Thursday, December 8 2022

The Corvallis Chamber of Commerce will host its 74th annual Celebrate Corvallis event on March 18 to honor local businesses and community members at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center on the campus of Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

At the event, accolades are presented to local businesses and community members by the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce.

Each recipient will receive a “fantasy trophy,” according to Simon Date, president of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, and time to deliver a speech. There will also be time during the event to reflect on obituaries. In total, the event should last about two hours.

Voting will open in the coming weeks closer to the event and will be available through the Chamber’s website.

Tables for the event were previously sold to raise funds for the Chamber. These funds will be reinvested in Corvallis to support local businesses and other philanthropic efforts.

“For us, this is a big deal because this will be the first big event for the community,” Date said. “It will be a bit like the first dog shot in outer space; we’ll see how it goes. Everyone is excited about it.

Last year’s 2021 event was canceled due to COVID-19. This year’s event embraces the pandemic with
a “Maskerade” theme.

“It will look like a normal event, just with fewer people,” Date said.

Honors include Small, Medium and Large Business of the Year as well as First, First Junior and First Senior Citizen of the Year. There are also categories for Businessman of the Year, Patron of the Arts, Sustainable Business of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Nonprofit Organization of the Year and public choice.

Applications were opened approximately three months before the event. The local community was invited to nominate companies for each of the selected categories. Applications are then reviewed by the Chamber to ensure that each candidate meets the requirements. Five nominees are selected for each category, in addition to Nonprofit of the Year and People’s Choice, which have 10.

Applications are left anonymously. For some business owners, like Adrienne Fritze, being nominated may come as a surprise. Fritze is co-owner of Conundrum House, which consists of a library of mystery books, a games room, and a gallery that features the works of both Fritze and co-owner Mark van der Pol. Fritze is also co-founder of Remarkable Arts, a place where Frtize and van der Pol share their passion for using technology and art to transform the human experience. Conundrum House is nominated for Small Business of the Year and Fritze is nominated for Patron of the Arts.

“Just being nominated is such an honor,” Fritze said. “I didn’t know anyone knew what I was doing.”

Each category will be reviewed by a different selection committee. A total of 47 people are involved in choosing the recipients of these awards.

Receiving these accolades could also help businesses and nonprofits gain greater public awareness.

“It would open people’s eyes to exactly what we do,” said Michelle Robinson, executive director of Furniture Share, which is nominated for nonprofit of the year. “It would just get our name out there…It would also open the doors to new grants…Would open the door to being able to serve more families in need.

Furniture Share is a local nonprofit that redistributes donated furniture, runs a Beds for Kids program, and provides food boxes. They also provided a rapid response to damage caused by intense fires during the summer of 2021.

Raising local awareness through receiving these awards could be the next big break in some companies’ entrepreneurial success.

“Then we can start hiring people, creating jobs in this world around here related to games, creativity, writing, design,” Fritze said. “We could contribute more than we currently do.”

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