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Salem Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards Showcases the Growing Community

Written by Luis Ramirez on Jul. 10th, 2023
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Several businesses were honored at the Salem Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards.

One of the highlights of the event was the Salem Capitals being named the New Business of the Year after a successful foray into professional sports. 

The Capitals are a local professional basketball team in the TBL (The Basketball League) and recently wrapped up their second season.

Getting the word out has been one of the biggest obstacles the Capitals have had to overcome. Not many people had heard of the TBL. As word began to spread, the city of Salem has come out to support its newest sports franchise. 

“I think it’s huge because one of our biggest obstacles was the awareness factor in year one,” President and Team Market Owner Jason Conrad said. “This puts us on the map and shows us that we’re heading in the right direction.”

Another big winner of the evening was Bark Boys Inc., who won Best Business of the Year. They’ve been in the community for over 50 years and provide landscaping materials for commercial and residential customers in the Pacific Northwest. 

CASA of Marion County was named the Nonprofit of the Year by the chamber.

“CASA is deeply honored to be recognized as the 2023 Nonprofit of the Year,” CASA said via their website. “CASA proudly shares this award with all CASA staff and supporters, past and present.”

They help abused and neglected children by pairing them with volunteers in the community who become trained advocates who work with the children to ensure they are safe and find a permanent home to thrive.

For new businesses such as the Salem Capitals to survive and thrive, it’s a community effort. 

“Being part of the chamber and meeting other business owners led us on this path to find staff, sponsors, and volunteers,” Conrad said. “Our following and brand awareness helped, but it’s been a community effort. We’re still growing, but I think we’re on the right path.”

Year two was a major success for the Capitals as they continued building the brand and keeping the community involved. They had success on the court and ticket sales improved. 

“We averaged more fans, almost 100 percent of our sponsors stayed on board, we were out in the community a lot more and I think people are realizing we’re a say what we do and do what we say organization,” Conrad said. “I was excited because sometimes you work hard and don’t get to see the recognition, but to have this come abound so quickly was a blessing. Everything is going to keep growing.”

Other award winners at the Business of the Year Awards included Doneth & Sturdivant Wealth Advisors (Employer of the Year), Don Froylan Creamery (Agriculture, Processing or Manufacturing Business of the Year), Modern Building Systems (Workforce Development Leadership) and Zak Stone Photography (Small Business or Entrepreneur of the Year).

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