EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article appeared in the Oct. 17, 2017, edition of The Review.
Brother and sister entrepreneurs, each operating their own business, were among the award recipients at the annual Business Alliance Awards held Oct. 16 at the University of Mount Union.
President Joe Schatz of Winkle Industries accepted the Large Business of the Year Award, and a few minutes later, Sally Schatz, owner of Sally and Associates, accepted the Spirit of Enterprise Award.
The Small Business of the Year Award was presented to Heggy’s.
The Alliance Area Chamber of Commerce established the awards program in 1997 to honor member businesses that show growth and commitment to the Alliance area.
"I’m totally surprised by this (award)," said Joe Schatz. "The community support is overwhelming."
He thanked his employees for their support. "In business, we’re only as good as our next order," said Schatz, who was born and raised in Alliance.
The award was presented to Winkle Industries by Steve Osborne of Trilogy Plastics, last year’s recipient.
"The business began in 1949 as a family-owned business," said Osborne about Winkle prior to the presentation. "Employees are encouraged to participate on local boards, churches and other organizations. The company and its employees contribute to the United Way and YMCA, to area schools and more."
Osborne went on to explain that after outgrowing its former location, the business moved to Alliance and constructed a new, state-of-the-art facility on Main Street Extension. Winkle Industries remanufactures lifting equipment used in the steel industry. He noted the company has maintained employment and continues to grow.
As Doug Schwarz, recipient of the 2016 Spirit of Enterprise award, read the introduction, it became clear who he was about to announce as the winner.
"In 2004 this person ventured out ‘to do it better’ — to start a business that would provide a customer experience that was honest, fair and transparent," said Schwarz. "In other words, The Golden Rule — to treat others in the same way that they themselves would like to be treated."
On Thanksgiving 2015, the business was destroyed by fire but within weeks, it was back up and running. Earlier this spring, one and a half years later, Sally and Associates returned to a new building at the former site at 854 W. State St.
"Without my employees, I would be nowhere, and I’ve had employees with us since Day One," said Sally Schatz. "We’re small but we’re mighty and we’re going to continue.
"I’m so thankful for this award and at least noticing us," she added. "We’re very small in the community, but thank you for the recognition."
The Spirit of Enterprise is presented to a businessperson who has demonstrated leadership in his or her industry or profession, developed and maintained strong employee relations, contributed and sustained service to the community and participated in Chamber activities and programs.
Sally and Joe Schatz are sister and brother. In order to get each of them to attend the luncheon, where the recipients are kept secret until the event, each were told about the other’s award.
Their mother, Susan Ciotti, knew both of her children were getting an award.
"They each knew about the other’s upcoming award," said Ciotti, adding it was hard to keep it from the other one. Another sibling, Jeff Ciotti, who works at Wally Armour, was also in attendance.
Doug Wonner of All-Pro RV Service and Storage, the 2016 recipient of the Small Business of the Year award, introduced Heggy’s as "an Alliance staple, with a rich history reaching back to 1940. A family-owned and operated business, the winner is very involved in the Alliance community."
He referred to their support of area sports teams, school projects and involvement in the Carnation Festival. The recent change in ownership has resulted in a remodel of the interior along with new signage.
The key clue came at the end when Wonner talked about the 40 varieties of chocolate, caramels and fresh roasted nuts.
Heggy’s was started by Jack and Evelyn Sell in downtown Alliance. Their son, Mike Sell, operated the business, one store in Alliance and one in Salem. Mike’s sons, Patrick, Ryan and Chris Sell, bought the business in June 2016.
Chris Sell oversees the day-to-day operations while Pat Sell focuses on marketing and sales. Ryan Sell, of New Jersey, handles the financial and legal aspects of the business.
Chris Sell said he and Pat Sell each had an acceptance speech prepared and decided Chris would speak.
"What an honor," said Chris Sell. He referenced a Sports Illustrated article in which basketball star LeBron James said, "Nothing is given — you have to work for what you have."
All of the winners were presented with an etched glass award produced by Sam’s Graphic Industries, and each recipient received a proclamation from Gov. John Kasich and Secretary of State Jon Husted.
University of Mount Union’s Missy Miller talked about the Investment Alliance students, the top 15 Alliance High School graduates who are offered full scholarships each year. Alliance Area Development hosted the nine students who accepted: Emily Ault, Cheyenne Gonzales, Gaston Marian, Kelby Smith, Bethany Cox, Kira Nicholson, Shannon Dillon, Andrew Hale and Lillian Boehm, at the luncheon.
Sponsors of the event were Alliance Ventures, Nationwide Insurance — Dustin Burgess Insurance Group LLC, Huntington National Bank, Consumers National Bank, Farmers National Bank and Pauli Electric.