A decades-old family business, a locally owned fast-food restaurant and a military contractor were given awards by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce Wednesday for their charitable efforts to help the community.
The annual Mesa Chamber Awards Luncheon recognizes businesses that have shown an interest in the community beyond the normal course of doing business, said Charlie Deaton, the chamber's president and CEO. This year's winners are:
- Thompson Auto Repair & Towing, small business award.
- Chick-fil-A at Riverview, mid-size business award.
- Nammo Talley, large business award.
"These are businesses who are serving on various boards, whether they're chamber or other agency boards, nonprofit boards like the United Way and Feed the Family, those things that make a business a little different than someone who just simply is out to make a profit," Deaton said.
Thompson Auto Repair & Towing is a family business that has been in Mesa since 1967. It has long supported youth team sports and helps out the community in many other ways, said owner Bryan Vivian.
"The community is our business," he said. "Without it, we wouldn't be in business. I believe sports is a good foundation for kids. It's a good way to get things started."
Chick-fil-A at Riverview, owned by Brandon and Julie Barrett, supports schools, teachers, firefighters and various charity events.
"In the restaurant, we host events to ... thank the teachers of our community and the firefighters," Julie Barrett said. "We've held local events to give free meals to the families to show our appreciation for the service they provide."
Nammo Talley's 550-acre campus in northeast Mesa develops, tests and manufactures a wide range of propellant-based products. Employees there have always been self-motivated to help the community, said Steve Wagner, president.
"When you live and work in the community, you really have a responsibility to be part of that, and that's what the key is with our community program," he said. "(During a recession) there's actually a bigger responsibility on the part of companies to reach out and support the people around you who may not be in the best of times."
Other business awards included Haws Flowers & Gifts, which received the community service award, and Organ Stop Pizza and Rockin R Ranch, which received 2009 tourism awards. Also, Dave Muth, former general manager of the Hilton Phoenix-East Mesa, received the tourism award in memoriam. There are a lot of businesses in Mesa that are actively involved in the community, so choosing the recipients of these awards is always difficult, Deaton said.
"We hope it means something to the individual businesses, and to the managers and owners of those businesses, that they're being recognized because it is much more difficult to give up volunteer time and provide leadership to the various organizations in the community when you have a downturn in the economy," Deaton said. "But fortunately businesses have continued to be active, no matter how bad the economy gets, because it's a way, frankly, to work our way out of the economy issues. If you're out there working and networking, and making a difference in the community, people notice that and it can mean a great deal to the business reputation if you're noted that way."