Venturi Honored as Traverse City Area Chamber 2019 Hagerty Small Business of the Year
TRAVERSE CITY, MI – A local distributing company that provides home and bath products to some of the country’s largest retailers and outlets was honored as the 2019 Hagerty Small Business of the Year by the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.
The winning business, Venturi, was honored this evening at the Small Business Celebration (SBC) Awards Ceremony held at Northwestern Michigan College’s Hagerty Center attended by 220 people. Venturi was founded by President and Owner Tim Dutmers in 2002.
In addition to the Hagerty Small Business of the Year Award, the Chamber also honored Anavon Technology Group in Traverse City with the SBC Summit Award, while 123 Speakeasy was awarded the SBC Emerging Business Award.
Venturi provides a variety of home and bath safety products, along with its first product, TarGard cigarette filters, to some of the country’s largest retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond, Meijer, Menards and the QVC home shopping network. It also provides direct consumer sales on the internet through companies like Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart and eBay. The company received state-wide recognition in 2018 as one of the “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” by the Michigan Celebrates Small Business Awards.
“They have a clearly defined growth strategy and a track record of successful execution,” said SBC Judge Todd Key, Director of Client Services and Retention for Hagerty which co-sponsors the Small Business Celebration with Priority Health and Northwestern Michigan College.
Anavon Technology Group was selected for the Small Business Celebration Summit Award. Anavon was launched almost 20 years ago by owner and co-founder Russ Madsen, and currently serves more than 4,000 clients across Michigan with a variety of services including telephone systems, security, cabling, computer and cell phone repair and cloud system services. The company built a 5,000 square foot Technology Center located at 1133 South Airport Road four years ago, and because of its continued growth, it is currently planning another expansion.
“It’s amazing to see Anavon’s growth over the past couple of years, and how it’s allowed them to start the expansion to their new property,” Key said. “From a family business perspective, it’s exciting to see how Russ Madsen is transitioning ownership over to his son Michael after all of these years.”
123 Speakeasy, a Prohibition-era themed bar located on West Front Street in Downtown Traverse City, was awarded the SBC Emerging Business Award, which focuses on start-ups in business for less than three years. Co-owned by Christine and Taylor Keefe, 123 Speakeasy was among five Emerging Business Award finalists in a separate pool of SBC applicants. The couple opened the business in 2017 and it’s quickly become one of Downtown Traverse City’s unique, can’t-miss destinations.
“123 Speakeasy has come a long way in establishing itself as a mainstay in our community, and they’ve done so through hard work, analysis, experimentation and a lot of fun,” Key said. He noted the business has experienced more than 60 percent revenue growth over the past year, and reduced monthly operational costs by 37 percent.
Venturi joins a long list of successful local companies honored as the Chamber’s Hagerty Small Business of the Year, a program launched by the Chamber to highlight the enormous economic and social impact of the small business sector in Northwest Michigan.
“The Small Business Celebration is an amazing opportunity to come together and acknowledge the importance of entrepreneurship and small business here in Northern Michigan,” Chamber Executive Director Whitney Waara said. “The Chamber hosts this annual event, recognizing that there are so many strong, active, dynamic businesses in our community that aren’t always in the spotlight. Many serve niche markets, or work directly marketing to other businesses. This is the chance to recognize our entire business community for all the great things they are doing – at whatever level their business currently is.”
Past Chamber Small Business of the Year recipients include:
2018 – Superior Physical Therapy
2017 – Image 360
2016 – Studio 415 Salon
2015 – Pine Hill Nursery & Landscaping
2014 – Oryana Natural Foods Market
2013 – Kalkaska Screw Products
2012 – Plascon
2011 – Integrity Home Health & Skilled Care
2010 – Great Lakes Stainless
2009 – FAST Physical Therapy & FAST Fitness
2008 – Springfield Roofing
2007 – Grand Traverse Ophthalmology Clinic
2006 – Traverse City State Bank
2005 – Distribution Solutions International
Chamber officials said all the Top 10 finalists were excellent representatives of the region’s diverse small business sector.
“It’s an inspiration to prospective and startup entrepreneurs to see the ideas and ingenuity at work, and it’s fun, engaging and rewarding for more established small businesses that are ready to show off their skills and tell their stories,” Waara said. “The SBC recognizes a diverse set of businesses, all trying to reach the top of their game in their own industry, while also promoting strong practices that make every business stronger and more effective.
This is the 15th year of the Chamber’s Small Business Celebration, created in 2005 to highlight the significant role that small business plays in anchoring Northern Michigan’s economy. The award is named for Hagerty Insurance, the world-wide classic car and boat insurance company based in downtown Traverse City.
Waara also noted the significance of the Chamber reaching the pinnacle of this year’s Small Business Celebration as National Small Business Week is being celebrated around the country.
“It couldn’t be more fitting to be here today at the culmination of our several month’s long Small Business Celebration, announcing our award winners during National Small Business Week,” she said. “This is a great time to honor all of the entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout our community, and recognize their accomplishments.”
As the 2019 Hagerty Small Business of the Year, Venturi will receive a prize package that includes a $5,000 charitable matching grant from Hagerty, along with mentoring and consulting from the company. It receives a 3-month digital and print advertising package from the Traverse City Record-Eagle worth than $10,000, plus a one-year membership in the Northern Lean Learning Consortium at Northwestern Michigan College, and $1,000 in goods and services each from 9&10 News, Midwestern Broadcasting and Image 360. It also receives a free Expo booth and other prizes from the Traverse City Area Chamber.
As the Summit Award recipient, Anavon Technology Group will receive more than $5,000 in media services from the Record-Eagle, 9&10 and Midwestern Broadcasting, Lean training and more through NMC and prizes from the Chamber. 123 Speakeasy will also receive more than $5,000 in media from the Record-Eagle, 9&10 and Midwestern Broadcasting, Lean training through NMC and prizes from the Chamber.
The Chamber’s 2019 Small Business Celebration is made possible through the generous support of sponsors Hagerty, Priority Health, and Northwestern Michigan College. Media sponsors are 9&10 News/Mane Content, the Traverse City Record-Eagle and Midwestern Broadcasting which includes WTCM/NewsTalk 580.