Helping someone look their best can make a major difference in their personal and professional lives – and is something that the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Hagerty Small Business of the Year does with purpose and passion every day.
Studio 415 Salon, a full service salon owned by Leslie Winkle located at Cass and Eighth streets in downtown Traverse City, was named the 2016 Hagerty Small Business of the Year by the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. The award was presented Wednesday afternoon at the Small Business Celebration Award Ceremony held at Northwestern Michigan College’s Hagerty Center attended by more than 200 people.
“Studio 415 exemplifies small business in Traverse City. From the amazing growth, to the warm and welcoming atmosphere, the satisfied clientele and the happy staff, they are a force to be reckoned with,” said SBC Judge Tammy Tarsa of Integrity Home Health & Skilled Care, the 2011 Chamber Small Business of the Year. “The judges are confident that we will see wonderful things from Leslie and her crew at Studio 415 in the future.”
Studio 415 Salon was founded in 2011 and purchased by Winkle in 2014. The business is on the cutting edge of customer service and technology including development of its own Studio 415 app, extensive employee training and widespread community involvement including a special “Cuts for Kids” event offering free haircuts and other supplies to local families in need.
“Studio 415 rose to the top this year in part because of Leslie Winkle’s leadership to purchase an existing company, immediately transform its culture to a philosophy of ‘just be nice’, and grow the business by doubling sales and adding several employees over the past four years,” said SBC Judge Kevin Schlueter of Kalkaska Screw Products, the 2013 SBC award recipient.
Other 2016 SBC finalists included: Krause Realty Solutions; Traverse Dental Associates; Northern Lighting Wash; Epic Powersports; Ella’s; GFA Inc.; City Mac; All Seasons Hotel & Resort and Williams & Bay Pumping Service. Members of the SBC judges panel said all of the finalists can be extremely proud of their operations and truly embody the diversity and strength of the Grand Traverse region’s small business sector.
“All of the Top 10 finalists were outstanding companies with inspirational stories. I was inspired by every business we visited this year,” Schlueter said. “Their passion to run a businesses while doing what they love to do was the primary theme of this year’s Top 10… It was a great year with great companies!”
This is the 12th year of the Chamber’s Small Business Celebration, launched 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. Recipients receive up to a $5,000 match from Hagerty for their community giving efforts, plus 40 hours of executive team consulting services from Hagerty. Studio 415 will also receive eight hours of consulting from the Training Services program at Northwestern Michigan College, an SBC co-sponsor.
Past Chamber Small Business of the Year recipients include:
- 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
The Chamber’s 2016 Small Business Celebration is made possible through the generous support of Priority Health, Kalkaska Screw Products and Northwestern Michigan College.