The city of Aurora recently honored six outstanding local businesses at its 16th annual Aurora Business Recognition Award ceremony, hosted by the city’s Business Advisory Board. The 2020 awards–delayed due to the ongoing pandemic–aired in a virtual format April 29 on AuroraTV and Facebook. The prerecorded ceremony is available to watch at AuroraTV.org, and more on the program is available at Aurora
The event specifically focused on businesses that have demonstrated innovation and creativity, great community impact and tremendous resiliency during COVID-19. The Chuck Hahn Small Business Advocate of the Year winner—an Aurora-South Metro Small Business Development Center award—also was recognized. This year’s winners are:
Small, Small Business Award: Envision Eye Care is a family-owned optometry practice founded in 2015 focuses on serving immigrant residents originating from countries spanning the globe. They are committed to the community, offering high-quality products and cutting-edge services at competitive prices. They also provide free eye exams and eyeglasses to nonprofit organizations.
Community Impact Award: Legends of Aurora,celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, is known for its excellent bar, friendly atmosphere and hospitality, and community involvement. Giving back is this central Aurora sports grill’s philosophy, and this father-and-son operation regularly donates food and funds to help out schools and nonprofits in Aurora.
Resiliency Award: Winchell’s Donut House, family-owned since 1993, had to think differently about how it could continue to serve customers during the pandemic. Their pivot strategies were successful, and they are stronger than ever. Through it all, they retained their staff of nine and their store remains a destination for neighborhood families.
Innovation & Creativity Award: The Wine Experience Café and Wine Cellar quickly pivoted in thewake of public health restrictions from hosting lively dinner parties and packed special event nights to wine dinners to go, upscale takeout and socially distant outdoor patio dining concerts.
Essential Heroes Honorable Mention Award: Create Cooking School continued to capture the heart of the community through cooking, investing in technology and training to move their passion to the online world and launching virtual classes with curbside ingredient pickup.
Essential Heroes Honorable Mention Award: Village Exchange Center helped deploy millions in relief funds and rental assistant to newly arrived residents, and distributed over 450,000 pounds of food, 35,000 pounds of prepared meals and nearly 19,000 hygiene packages to 6,740 people most impacted by the pandemic’s economic downturn.
Aurora-South Metro Small Business Development Center’s Chuck Hahn Small Business Advocate of the Year Award: Awarded to Stephanie Mufic, the Business Services and Economic Engagement Supervisor at Arapahoe/Douglas Works!, who was closely involved with the Business Recovery Task Forces for Arapahoe and Douglas counties to support the business community through the pandemic.