Chamber awards businesses of the year, community awards

September 15, 2023

Representatives of West Shore Bank pose for a photo with the bank’s award. Photo submitted by Chamber Alliance of Mason County.

Chamber awards businesses of the year, community awards

LUDINGTON — West Shore Bank was named the 2023 Business of the Year by the Chamber Alliance of Mason County Wednesday night during its annual awards dinner at The Lake House. Additionally, Hungry Howie’s of Ludington was awarded Small Business of the Year and The Oriole Giving Tree was awarded the Community Service Award.

West Shore Bank President and CEO Ray Biggs attributed the success of West Shore Bank to a team effort, recognizing and thanking staff, board members and customers in attendance.

“In addition to assisting people and businesses to improve their financial well-being… West Shore Bank supports the community by giving scholarships to local students, hosting events that give back to school music programs, and creating jobs that encourage the next generation to do the same,” said Brandy Miller, president and CEO of the Chamber Alliance. “They continue to uplift, educate, and give back to the local communities they serve.”

Pat Patterson, left, with Brandy Miller. Photo submitted by Chamber Alliance of Mason County.

The bank was honored not only for providing excellent service, but also by being a vital member of the community and giving back through scholarships, sponsorships and service.

Other finalists for Business of the Year were Ludington Bay Brewing Company and OxyChem. 

Hungry Howie’s of Ludington owner Pat Patterson delivered remarks recognizing his 20 years in the pizza business, 50 years of the brand, and numerous family members and employees who helped him along the way.

“Hungry Howie’s of Ludington is more than just a local pizzeria; it’s a thriving business that has made a mark in Mason County,” Miller said. “Their outstanding volume of business ranks them in the top 15 percent of all Hungry Howie’s nationwide among 600 stores and is a testament to their active involvement in the local community.”

Other nominees for the 2023 Small Business of the Year were Fresh Coast Foam and Lakeshore Motorsports & Marine.

The Oriole Giving Tree Project was initiated by Tara Autrey and Becky Erickson and led by Heidi Urka, a group of parents, former educators and friends who came together to create annual fundraising events that would support students and families in need at Ludington Area School District.

Last year, 125 families were assisted with gift cards during the holiday season, which allowed them to choose items that best suit their needs while streamlining the process and avoiding duplication of services across school buildings.

Representatives from the Oriole Giving Tree. Photo submitted by Chamber Alliance of Mason County.

“Their goal is simple yet profound – to brighten the holidays for families in need by providing support and creating a sense of community through innovative projects and initiatives,” Miller said. “We honor the Oriole Giving Tree for unwavering commitment to uplifting our community during the holiday season, and we celebrate their dedication to making this a place where families can thrive and find support when they need it most.”

Other finalists for the 2023 Community Service Award included Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters (COVE) and Renee Pickard of Michigan Works West Central.

Five local business professionals were also named to the 2023 class of Future Five and received honors for excellence in their respective business fields. The honorees are Becky Foster, Kyle Gurzynski, Casey Lakari, Trent Lundquist and Kylie Mount. 

Those individuals, aged 21-40, are currently influencing the growth, prosperity, and quality of life in Mason County and demonstrate the ability to positively impact the area in the future through professional accomplishments and community involvement.  

“Our 2023 Future Five recipients serve as a reminder that they are not just the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of today,” Miller said. “They inspire us to embrace change and to continue to invest in the future.”