2021 Brainerd Lakes Chamber Celebration of Excellence
The Brainerd Lakes Chamber's Celebration of Excellence presented by Widseth is the largest signature event of the year for our 1,000+ members to celebrate the accomplishments of the Lakes Proud Small Business of the Year Award recipient, Business Excellence Award recipient and Business Legacy Award recipient! We will also be recognizing the 30 year retirement for Mary Gottsch, Executive Director of the Bridges Academies.
Surround Yourself with the Dreamers, the Believers, the Planners and the Doers!
What do the 3 award finalists have in common? They all had a dream that they believed in and made it come true! Celebrate their Sparkling Stories of Success with us!
The Brainerd Lakes Chamber and Cub Foods are excited to present the 3rd Lakes Proud Small Business of the Year Award to Close Converse Commercial Real Estate | Business Brokerage which is a small business that truly personifies the spirit of entrepreneurship, pride and success! The Lakes Proud Small Business of the Year Award honors a Brainerd Lakes Chamber business that employs up to 20 team members with the following attributes: leadership, innovation, employee investment and community service.
Since 1995, Close Converse has specialized in providing the highest quality commercial, land and business brokerage services. Like most companies, Close Converse started small, with Kevin Close working as the sole broker for the company together with an assistant. In 2002, Kevin's son, Chris Close, joined Kevin and Rod Converse in the company. Today, Chris Close is the sole owner of Close Converse. They have four full-time salespeople and three full-time support staff. The company has three unique divisions: a commercial real estate division, a land sales division (Land Radar) and a business brokerage division.
What makes Close Converse unique compared to other real estate organizations is that all their agents work together as a team, allowing them to focus on their number one priority, their clients. From its conception, Close Converse has always been about serving people. Every week the team recites out loud their values statement which is "Together we will serve every individual with passion, integrity and excellence, always delivering more than is expected." Their hope is that long after a transaction closes, their customers and clients will remember the relationships that were formed with the individuals on their team.
Joining the cast of legendary Business Excellence Award winners is Lexington Manufacturing! They will be recognized for their leadership, innovation, employee investment and community service. Hy-Tec Construction is proud to sponsor the Business Excellence Award and present it to Lexington Manufacturing during the Brainerd Lakes Chamber's premiere event of the year!
Lexington is a world class manufacturer serving the commercial window and door industry from coast to coast and also in international markets. Its core concepts are to Build Relationships, Create Solutions and Deliver Value. This formula has worked well and has driven sales from $40 million five years ago to projected sales in 2020 in the $80 million range.
The Brainerd operations got started a little over twenty years ago in the Northern Pacific buildings headed up by Mike Dillon who is now president of all Lexington's operations. Lexington started out in a garage on Lexington Avenue in the Twin Cities back in the early eighties and has developed into a premier component manufacturer to Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States. Lexington is a growth oriented multi million dollar company but still has its roots & culture as family based.
Ron and Al Lindner
Headlining the Celebration of Excellence will be the presentation of the Business Legacy Award by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber and RiverWood Bank to Ron and Al Lindner! Ron and Al Lindner are true innovators within fishing industry. In 1968, they, along with members of the Nisswa Guides League, created the Lindy Tackle Company and invented the Lindy Rig used by millions of walleye angers (over 70 million sold)! Their talents and outreach grew when they founded In-Fisherman magazine in 1975, a leading national publication in the freshwater industry. In-Fisherman Television and Radio began in 1979 and became hugely successful. Their sons, James and Daniel, joined Al and Ron in 2003 to established Lindner Media Productions.
Al and Ron have remained an important ingredient in the success of Lindner Media, which currently produces five outdoor television shows (Angling Edge, Fishing Edge, Ultimate Fishing Experience, The Ontario Experience, and AnglingBuzz). Both Al and Ron have received numerous industry recognitions, including belonging to the Normark Hall of Fame, the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame. Al is also in the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and received the Samuel C. Johnson Fishing Journalist of the Year award for his contributions to the industry. They have written hundreds of published articles, published multiple books on fishing and created the famed 'F+L+P=Success' fishing formula.
