the world of Internet education—not only in the United States, but throughout the world. My team is working on creating an IT platform for remote workers that offers job searching as well as training. I also plan to write a book about marketing and to scale the U.S. holiday agency industry.   

Tell us about the award ceremony. Do you have any favorite memories from that evening?  

Of course, I remember the moment when I was received the award in vivid detail. It was so exciting and unexpected. 

Today, Ukraine is going through a difficult period, and I’m glad that society encourages Ukrainians who have achieved outstanding results. It inspires us and gives us confidence that we can overcome any difficulties. An equally important factor for me was that half of the proceeds from the event’s ticket sales will be donated to support Ukraine. As the organizer of the “Peace of Mine” charity, I always support initiatives that help those in need. 

What award did you receive, and what significance does it hold for you? 

The process of winning an award itself is not important to me. Rather, the exciting takeaway from being nominated for and winning this fantastic prize is that is shows that I’m on the right track. In difficult times, it’s very important to receive encouragement and support. For me, this shows that I will succeed. 

You looked incredible at the awards. Who chose your look? 

Thanks a lot! I prepared carefully because I was aware that, in a certain sense, I was representing Ukraine at the international level. The dress was kindly provided to me by the outstanding couturier Jacob Meir, who’s known for his collaborations with celebrities including J. Lo, Beyoncé, and Katy Perry. This is our second joint project, as I presented his outfits on the red carpet of the 76th Cannes International Film Festival this May. I sincerely appreciate the help of such an incredible designer in creating an elegant and stylish image for this award. 

Mariya Solodar

Tell us about the book “Top 100 USA Entrepreneurs of Ukrainian Origins.” 

This book was published by the award’s organizers. It tells the stories of immigrant entrepreneurs, including mine. Many entrepreneurs, especially women, come to the States and feel lonely. I myself went through a similar experience, and I know what it’s like to be in a foreign country, where you know nothing and no one. When you discover people who persevered through the same problems and difficult path, you understand that you can handle it. You feel the support of those who walk next to you, shoulder to shoulder. I think these stories are very important because they create a sense of community and show that we are not alone in our struggles. 

Mariya Solodar

Overall, what helped you achieve such success in America? 

My main motivation was that I had no way back; I had nowhere to go. I was helped by my wonderful team, including the one I’ve already gathered here, and the support of friends both old and new. God sent me many wonderful people in the U.S.! 

It turned out that, in America, the tax, credit, and financial systems are favorable for business. It’s quite easy to scale here if the idea gets accepted in the market. I am very grateful to this country for all the opportunities that it provides, and I hope to make a worthy contribution to the development of the American economy. 

Mariya, thank you for your answers, and we wish you further success with all of your plans! 

Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award honours the … – Diageo

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of Outstanding Asian Americans in Business Award. 

As part of the evening, the Asian Business Development Center will honour the legacy of Sir Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo, who passed away on June 5, 2023, with a special Ivan Lifetime Achievement Award.

The event will also see Raj Subramaniam, CEO of FedEx, and 50 Asian American executives be honoured at a gala dinner on September 21st

Born in Pune, India, Ivan was one of Britain’s longest serving and most respected FTSE Chief Executives, transforming Diageo into the world’s leading premium drinks company and which accounts for 10% of the UK’s total food and drinks exports.

Each year, the Outstanding 50 award committee identifies and selects outstanding leaders who have built a successful business or who have distinguished themselves in their community. Of those, the committee also identifies a top Pinnacle Award recipient who has reached the acme of his/her professional career and is widely acknowledged as a leader in their industry.

“Our Outstanding 50 Business Committee carefully considers whom to add to our roster of distinguished Pinnacle Award winners, who serve to inspire the Asian American professional community as living role models and examples of excellence in leadership,” said John Wang, President and Founder of AABDC. “Raj Subramaniam of FedEx certainly meets and exceeds our criteria, and he has earned our admiration and appreciation for helming one of the most critical segments of the economy – the logistics and supply chains that keep our lives and businesses humming. This year, we are also privileged to be honoring the impactful life of Ivan Menezes, who left a lasting imprint on Diageo, and who exemplified an Asian American business success story.” “During a year when Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies are being challenged, we hope that our awards tradition demonstrates that diverse workforces produce great talent,” he added.

