Photos/video by Patrick Sand
Story by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
They’re in our top photo, between Chamber CEO Lynn Dennis and board chair Pete Spalding – Husky Deli proprietor Jack Miller‘s daughter Kate Meyer, her husband Tom Meyer, and their son Henry Meyer. They were there to accept the Business of the Year award, with Jack and wife Heidi off on vacation (but appearing via video).
It was perfectly emblematic of what the Westside Awards have become over the years – a celebration of the future as well as the present. The honor given to Emerging Business of the Year – this year, the gift shop Alair – underscores that, too.
But first, if you missed the early-morning event at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor), here’s our video of the heart of it, the presentations and acceptance speeches:
Everyone had something unique and touching to say, but if you can only watch for a few minutes, don’t miss Westsider of the Year Lora Swift (executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association) and her mock-borrowed speech, 17 minutes into our video. Now, highlights of who said what, plus more photos, after the jump:
The crowd first heard from keynoter Joe Fugere, of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria – not a West Seattle business, but Fugere is co-chair of the mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council and so now has a citywide role in his fellow entrepreneurs’ success.
(Added: Here’s our video of his speech.)
On to the honorees. The Meyers of Husky Deli offered a simple message of gratitude, echoed by Jack Miller on video, noting their business has been around 85 years already, and with the new generations – get to work already, Henry! – they hoped for at least 85 more.
Next, Alair proprietor Shandon Graybeal was hailed for attributes including warmly welcoming everyone who walks into her store, and offering so many locally/regionally sourced items, as well as an abundance of community giving.
She thanked the Chamber for “cheering on” her shop in its 18 months so far, and expressed community appreciation for support as she deals with “the reality of small business …” something that’s impossible to handle alone. And she had kudos for a long list of friends who helped her get going.
Next – the community fixture celebrated as Nonprofit of the Year, and a place where not only are the present and future connected but because of its cherished elder participants, so is the past:
The Senior Center of West Seattle was introduced – for anyone who didn’t already know – as a place where there’s something going on all day long, all night long, every day of the week. Dancing, Rainbow Bingo … and executive director Lyle Evans (third from right above) added that the list of activities, where you’ll find people “from their 20s to their 90s,” also ranges from Tai Chi to cannabis education.
Finally, Swift was brought up to accept Westsider of the Year. She was in attendance with husband Ian:
Introducing her, Spalding lauded her for not only her accomplishments, but also her talents in community-building and making connections, and helping others form partnerships. Much of her speech was humorous – you just have to go back up to the video and see for yourself! – but she also admitted to being awed “by the power of our community.” She recalled Mayor Jenny Durkan’s visit back in February, starting with a Junction walking tour (WSB coverage here), and wondering in advance what she would talk to the mayor about. In the end, she told the gathering of fellow West Seattleites “I talked about you.”
The morning of celebrating the present and future ended, appropriately, with a few words on behalf of a business that’s about to open – Quail Park Memory Center of West Seattle (WSB sponsor) announced the furniture was going in right at that moment and its first residents were soon to follow.
The Westside Awards, by the way, are not the result of a popularity poll, or any vote at all – they are the result of community-generated nominations and then judging based on merits and criteria. Watch for your chance to nominate someone/someplace early next year!