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For each of the five award categories, the Awards Gala Committee has selected the top three finalists to choose from in a live vote during the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 Business Awards Gala, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Each of the finalists is a business or business leader that has demonstrated outstanding growth, community involvement and overall contributions to the chamber of commerce. These individuals, businesses and organizations have significantly improved the quality of life in Manistee County. The winners will be announced on March 10 at the 2023 Business Awards Gala following a live vote from the audience.

We hope you can join us in celebrating these businesses and business leaders, and come ready for a formal evening of fun. Your ticket or table will include a complimentary signature cocktail or beer, musical entertainment featuring Will Cyprian, saxophonist, full-course dinner and dessert, champagne on the tables, awards program with the live vote, a social after party featuring Yellow Brick Road Dueling Pianos and a cash bar.

The Awards Gala Committee is proud to highlight the following businesses and individuals, who have gone above and beyond in 2022 to give back to our community, demonstrating success and innovation or exceptional leadership qualities within their organization.

Large Business of the Year

Sponsored by 6PM Hospitality, large business of the year nominees are:

  • Consumers Energy: This company continues to support our community in so many ways, from investing in local nonprofits to education on electric usage. This past year, they were involved in sponsoring and volunteering at Tight Lines for Troops, Victorian Sleighbell Parade, Manistee National Forest Festival and sponsoring chamber efforts in economic development. Consumers Energy is also at the forefront of cleaner, green energy and is continuing to grow sustainably while ensuring reliable service to its customers.
  • M R Products, Inc. home of Mr. Chain: This fourth generation, certified Women Owned Business for 15 years, is located in Copemish. M R Products, Inc. is critical to the community’s growth, providing 85 jobs to local residents year-round in a village of just shy of 200 people. As one of the primary providers of the plastic safety chain, they continue to work with the chamber, local and state governments on their expansion. M R Products, Inc. also regularly collaborates and/or participates regularly in programs provided by other local organizations, such as Consumers Energy, Northwest Michigan Works!, and hosts their own vaccination clinic administered by the health department.
  • Myotek: As manufacturers of Printed Circuit Board Assemblies, Electronic Assemblies and LED Lighting Solutions for the commercial and automotive industries, Myotek has continued on a path of sustainable growth at their Manistee facility. They recently implemented an employee development program, which trains and promotes existing team members to new positions. Expansion in the next year has Myotek looking at a 60% increase in team members, most to be hired from the immediate community. Finally, Myotek is an employer of choice, instilling their employees with core values of integrity, professionalism, diversity, inclusion and philanthropy.

Small Business of the Year

Sponsored by Boyer Agency, small business of the year nominees are:

  • 45 North Media/ Eagle 101.5 Manistee: As our local radio station, Eagle 101.5 has dedicated itself to the constant promotion of civic, nonprofit, religious and youth organizations within the community. By spreading the word about the efforts of these organizations, Eagle 101.5 has brought the community a sense of connection, a valuable information service and your favorite music hits.
  • Northern Spice Company: Has taken its business to the next level by creating local collaborations with other businesses. This growth has brought Northern Spice Company to the forefront of the downtown Manistee area, as they develop special spices in partnership with other local businesses and individuals. Innovative and progressive momentum is apparent in this business, as well as a strong sense of community.
  • Swidorski Bros. Excavating LLC: This family-owned business has been behind the scenes in Manistee County for 30 years, and has since expanded to over 40 various pieces of equipment and employs 15-20 local residents year-round. Their dedication to supporting the community is evident throughout 2022, participating in the Independence Day Parade, Manistee County Big Day of Serving and being involved with massive projects like the Hampton Inn & Suites Manistee or Buell Park improvements.

Emerging Business of the Year

Sponsored by Peterson McGregor Insurance, emerging business of the year nominees are:

  • Alissa Saylor Photography: Alissa Saylor Photography moved to downtown Manistee and opened a beautiful studio, remodeled from an unused building. Her work showcases our local beaches, highlighting the beauty of pure Michigan. Giving back to the community, she has donated to the Lighthouse Pregnancy Center and a prom photo experience for local teens.
  • Fricano’s Manistee River: Fricano’s was an investment in Manistee, during a risky time and at an expensive location. Acquiring a blighted and obsolete site, Ted Fricano took on extensive remodeling and functionality issues at great expense. Fricano’s adds an attraction to our Manistee Riverwalk while employing local residents and providing delicious food services.
  • Third Life Brewing Company: Jamieson Hanna is making his dream a reality with brewing expertise and friendly service. After working and collaborating with some of Michigan’s finest microbreweries, Jamieson struck out on his own to forge a new business model that utilizes new techniques in small-batch brewing. A community and outdoor recreation focus creates a uniquely northern Michigan experience in this micro-micro brew pub at the historic Iron Works building.

Community Action Award

Sponsored by Filer Credit Union,community action award nominees are:

  • Authentic 231: Taking initiative in the community takes effort, and after participating in the 2022 Independence Day Parade and the Victorian Sleighbell Parade, as well as the continued support of chamber programs and events, it is hard to disagree that Authentic 231 is making an impact in the community.
  • Manistee Proud: This group has worked tirelessly, without thought of reward or recognition, to beautify the city of Manistee. Contributions have been made to the Riverwalk, weeding, planting flowers and cleaning up our community parks. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Manistee Proud at
  • Origins Walk: This monument is a testament to the history of our region, and demonstrates a collaborative effort between the Manistee County Historical Museum, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Manistee County Visitors’ Bureau. Together, they have provided the community with a gift of local history, ongoing education and a beautiful addition to the Manistee Riverwalk for years to come.

Lastly, the Business Leader of the Year (sponsored by 4Front Credit Union) finalists demonstrated exceptional leadership within their organizations and goes above and beyond for the community. We are proud to announce Shawn Middleton, of Spicer Group, Inc., Tad Reed, of Ludington Beverage, and Zach Zupin, of Zupin Crane,LLC, as finalists for this category.

Every finalist chosen above is deserving of the award and recognition of their hard work throughout the year, and it is the popular vote during the 2023 Business Awards Gala on March 10 that will determine the winner of each category. Make your voice heard and join us at Little River Casino Resort, black and white formal attire encouraged.

The Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit 501c(6) organization. Our mission is to build a dynamic and sustainable organization to serve the business, workforce and economic development needs of all in Manistee County. You can contact the Awards Gala Committee at 231-723-2575 or