The prominent event typically draws over 600 leading business, political and civic leaders to pay tribute to the outstanding entrepreneurs and corporate executives in the Asian American business community from across the United States.

NJ Chamber reveals 2023 legislative, business award winners – NJBIZ

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The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce this week announced the recipients of the 2023 Legislative and Business Awards.

The winners will be honored at an Oct. 11 awards reception at Manasquan River Golf Club in Brielle. The biannual event also serves as a key networking opportunity, bringing together many power players from the public and private sector.

The Chamber has distributed these awards since 1996 as a way of recognizing outstanding state legislators and proactive business leaders for the work they do to ensure the Garden State is business friendly, economically successful, and a great place to live and work.

“We do it every two years. So, we follow the cycle of the Assembly,” Michael Egenton, the Chamber’s executive vice president, Government Relations, told NJBIZ this week. “That’s what makes the event so nice and exclusive — that we don’t do it every year.”

Among the criteria for the selection process are: voting records, bill sponsorships, committee votes, and a person’s overall history of supporting economic growth.


Egenton, who is marking 30 years with the Chamber this week, also noted another, more subjective component of the selection criteria, which goes beyond just the documented votes and quotes: True engagement and dialogue with the Chamber and business community broadly, including attending events and more.

The 2023 Legislative and Business Awards winners include:

  • Legislator of the YearSen. Joe Lagana, D-38th District
    Lagana has always been receptive to the Chamber in his role as Senate Labor Committee vice chair and for his work on the congestion pricing issue, according to the organization.
  • Legislator of the YearSen. Holly Schepisi, R-39th District
    Schepisi is recognized for always advocating the Chamber’s principles, such as lower property taxes and affordability; for reaching across the aisle and creating economic development partnerships; and for not being afraid to speak up on behalf of the business community.
  • Legislator of the YearAssembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District
    Coughlin was cited for his outreach to the Chamber on critical issues as well as his effort spearheading a package of small business bills.
  • Legislator of the Year Assembly Republican Leader John DiMaio, R-23rd District
    DiMaio was praised for his willingness to meet with the Chamber; his staunch support in repealing the corporate business tax surcharge; and advocating for things the business community supports, such as decreasing property taxes.
  • Business Advocate of the Year – Dennis Toft – member, CSG Law
    Toft is a renowned environmental lawyer who has been a huge Chamber supporter and helped to guide its advocacy on a litany of environmental and energy issues.
  • Business Advocate of the Year – Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti – commissioner, New Jersey Department of Transportation and board chair, NJ Transit
    On the transportation side, Gutierrez-Scaccetti has helped the Chamber countless times on a variety of issues including on federal infrastructure dollars, federal transportation funding, and more.
  • Business Advocate of the Year – Eric Brophy – deputy chief of staff for economic growth, Governor’s Office
    Brophy is recognized for his efforts to work with the Chamber following his promotion earlier this year to this key economic role within the governor’s office; he also played a lead role in getting legislation done to expedite the construction permit process.
  • Business Advocate of the Year – Chuck Richman – Governor’s Office
    Echoing similar sentiments as with Brophy, Richman helped on the construction permit legislation and has been instrumental in continuing to work collaboratively with the Chamber and have productive dialogue.
  • The New Jersey Chamber Alliance Partnership of the Year – Dawn Hunter – executive director, Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce
    This newly created award follows a NJ Chamber initiative to bring regional chapters together post-pandemic. Hunter has been a consistent, dedicated and valued partner in the Chamber Alliance Coalition on a number of different legislative and regulatory issues – communicating those back with her general membership. Egenton says she is one of the great leaders of the regional Chambers in New Jersey.

Egenton notes that the personal component is not just reflected on the selection side — that the Chamber practices what they preach.

“We spent all summer visiting these individuals to let them know they won the award,” Egenton explained. “We could have easily called them. We could have texted them. We could have emailed them. But it just kind of takes out the personal component of it.”

The awards reception is one of the Chamber’s most prominent events.

The State of DE&I event, hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, featured notable executives such as AACCNJ founder, President and CEO John Harmon (left) and Chamber President and CEO Tom Bracken.

DEI efforts in NJ

An event organized by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey drew more than 300 attendees for an examination of issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion in New Jersey. Click here to read more.

