Clovis Chamber of Commerce Holds Salute to Business Awards Dinner

The Clovis Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Membership and Salute to Business Dinner on Jan. 17 at Clovis Veterans Memorial District. (Photo by Ron Sundquist)

By Carole Grosch | Contributed

Laughter, conversation, and beautifully decorated tables with tall vases of long-stemmed red roses greeted guests Thursday evening during the Clovis Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership and Salute to Business Dinner.

Excitement was in the air as awards were to be presented to those special individuals and businesses putting forth extra effort for the Chamber and the Clovis community. The 2016 Board was on hand to be recognized for its work while the 2017 Board was sworn in.

On the agenda was also a surprise announcement for the 2016 Professional Business Woman of the Year award.

Florence Dunn, 2015 recipient of the Professional Business Woman of the Year made the surprise presentation to outgoing Chair and SCCCD District Trustee Deborah Ikeda.

“It’s been a wonderful year, this past year,” said Ikeda. “I couldn’t have done it without the Chamber.”

Just a few of Ikeda’s services to the community include Board Member of the St. Agnes Hospital Board of Trustees, The Citizens Review Panel for Measure B, Board of Trustees Member for CHSU, President of Friends of the Fresno County Library and Board of Director’s for the Women’s Foundation of California.

Jerry Cook introduces the Board of Directors of the Clovis Veterans’ Memorial District and Layla Forstedt presents the Einer Cook Award to Tom Wright, a member of the board.

In the audience were students from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Class of 2017. Along with the expert instruction of Rob Geist, Vice President and Investment Program Manager at Central Valley Community Bank, and mentoring of local volunteer business leaders, young entrepreneurs learn how to succeed in business.

“We get to see it first hand,” said Pratham, a seventh grader at Alta Vista who is interested in starting a ride share business. “We’ve learned about marketing, legal aspects and how to make business plans.”

Jai, an eighth grader at Granite Ridge, wants to create a water-saving device.

“We’ve come to understand how the business world works and cover topics on how to succeed,” he said. “It inspired me to start a small business.”

Mark Blackney, CEO and President of the Chamber of Commerce welcomed members and guests “to honor the 2016 team and welcome the new faces in 2017.”

Diana Hunnicutt, Membership Director, presented Kyle Loreto the Ambassador of the Year Award.

Ikeda introduced incoming Chair, Layla Forstedt of the Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“The Chamber Board is made up of a diverse group of business leaders from the Clovis community and it is a pleasure working with each and every one of them,” said Forstedt.

The Small Business award was presented by the 2015 recipients, Kathy and Mark Schroeder of Sierra Specialty Insurance Services, to the 2016 recipients, Julie and Scott Glenn of House of JuJu.

(L to R): Kathy and Mark Schroeder the presenters of the award look on as Justin and Scott Glenn listen to Julie Glenn, as she gives the acceptance speech for the “Small Business of the Year Award. Scott and Julie Glenn operate the House of Ju Ju and On The Edge Coffee House in Old Town Clovis.

“Our mission is, ‘Strive to follow the Golden Rule,’” said Julie. “We want to make a real connection. Without family, nothing else matters. Old Town community is unlike anything we’ve seen. It’s been an honor to be a part of all this. Staff and customers are family.”

In late fall, House of JuJu is planning a move to the Realty Concepts building currently under construction at the North side of Centennial Plaza in Old Town Clovis. 

“Our community should be based on diversity, to make Clovis feel like home to more people than before,” said Scott.

Jerry Cook, son of Einar Cook, presented the Clovis Veterans Memorial District with the Einar Cook Award of Excellence. Considered a hidden gem, CVMD has facilities that are rented to provide funding for schools, grants and community programs, provides free meeting space for veterans and youth organizations and discounts to service clubs.

The Einar Cook Award was named after Clovis farmer, businessman and visionary, Einar Cook. A Clovis native, Cook had several businesses, inventions and patents. Through farming, education and community service he made numerous contributions to the city of Clovis and in 1975 was inducted as a charter member of the Clovis Hall of Fame.

Sponsors for the evening’s festivities included Fresno and Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau, Clovis Veterans Memorial District (CVMD), Safety World, Inc., Clovis Community College, House of JuJu, Republic Services and Donaghy Sales, California Health Sciences University (CHSU) and Moore than SEO.

The Clovis Chamber of Commerce helps businesses and members grow through networking, marketing and community involvement. For membership information, call 559-299-7363.