Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
By Margie Wuebker
Area chamber presents annual awards
  NEW BREMEN - The Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce issued three awards during its annual meeting Tuesday at Faith Alliance Church.
Jack Buschur of Buschur Electric in Minster was named outstanding business person of the year. He established the business in 1976 and continues to provide world-class service, according to chamber executive director Scott Frey.
"Jack has given very generously of his time, talents and resources in an effort to make our communities better places to live, work and play," Frey added. "He is a person who has literally changed the face of our communities through his good works."
Jeff and Deb Eschmeyer of Harvest Sun Farm in New Knoxville were honored as recipients of the Community and Business Pride Award. The operation at the Eschmeyer homestead provides a way for local residents to enjoy organic, farm-fresh produce in an affordable, manageable way.
"Their outreach has had a positive impact upon local public awareness of the benefits of a community-supported agriculture program," Frey said.
Frey presented the Special Achievement Award to Mike Chalk, president of the New Knoxville Park Board, in recognition of the group's ongoing commitment to developing and improving parks as well as green space in the village.
"The tireless efforts of the New Knoxville Park Board have given the community something to enjoy and be proud of for generations to come," Frey said during the plaque presentation.
Guest speaker Matt Appenzeller, executive director of the Southern Ohio Chamber Alliance, reviewed the benefits of chamber membership. They include two health care programs, a prescription drug discount card, document management, a dental care program and comprehensive consulting and claims administration in the area of workers' and unemployment compensation.
In other business Frey,
• welcomed five new businesses during the past year - Doggie Doolittles, Intricate Designs, NAPA Auto Parts, Inspiration Entertainment and Living Music LLC.
• reviewed a continuing collaboration with local schools and businesses relating to career development and awareness.
• announced the chamber has launched an upgraded website with the assistance of online marketing consultant Crosspointe.
Traffic has increased 4 percent with visitors spending three minutes on the site - double the former time.
• displayed an award to be presented to outgoing chamber board president Steve Gruber, who could not attend due to work commitments.
• noted current membership has increased to 311. Additionally, the organization enjoyed its best year financially since 2010 due, in large part, to the June visit by more than 2,500 people in conjunction with the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, the new banner ad program and the wine tasting and art fundraiser.
• introduced recently named administrative assistant Stephanie Burkard. She replaces Pam Sager, who retired.
• announced the chamber will be sponsoring a barbecue chicken fundraiser 4-6 p.m. March 13 at the New Bremen American Legion Hall. Tickets are available at the chamber office or Western Ohio True Value Hardware.
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