2016 Brainerd Lakes Chamber Celebration of Excellence Annual Dinner

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Name: 2016 Brainerd Lakes Chamber Celebration of Excellence Annual Dinner
Date: October 26, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM CDT
Registration: Sorry, public registration for this event has been closed.
Event Description:
The Brainerd Lakes Chamber invites you to celebrate your fellow Chamber Members' accomplishments, recognize our outstanding volunteers, and congratulate the recipients of the Business Excellence Award and NEW Business Legacy Award at the Celebration of Excellence Annual Dinner on Wednesday, October 26, at Cragun's Resort. Enjoy visiting with old friends, making new acquaintances, and sharing your business success stories!



After you've enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Cragun's top chefs, the Blue Ox Business Academy's Leadership Experience Class of 2016 will be recognized. The Leadership Experience is a nine-month program (10 full days!) that develops and inspires emerging leaders through experiences that help them to better understand themselves and their connections to a thriving community. Click here to learn more about the program and Class of 2016. 


Every year the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce recognizes an outstanding business for its entrepreneurial spirit and accomplishments. The Business Excellence Award shines the spotlight on one Brainerd Lakes Chamber member who has displayed our values in the following ways: Leadership, Workforce, Innovation and Community. Presented by Brainerd Dispatch, the 2016 Business Excellence Award will honor Just for Kix!

What started in 1981 when 120 kids responded to a newspaper ad, has grown to include 13 states, 200 youth programs, and 23,000 dancers. Needless to say, Just for Kix has an inspiring and colorful story to tell. Join us as we recognize the entrepreneurial spirit and accomplishments of Just for Kix and the Clough family and present them with the 2016 Business Excellence Award. 

Learn more about our 2016 Business Excellence Award recipient by reading the Brainerd Dispatch article about their history and accomplishments!


New for 2016! The Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce will present the Business Legacy Award to an individual who has achieved exceptional business success in his or her lifetime. We seek to recognize inspiring leadership that transcends business and leaves a legacy of community and economic vitality for generations to come. Present by RiverWood Bank, the Brainerd Lakes Chamber's inaugural 2016 Business Legacy Award will honor Stewart C. Mills Jr., an extraordinary individual who embodies these criteria: Leadership, Workforce, Innovation and Community.

Stewart C. Mills Jr.’s leadership has transcended through his business and will leave a legacy of community and economic vitality for generations to come. From humble beginnings when Fleet Wholesale Supply opened in 1955 to a family of 
successful companies, join us as we hear his inspiring journey and present the 2016 Business Legacy Award to Stewart C. Mills Jr.

Learn more about our 2016 Business Legacy Award recipient by reading the Brainerd Dispatch articles covering his history and accomplishments!


Individual event tickets are $45. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE BY CALLING SUE 218-822-7119 OR COLLEEN 218-822-7107. But if you're representing a business or have a group that would like to attend, we hope you consider one of our promotional opportunities:

Business Showcase Spectacular: FREE!
This year, we’ve replaced our traditional “decorate a table” sponsorship with a new opportunity to showcase your business to all attendees. Provide an eye-popping pièce de résistance that could include promotional items, products, flowers and/or assorted goodies that inspire oooh’s and aaah’s while marketing your business. Each showcase will be prominently displayed and given away to a randomly-drawn lucky winner at the conclusion of the event. (Suggested value is $100. Please deliver to the Chamber prior to October 26th or to Cragun’s Sports Center by noon on October 26th.)

Dinner Table Sponsor: $600 CLOSED
  • 1 reserved table with 8 seats and floral centerpiece bouquet
  • Business logo on the live event screen, website, and listed/linked
    on all digital and print materials
Dinner Table Sponsor with Lakes Proud Upgrade: $850 CLOSED
Set yourself apart and upgrade your table with a donation to the Lakes Proud “buy local” campaign! Receive all the benefits above, plus:
  • Front and center table placement
  • Lakes Proud “table flair”
  • 2 bottles of pre-set wine 
  • “Fast Pass” for the Lakes Proud cash bar

2 Bottles of Pre-Set Wine: $75
  • Salmon Creek Chardonnay
  • Beringer White Zinfandel
  • Salmon Creek Cabernet
  • Beringer Founders Estate Merlot


5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

  • Social Hour (appetizers and cash bar)

6:00 - 8:45 p.m.

  • Celebration of Excellence Welcome - Sponsored by Widseth Smith Nolting
  • Recognition of volunteers, committees, and retiring board members
  • Graduation of the Leadership Class of 2016
  • Plated Dinner
    • Salad- Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Lardons, Sweet Keeper Squash, Pecans, Cranberries (field greens, micro greens, chokecherry-honey cava dressing)
    • Supper- Ribeye Steak, Potato Crusted Scallops, Cabernet Demi (sauteed vegetables, braised leeks, mushrooms, duck confit hash)
    • Dessert- Dark Chocolate Flourless Torte (caramel popcorn, whipped cream, jazz milk sauce)
  • Business Excellence Award Presentation - Sponsored by Brainerd Dispatch
  • Business Legacy Award Presentation - Sponsored by Riverwood Bank

Music for the evening will be provided by the Blue Moon Quintet.


The Brainerd Lakes Chamber will present two awards at its fifth-annual Celebration of Excellence on October 26th - the traditional Business Excellence Award, which goes to an outstanding local business, and the new Business Legacy Award, which celebrates individual lifetime achievements as well as community and economic contributions. 
For both awards, a nomination/application process was announced in May 2016. After the deadline passed in mid-June, a ten-member volunteer selection committee independently scored and discussed each applicant before choosing the recipients.
“The number and the quality of this year’s applicants was amazing,” said Nate Grotzke, Close-Converse broker, chamber board member and 2016 business awards chair.  “It was exciting to learn about how each business started, the challenges they had to overcome, and the ultimate success they achieved.”  

Past recipients of the Business Excellence Award include:

  • Widseth Smith Nolting (2012)
  • Crosswoods Golf (2013)

  • Grand View Lodge (2014)

  • Ultra Paws LLC (2015)


Event Media:
Event Sponsors:

Celebration of Excellence

Business Excellence Award

Business Legacy Award

Lakes Proud Table Sponsors

Business Showcase Spectaculars

  • Jack Pine Brewery
  • CTC - Consolidated Telecommunications Company
  • Knute Nelson Home Care - Baxter
  • Grand View Lodge
  • Ideal Green Market Cooperative
  • Heartland Hospice 4744
  • Lakes Jam
  • Destiny Cruises LLC
  • Widseth Smith Nolting
  • Crow Wing Power
Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake
11000 Cragun's Drive
Brainerd, MN 56401

Date/Time Information:
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
5 p.m. - Social
6:30 p.m. - Plated dinner
7:30 p.m. - Celebration of Excellence program
Contact Information:
Sue Galligan 218-822-7119
Plated Dinner: $45 / person TICKETS AVAILABLE BY CALLING SUE 218-822-7119 OR COLLEEN 218-822-7107
Dinner Table Sponsor: $600 CLOSED
Dinner Table Sponsor with Lakes Proud Upgrade: $850 CLOSED
2 Bottles of Pre-Set Wine: $75
Business Showcase Spectacular: $0
Sponsor and Additional Items to Purchase Information