• 2016 Small Business of the Year

    Forest View Recreation Bar and Grill

    Forest View Recreation Bar and Grill has been in business since 1965 and offers bowling, volleyball, cornhole, an outdoor bar and grill, and most recently they installed two golf simulators.  The owner, Richard Kenny, has been updating and adding additional attractions since he purchased it three years ago in order to provide recreation and entertainment to people at all levels.  He grew up in Temperance, Michigan and worked at Forest View Lanes fixing pin setter machines, taking out the trash, and passing out bowling shoes.  He joked that he would own the bowling facility one day and that prediction came true.

    In 2016, Forest View donated to more than 150 organizations.  Richard Kenny serves on the Alzheimer's Board of Directors for the Northwest Ohio Chapter and is a supporting sponsor for the Walk to End Alzheimer's.  He also serves on the Bedford Business Association Board as a Trustee.  Forest View gives back to the community they serve daily.  Not only is Richard Kenny building up his business, but he strives to help build up the community as a whole.


    Other 2016 nominees for this prestigious award include Miller Vein and Phoenix Theatres of Monroe.


    2015 Small Business of the Year

    Cakes by Stephanie

    Cakes by Stephanie was established in 2003.  They are a full service bakery, including - pies, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, cake dots, party trays and pastries for wholesale and retail customers.   Their expertise and experience show in the beautiful, finely crafted wedding cakes, the large of selection of delicious cakes and fillings, unique wedding cake showroom, and their friendly, personalized service. The owners, Stephanie and Tom Morgan, along with their 3 children and loyal employees, are dedicated not only to quality and customer service, but to the community as well.  They take great pride in baking moist, delicious cakes and cookies, as well as other lovely baked treats.  Throughout the years, they have been recognized by the wedding industry as a leader in cakes and desserts, based on customer satisfaction and reviews.  The Knot Magazine and Wedding Wire have both elected them as the best of the best.  They were recently given the honor to be chosen as one of the “Top 50 Bakeries in the Nation” by the Daily Meal.  Cakes by Stephanie was nominated by Brian Merkle of Merkle Funeral Service, Inc.

    Other nominees include:
    Advanced Komputer Services nominated by Nancy Wain of Monroe Housing Commission
    Barron Insurance & Financial Services Agency nominated by Justin Burger of The Davey Tree Expert Co.
    David G. Swartout - Builder nominated by Cheryl Wilkinson of Medical Billing & Consulting Services, Inc.


  • 2014 Small Business of the Year

    Lotus Financial Services

    Lotus Financial Services was established in 1990 by Gary and Marguerite Nowitzke.  Gary saw a need in the community to educate people about planning for their financial future, and as a math teacher, it was a perfect fit.  He designed a high school math class around home finances, budgeting, and financial planning for the future.  It was a very useful and popular class for high school seniors.  The concept expanded into a full time business with a commitment to personal, professional service.  They operated their business out of their home before buying their current office space, which they have spent the last two-years renovating with attention to historic detail and design.  They are both very involved with the community as well as their staff members.  They provide services for Financial Planning, Investments and Income Tax Preparation. The company is built on a foundation of excellent client service and in-depth market knowledge.

    Other nominees include:
    Great Lakes Aerial Maintenance & Construction, Inc. 
    Cakes by Stephanie

  • 2013 Small Business of the Year


    Merkle Funeral Service, Inc.


    Merkle Funeral Service, Inc. has been providing innovation to the Monroe community with its funeral related goods & services.  They are known for their attention to detail and the regular introduction of new programs.  Brian Merkle started the business with 8 employees; they presently employ 37 people.  Merkle Funeral Service prides itself on being locally owned and operated.  They consider their community involvement to be paramount to their success and a “corporate duty”.  Merkle Funeral Service opened in 2007 and by 2009 had become the second largest funeral provider in Monroe County by amount of families served. 


    Other nominees include: 
    Barron Insurance and Financial Services Agency
    James S. Jacobs Architects, PLLC
    McMullin Dental Care 

  • 2012 Small Business of the Year


    Paul's Quality Collision.


    Paul’s Quality Collision is very much a team that compliments each other. They love doing business in Monroe and are honored by this award. The “Customer Experience” is paramount at Paul’s Quality Collision. It includes every point of contact from the initial meeting or phone call, claim and rental assistance, communications throughout the repair process, vehicle delivery, and extends to the follow up activities. Their customers can look at pictures daily and track the progress of their vehicle on the website. Consumers are generally not excited to visit an auto body shop. Paul’s Quality Collision turns this unpleasant situation into as positive experience. They listen with an empathetic ear; take interest and deliver in excess of their expectations.  They were nominated by Mark & Mindy Abramson. 