Ron unfortunately passed away in November 2020 before we could present this award to him. Ron's legacy will live on through his impact on recreational fishing and his personal contributions to the Brainerd Lakes Area.
Retirement Recognition for Mary Gottsch, Executive Director of Bridges Academies
Honoring 30+ Years of Chamber Service!
Presentation by Past Chamber President Lisa Paxton
TABLE & SEATING OPTIONS:
DAZZLE TABLE ($1,000)
- Prime seating for 8 at a reserved table up front
- Plated dinners for 8
- Complimentary bottle of champagne
- Funds help support our LakesPROUD regional movement
SPARKLE TABLE ($750 or $475 upgrade for tables purchased in 2020)
- Reserved table for 8
- Plated dinners for 8
INDIVIDUAL SEATS ($75 / Ticket) Individual Seats will be available for purchase based on availability. Contact Sue Galligan for availability and to purchase 218-822-7119 firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Reserved seating for 1
- Plated dinner for 1
Add Pre-Set Bottle of Wine at your Table
- Pinot Noir, Monfrer $40
- Merlot, Kenwood $40
- Pinot Grigio, Bottega Vinaia $40
- Zinfandel, Gnarly Head $35
- Cabernet, Kenwood $40
- Chardonnay, Diora $40
Support the LakesPROUD Movement
Help us keep it local! www.lakesproud.com
- $50 LakesPROUD Donation
- $100 LakesPROUD Donation
WHAT TO WEAR
Put your best "glittery" foot forward at the Celebration of Excellence and show off your sparkle! We invite attendees to have fun celebrating our theme "All that Glitters" by donning their brightest attire. Grab a sequin bow tie, bedazzled jacket, or glittery dress and get ready for an evening of excitement! As always, we encourage our guests to wear what will make them feel comfortable.
SOCIAL HOUR SPONSOR ($1,500 includes a Sparkle Table with reserved seating for 8 or $1,000 without a Table)
Be the "Host with the Most"!
- Signature drink named after your business
- Stage recognition
- Signage at both bars
Add to the evening's celebration with music!
- Personalize the evening with your music request
- Stage recognition
Ooh and Aaw the night away with an amazing light show!
- Stage recognition
5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
- Social Hour
- Cash Bar
- Professional Photos by
- Celebration of Excellence - Sponsored by Widseth
- Retirement Recognition of Mary Gottsch, Executive Director of Bridges Academies
- Recognition of volunteers, committees, and retiring board members
- Plated Dinner
- 3 Course (Gluten Free) Meal- TBD
- Dessert- TBD
- Lakes Proud Small Business of the Year Award Presentation - Sponsored by Cub Foods
- Business Excellence Award Presentation - Sponsored by Hy-Tec Construction
- Business Legacy Award Presentation - Sponsored by RiverWood Bank
ABOUT THE AWARDS
The traditional Business Excellence Award, which goes to an outstanding local business, the Business Legacy Award, which celebrates individual lifetime achievements as well as community and economic contributions and the Lakes Proud Small Business of the Year Award which will recognize a small business that personifies the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Brainerd Lakes Area!
For all three awards, a nomination/application process was announced in April 2020. After the deadline passed at the end of May, a ten-member volunteer selection committee independently scored and discussed each applicant before choosing the recipients.
Past recipient of the Lakes Proud Small Business of the Year Award:
- Jack Pine Brewery (2018)
- Brainerd General Rental (2019)
Past recipients of the Business Excellence Award include:
- Widseth Smith Nolting (2012)
- Crosswoods Golf (2013)
- Grand View Lodge (2014)
- Ultra Paws LLC (2015)
- Just for Kix (2016)
- CTC (2017)
- Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (2018)
- 3 Cheers Hospitality (2019)
- Stewart C. Mills Jr. (2016)
- Arnie Johnson (2017)
- Paul and Lynn Hunt (2018)
- Dutch and Irma Cragun (2019)