The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce held its Installation Banquet and Small Business of the Year awards on Monday, Nov. 6, and there were uniformed law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders in the crowd.
The reason became clear when Judy Rupp, of the Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island, announced the winners of their annual Businessperson of the Year award.
She spoke about how visitors, residents and businesspeople feel safe on the Island.
“This feeling of security that we all enjoy is not accidental,” Rupp said. “We have agencies that keep us, our visitors and our property safe.
“During Hurricane Irma, the Island was shut down to protect homes, businesses and property from looting, fire and theft,” she added. “We are fortunate to have emergency rescue right here on the Island with lifesaving skills to treat us and get us where we need to be. Our waters are patrolled for the safety of all.”
After introducing the law enforcement department and fire and safety personnel, Rupp said, “These agencies are our Rotary Businesspersons of the Year, our Anna Maria Island First Responders. Thank you for all you do.”
After the dinner ended, Chamber President Deb Wing presented the Chamber Board of Directors and the team that chose the winners of the Chamber Small Business of the Year awards for three sizes: 1 to 5 employees; 6 to 15 employees and more than 15 employees.
In the small category, Grooms Motors, Advanced Insurance Brokerage, Sugar Beach Digital, The Hive Creations, AMI Health and Fitness were runners-up to Jen and Mark Bowman at Keller-Williams on the Water.
In the medium category, Island Vacation Properties was runner-up to Allegra Printing and Signs Now of Bradenton.
In the large category, Boyd Insurance was runner-up to Seafood Shack Marina, Bar and Grill.