The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce on Friday celebrated the county’s small businesses for the 25th year. The Small Business of the Year this year: Comfenergy.
“Without the Chamber staff and just the Chamber in itself, we wouldn’t be able to be doing what we’re doing here today,” said Comfenergy Vice President for Sales and Marketing Justin Dobson. “Almost everybody in this room owns a small business, works for a small business, or supports small business in some way, form or fashion.”
According to Chamber president and CEO Tony Howard, that was more than 600 people—the largest attendance of any Loudoun Chamber event in history.
Tarara Winery won both People’s Choice Award and Loudoun Destination Business of the Year.
“We stand here and we receive this Destination of the Year for Loudoun County, but Loudoun County as a whole has become this incredible destination, and there’s no one winery, no one brewery, no one place—it’s all of us working together,” said Winemaker and General Manager Jordan Harris. He also said the winery today is a reflection of its founders’ desire to save a piece of green Loudoun: “The whole concept of Tarara was always that Whitie [Hubert] and Margaret [Hubert] together wanted to show people a really neat piece of property in Loudoun County, and keep a portion of Loudoun County as that rural green space and allow people to enjoy it.”
And Leesburg coworking business 880 Harrison offered every finalist a free membership in their space.
Clark Virtual Business Solutions won Virtual Business of the Year, which owner Ronalyn Wentz said happened after she was encouraged to apply over several years.
The Loudoun Free Clinic won Nonprofit Organization of the Year. Board Chairman Bill Schmidt said over the 25 years the Small Business Awards have been held, “Loudoun County has grown tremendously, but that means a lot of gaps, a lot of holes, a lot of big challenges. The Loudoun Free Clinic and all of the nonprofits in Loudoun County work hard every day to plug those gaps, to fill those holes and to build a safety net, for the least, most vulnerable citizens of Loudoun County.”
But, he said, they cannot do it without the support of the community.
Little Austria won Main Street Business of the Year.
“Having a business in Loudoun County is very special,” said cofounder Helene Gallent. “From the very beginning we have received nothing but support from so many, be it from the Loudoun Chamber, from ChefScape Kitchen where we started this, from the Rotary, and from Loudoun County Economic Development. We see and feel that everyone wants us to succeed, and we don’t take this for granted.”
Conflict Kinetics won Technology Innovator of the Year. Founder Brian Stanley thanked his wife for going with him around the country as the business moved.
“We’ve been in business now for quite a while, and we’ve moved now six times,” Stanley said. “We’ve landed in Loudon County. We are absolutely loving the support and the people.”
Maid Brigade won Superior Service Business of the Year.
“It’s a near-impossible task to summarize in just one minute how much this award means to us,” said owner David Newland, pointing out the business has been at work for 31 years.
Club Pilates won Health and Wellness Business of the Year. Owner Ryan Ask also thanked the Chamber community, saying “each one of you who I’ve talked to has helped me be right here.”
Loudoun’s Top Entrepreneur of the Year was Northern Virginia Orthodontics founder Zack Casagrande, who could not attend the ceremony.
The evening also included a brief interlude to sing “Baby Shark” to celebrate the Washington Nationals’ World Series victory while former Loudoun Chamber chairman and Toth Financial Vice President Mitch Sproul led the song and clap in a shark costume.