PLANT CITY Four businesses and a nonprofit won top awards in an annual competition that took into account such factors as a firm’s community and charitable service.
A committee selected the winners in five categories at Thursday’s Business of the Year Awards Banquet. The 21st annual ceremony was sponsored by the Plant City Economic Development Council and Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce.
Besides community service, criteria included such factors as the reputation of the business and its financial impact, emcee Michael Cameron said.
The committee had a tough decision deciding among the three finalists in each category, Cameron said.
“Everybody here tonight is a winner,” he said.
Winners and finalists included:
Growing business of the year, Keel & Curley Winery. Other nominees were ITEX Trade Exchange and State Farm Insurance - Courtney Paat.
Small business of the year, O’Neal & Sons Upholstery. Other nominees included Lubrano Designs and Neumeister’s Candy Shoppe.
Mid-size business of the year, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union. Other nominees were Catering by the Family and I4 Power.
Large business of the year, Suncoast Community Health Centers. Other nominees included A Stepping Stone Air Conditioning and Patterson Truck Brokers.
A special award was presented to the Improvement League of Plant City. That award is given annually to a company or nonprofit for “exemplary community contributions.”
The Improvement League was singled out for the honor for its many activities, from tutoring for youth to sponsorship of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Arts Festival and Eagles youth football and cheerleading program.
Improvement League President Liesta Sykes said she could scarcely believe it when she was called to the front to accept the honors.
“We never expected such recognition. It was a total shock,” she said.