It was a jubilant atmosphere Wednesday night at the Village at Leesburg’s ChefScape, as many gathered to celebrate Leesburg’s small businesses, their fortitude and survival while weathering the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Kelly Burk expressed her delight in the return of the awards ceremony, the first one that has been held since 2019. She also applauded the perseverance of the business owners gathered that evening, and commended them for their commitment and dedication to Leesburg.
SimplyBe Coffee, a ministry of the Tree of Life nonprofit that provides employment opportunities to adults with special needs while serving up cups of joe, received the Community Ambassador Award.
“As a special education teacher for 34 years this is such a huge need,” Burk said. She added that she was looking forward to debuting a regular “Coffee with the Mayor” event at SimplyBe.
The Innovations Award went to AWL Creative @ A Wedding Loft, which provides a coworking space on King Street for women-owned businesses.
The Arts & Cultural Award went to The Clay & Metal Loft in Virginia Village shopping center. The shop provides classes for adults and children and popular summer camps.
The New & Expanding Business Award went to The Conche restaurant in the Village at Leesburg. The company was lauded for its commitment to expand and evolve, adding classes and camps to its popular dining offerings.
Finally, the evening’s biggest honor, the George C. Marshall Award, went to Eric Byrd of the Loudoun Small Business Development Center. Also chairman of the town’s Economic Development Commission, Byrd was recognized for his commitment to helping small business owners, particularly during the pandemic.