Strength of community highlighted during Chamber luncheon
30 Jan 2014
Article By Fremont Tribune | Stephen Rickerl
Businesses receiving awards Wednesday during the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Awards Luncheon at Midland University highlighted the strong business community and the impact reliance on the community has in running a successful business.
The Chamber recognized Mid-Continent Irrigation as its Agricultural Business of the Year, Taylor Farms as its Farm Family Excellence Award, Fremont Electric as its Business of the Year with fewer than 25 employees and Jayhawk Boxes as the Business of the Year with more than 25 employees.
The awards are presented by the Fremont Tribune.
Todd Thompson of Mid-Continent Irrigation accepted the award on behalf of owners Travis and Angela Freund, who were out of town on business.
Thompson said it takes a network of local businesses in the greater Fremont area to make Mid-Continent successful, and without those relationships, the business would not have grown as it has.
“It’s a great business, it’s a great community,” he said. “It takes a lot of businesses in our community to make sure our business is successful as well.
“I’m glad to be part of a great organization,” Thompson added. “And without all the people in the community, this would not be possible.”
Bill Taylor of Taylor Farms agreed. He said his company regularly does business with many of the other award recipients, and it is the support of the business community, as well as the community at large that has allowed his family’s business to grow for five generations.
“It’s a great honor. We couldn’t have done this without all our partners,” he said. “Our partners are every seed corn salesman, fertilizer dealer, car salesman and bank. If we didn’t have them, we’re nothing.”
Les Shallberg, who owns Fremont Electric with his wife, Koni, said his employees and the community have allowed him to grow from a part-time worker at Fremont Electric to eventual owner of a successful small business.
“The community of Fremont has made a huge impact on the success of Fremont Electric as we have worked side-by-side with other local businesses and have felt the need to do business locally,” he said. “The Fremont community is blessed to have so many great organizations.”
Justin Hill, president and owner of Lawrence Paper Company, the parent company of Jayhawk Boxes, said the company appreciates the honor and has enjoyed doing business in Fremont.
The company began in Lawrence, Kan., in the 1880s and set up shop in Fremont in the 1950s in order to remain competitive.
“We enjoy being here,” Hill said. “We were doing quite a bit of business with Hormel out of Lawrence, and when we decided to move up here we knew that ultimately to remain competitive and continue to serve Hormel we were going to have to have a presence up in this area.”
Hill joked he was too young at the time to know for sure how the company came to be called Jayhawk Boxes in the Cornhusker state.
“I’d like to know how that discussion went, but alas all the participants are gone. Perhaps it’s a testimony to the non-discriminatory nature of Nebraska business – they’ve supported us and we continue to thrive and do well,” Hill joked. “All I can say is perhaps the Kansas football record against Nebraska over the years has served as some sort of atonement.”
Chamber officials also recognized Allison Monson as its Diplomat Rookie of the Year, and Scott Givens as both Diplomat of Year and Gavel Award winner.