2021 Salute to Small Business Award Recipients Announced

May 4, 2021Laurin Kocurek, Vice President Operations & Communications

2021 Salute to Small Business Award Recipients Announced

The Abilene Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Abilene Chamber Salute to Small Business Awards. The Salute to Small Business Awards Luncheon, which took place the afternoon of May 4, is the Chamber’s annual celebration to honor the impact small business has on our local economy.

Challenge has become a large part of our vocabulary over the last year. Between COVID and SNOVID – our small business community has shown grit and determination in navigating the many challenges that have been put in their path,” said Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce. “That’s why this year’s Small Business Week is perhaps more important than ever before. It’s a time that we, as a community, pause to celebrate the job creators, the risk-takers and those whose bodies and minds are filled with the entrepreneurial spirit.”

This year’s recipients are:

New Business of the Year, FireCycle Abilene; Small Business Community Investment Award, IN-Focus Digital; Small Business Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Dr. Kelsi Mangrem with Holland Hearing; Family-Owned Business of the Year Award, Sitzes Self Storage

Get to know the award winners

New Business of the Year Award

FireCycle Abilene is a unique, 100 percent local, fresh take on indoor cycling that motivates, inspires, and encourages riders to be their best all while getting an amazing calorie burning, heart pumping workout in low lighting and to loud music! We take you out of the everyday and make sweating so much fun.

Small Business Community Investment Award
IN-Focus Digital is a full-service advertising and marketing company that has worked with for-profit and nonprofit organizations since 2001. IN-Focus Digital and its sister company, IN-Focus STUDIO 302 are members of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce. Kayla Christianson, the Chief Encouragement Officer, serves on a number of nonprofit boards, and is a member of the Rotary Club of Abilene. She will serve as District Governor for Rotary District 5790 beginning in July. Their work has promoted and recorded ballet, childcare, theatre, home ownership, banking, even Abilene itself, as well as working to end domestic violence and homelessness.

During early 2020, IN-Focus Digital produced free Small Business Spotlight videos allowing for Abilene‘s small businesses to promote the changes they were making during the pandemic and advertise their business on social media. To date, the 75 videos have been view hundreds of thousands of times.

Small Business Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Dr. Kelsi Mangrem purchased Holland Hearing Center in 2016 after deciding to go into business for herself. Her main goal was to set Holland Hearing Center, an already high performing hearing healthcare practice, as the Big Country’s “gold standard” and “go to” for hearing healthcare. Kelsi and her team aim to not only be the obvious choice for hearing/tinnitus related issues, but to also provide services and hearing help to anyone in need. Having been voted as the “Best Hearing Aid Provider” for 16 consecutive years, you can be sure you’re not only partnering with experts, but also with those who truly care.

Family-Owned Small Business of the Year Award
Established in 1985 by Oscar Jean Sitzes, Sitzes Self Storage is a 3rd generation family business providing clean and secure self-storage to Abilene and the Big County. As one of the industry pioneers in Abilene, “O.J.” established the company foundation of faith, family, and community. This foundation paired with a long-term strategic vision has allow Sitzes Self Storage to circumvent many of the common pitfalls plaguing intergenerational family businesses today. Steve Sitzes, the current President has built upon his father’s legacy with the help of his three sons Zach, Zane, and Tyler by expanding the business footprint to new markets and providing a first-class customer experience through technological adaptation.

This year’s luncheon also paid tribute to the Agriculture Family of the Year that is traditionally awarded during the Chamber’s Agriculture Scholarship Luncheon which was cancelled due to COVID-19. Awarded in partnership with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office – Taylor County, this year’s recipient is The Hogan Family.

The Hogan Family
Tricia and Ken Hogan are longtime residents of the Potosi area. As a hay producer, Ken farms forage sorghum, wheat, oats and coastal bermudagrass on over 500 acres. He also custom bales hay for the public, baling over 14,000 bales a year. In addition, he has provided hay to the Abilene Livestock Auction for over forty years. His farming career began with his future father-in-law in 1964 and has farmed his entire life except for a couple years that he served his country in Vietnam in the 1st Calvary Division.  Ken holds a degree in animal science from Texas Tech University, and in addition to his farming, Ken has served on the Potosi Water Board for many years. He is a deacon at Wylie Baptist Church where he and his wife, Tricia, devote their service currently. Together, they have three children and 12 grandchildren. Ken considers one of his greatest pleasures in agriculture as being able to farm with his son for the past 14 years.

Since 1908, the Abilene Chamber has served as a catalyst for business growth, a convener of leaders and influencers, and a champion for developing and promoting the economy and quality of life. For more information on the Chamber and the 1,200 businesses it represents, visit www.abilenechamber.com




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