“You know what I’m proud of, too? We have always picked two senators, two assembly people, two Republicans, two Democrats,” said Egenton. “So that way it shows the bipartisanship of our working relationships. We don’t just single out one group for one year. We look at the total two-year landscape and all the different components – how they voted on bills, but all the other participation and engagements that they do with us.”

As the interview closed, Egenton reflected on the rich history of the awards and the work of the Chamber as he comes up on that 30th anniversary.

“That’s why I’m here as long as I have been,” said Egenton. “It’s a great organization. I believe we do good work on behalf of our members.”

He stressed that the personal and relationship-oriented nature of the work the Chamber does is reflected particularly in this biannual event.

“Of all the events that we do – I put the Legislative and Business Awards in the top four or five events that we have,” said Egenton.

More information on the awardees and the reception is available here.


Business Beat: J&L Fine Jewelry recognized with Legacy Business Award – Long Beach Press Telegram

Long Beach Heritage, a nonprofit aimed at preserving the city’s history, recently awarded J&L Fine Jewelry a Legacy Business Award — recognizing the shop’s historic contributions to the local community.

The award was presented during J&L Fine Jewelry’s annual Trunk Show on Saturday, Aug. 26.

J&L, a family-owned business, was opened at its current location, 1823 Ximeno Ave., in 1992 by Janis Krantz, according to LB Heritage’s website. Krantz, who was dubbed the “Queen of Kindness” by the Press-Telegram’s Rich Archbold, ran the shop until she died in 2022.

Now, Krantz’s widower, Mike, owns the store, her son, Josh, runs its day-to-day operations, and her daughter, Lauren, also works in the shop a couple of days a week — commuting all the way from San Diego, LB Heritage said.

“J&L’s friendly service has earned it the reputation as the friendliest store in Long Beach,” the website said. “Janis, and now Josh, make it a point to donate jewelry, cash and time to local charitable organizations and businesses across Long Beach.”

Several city officials and other community leaders were on hand during Saturday’s event to celebrate J&L Fine Jewelry — and its designation as a legacy business in Long Beach.

“Janis Krantz personified the sense of ‘community,’ and she truly embodied our district’s ‘Go Fourth!’ spirit,” Fourth District Councilmember Daryl Supernaw said. “Her legacy is being carried on by her son and daughter, Josh and Lauren.”

Sake Secret

The newly opened Sake Secret in downtown Long Beach is quickly becoming a hot spot for gourmands.

Owner Greg Beck spent years learning the art of sake. He studied Japanese in college and while working in Hiroshima, he parlayed his passion into a business.

Now, Beck’s customers can indulge in a sake glass or flight from an ever-changing, rotating menu, and they can even purchase take-home bottles of specialty imported sake.

Sake Secret has a series of special events at the new venue planned — including one tonight — in partnership with local cheese shop Oh La Vache.

Though Beck’s shop already offers mini charcuterie boxes with a sake flight, Thursday night’s event will feature a guided tasting, designed to offer the best pairings of sake and cheese.

In Sake Secret’s event room (where no shoes are permitted), attendees will sit on traditional Japanese tatami mats and absorb the fusion of Western charcuterie and Japanese tradition.

Tickets cost about $40. RSVP’s are required and more information is available on the event’s website,

New Chamber of Commerce partnership

The Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the California Restaurant Association have officially entered into a new partnership aimed at giving local businesses a voice, according to a recent announcement.

The CRA is a Sacramento-based advocacy group that works to promote the interests of the food service industry through lobbying, according to its website, alongside legislative monitoring, grassroots campaigns and political action committees.

“Through our collaboration with the California Restaurant Association,” chamber President and CEO Jeremy Harris said in the news release, “we extend our support by providing valuable benefits and a united voice to strengthen our members’ position in an ever-changing business landscape.”

With the new partnership, the release said, the CRA will notify the chamber when new legislation that could impact local businesses is under consideration.

They’ll also leverage the input of Long Beach business owners through CRA’s “Voter Voice Platform,” the announcement said, in an attempt to influence the outcome of legislation.

Chamber members will also now have access to a host of other benefits offered by the CRA, including worker’s compensation insurance, employee hiring and training tools, music streaming licenses and point-of-sale systems.

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