    Other nominees include: 

    Monica’s Baker Boy, L.L.C. Nominated by:  her employees

    Merkle Funeral Service, Inc. Nominated by:  Jake & Christy LaRoy

    James S. Jacobs Architects, PLLC Nominated by:  Barry Buschmann

  • 2011 Small Business of the Year


    FEDCO (Fluid Equipment Development Company)


    The award is designed acknowledge the individuals and their respective independent businesses that help Monroe County thrive & prosper.  We are very fortunate, as a community, to have people that are not only successful entrepreneurs, but are also community trustees; they give of themselves, not just volunteer their time.

    All Nominees were spotlighted at the event, citing attributes that truly set them apart from most businesses.  Monroe County is fortunate to be home to these businesses.


    Fluid Equipment Development Company.  FEDCO is a unique local business, in that it employs local talent, yet none of the products are used locally.   They manufacture high pressure pumps and energy recovery turbines for use in seawater reverse osmosis desalination.  Most of their products are exported world-wide, resulting in new money being brought back into our local economy, thus creating jobs and additional tax base.  FEDCO custom manufactures each pump to meet customer needs; each with sophisticated design and patented technology.  They employ 60 individuals.  FEDCO employees give back to the community.  They are involved in Habitat for Humanity’s Employee Adopt-a-day build, Feed the 5000 Food Drive and make corporate donations to Jefferson High School Robotics Team and Band Boosters, MCCC Foundation and Special Olympics.

  • 2010 Small Business of the Year


    Durocher's T.V. & Appliance


    This business was started as a one man operation by Donald Durocher in 1951. Their motto is: 'We are not here to sell to you; we're here to help you buy.'They provide exceptional service before and after the sale. Their seasoned and dedicated sales staff helps customers select the products that are right for them. With their own service department, they offer what few retailers can...Factory Authorized master Technicians who will repair your product quickly and professionally right in your home or at the store. They carry the area's largest selection of Electronics, Appliances, Furniture and Bedding.

  • 2009 Small Business of the Year


    Banas Lumber & Hardware


    Carol & Hank Banas are a husband and wife team that has owned and operated the business since 1991. They offer one on one service to each customer, intentionally finding the products to comply with the needs of the project and the budget. Banas Lumber & hardware has been family owned and operated since 1948.

  • 2008 Small Business of the Year

    Kreps Building Company


    For more than 30 years, Kreps Building Company has been synonymous with excellence in craftsmanship, innovative ideas, and cutting edge design.


    Owner and General Contractor Greg Kreps, a graduate of Michigan State University's Construction Management program, enjoys the custom residential building market because of the one-on-one relationships he builds with his customers. It is through this rapport that he is able to customize a remodel, addition, or new home project to meet his customer's expectations. (Visit 'Customer Corner' on the company's web site, www.krepsbuilding.com)


    Greg continually works at staying on the leading edge of ever-changing technology, design, and products in the building industry by taking advantage of educational opportunities through the National Association of Home Builders and other sources. Locally, Greg is an active member of the Home Builders Association of Monroe County, and serves as Treasurer on its Board of Directors.


    Kreps Building Company was recently named the 2008 Small Business of the Year. This award is based on company viability, reputation, respect from peers, and commitment to the community.


    Kreps Building Company and Greg support Boy Scout Troop 579 in Monroe, CrossRoads Community Church, and donates materials to Habitat for Humanity. For more information, please visit the company website (www.krepsbuilding.com) or call Greg at (734) 243-5290. Greg is on the Chamber's Board of Directors and has been a Chamber member since 1996.

  • 2007 Small Business of the Year

    LaRoy Door and Contracting


    LaRoy Door and Contracting sells services and installs garage doors and door openers. They operate their business with honesty and integrity. They feel Monroe is a good place to own a business because of 'Old Fashioned Values'. Owners Joseph and Jean LaRoy have been in business for ten years. They have recently had to diversify their business due to the slowdown of the housing market. They survived a shift from 70% to 10% of their business coming from new construction, and still had modest growth and maintained their level of commitment to other area organizations.


    The component that set LaRoy Door and Contracting apart from other nominees for the Small Business of the Year Award was their extensive community service. Joe LaRoy is an elder at Redeemer Fellowship Church, on the LaSalle Township Planning Commission, on the Board of the Home Builders Association and volunteers at the local soup kitchen and helps with God Works Program. LaRoy Door and Contracting also sponsors several local youth programs (soccer, hockey and baseball), donate labor and material for Habitat for Humanity Home Builds & have their own team Relay for Life.