CHELSEA — Shock quickly turned to smiles and celebratory high fives at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea on Wednesday morning, as members of the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce presented the theater with the 2012 Business of the Year award.
"I'm just thrilled," said Guy Sanville, artistic director for the theater company. "I don't know what to say. What a great honor to be not only nominated for but also selected as a recipient. It doesn't happen every day."
The annual business awards are presented to two chamber members that demonstrate an ability to advocate for the business community and promote and develop a vital business environment in Chelsea, Bob Pierce, executive director of the chamber of commerce said.
Businesses are selected through a public nomination process and voted on by past award recipients. Criteria for the award includes any business that displays innovative ideas and services; contributes to the economic impact of the city; provides services that meet the needs of the Chelsea area community; and enhances the uniqueness of the community image.
"Chelsea is a very special place," Sanville said. "I am proud to call it my home. It's a great place to live and raise a child.
"This type of appreciation and nod from our business colleagues means more than I can say. We all work hard here, and we're lucky and privileged to be a part of this community. Awards like this give us the encouragement to keep moving forward."
Founded in 1991 by Hollywood actor and Chelsea resident Jeff Daniels, the Purple Rose Theatre celebrated its 20th season in 2010. Since then, Sanville said support from the public has grown every year.
"I never thought I would live in a rural community, but I'm glad I do," he said. "Everyone puts the city first and wants to see local businesses succeed. We wouldn't be here without the community's support."
Pierce said since the theater opened, its live performances have drawn countless visitors and thousands of tourist dollars to the city.
Chelsea Lanes sees positive growth
When residents think of economic restoration, the name is synonymous with Chelsea Lanes. The bowling alley, located at 1180 S. Main St., is the recipient of the 2012 Small Business of the Year award.
The company has been a staple in the community, providing support for local nonprofit charities and groups through discount bowling fundraisers for Chelsea residents since 1963.
"I'm proud of our accomplishments and proud of the community itself," owner Eddie GreenLeaf said. "I don't know what we did that was so special to deserve this honor, but it's pretty overwhelming to say the least."
Pierce said this is the first year that a chamber business was selected unanimously by voters on the first round of ballots since starting the awards in 2004.
"We're humbled deeply by this honor," GreenLeaf said. "We have a great staff, both past and present, that have led to our success."
GreenLeaf said the business continues to grow, and recently underwent a renovation to add dart boards, water pong, and other activities. The bowling alley is currently planning a Super Bowling Party in honor of Super Bowl XLVII.
"We'll have a buffet and the game projected on large screen TVs around the lanes," he said.
Information on the party has not been finalized, but will be posted on the Chelsea Lanes Facebook page.
The formal presentation of the 2012 Business of the Year awards will take place on Feb. 21 at the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce's annual membership meeting at Chelsea Comfort Inn.
For more information, visit http://www.chelseamichamber.org/.