MOUNT VERNON — Each year the Heritage Centre Association honors local businesses and members for their time and service to the downtown area.
Highlighting Thursday’s program was the recipient of the Walter Rudin Award, Mayor Richard Mavis. Unaware he was being honored, Mavis was astonished to see his pictures portrayed during the video presentation of the winner.
“I was really surprised. Who would have thought that I would be the one making an award presentation and would be the one receiving it?” said Mavis, smiling. “Being recognized by this group that I used to be a part of, which has really helped in revitalizing downtown, is really special.”
The award is sponsored by First-Knox National Bank and is presented to an individual for his or her longstanding dedication and contribution to the downtown community.
Exemplifying the true meaning of the “Spirit of Heritage,” Mike Hillier, Mount Vernon city councilman and HCA promotion chairman, was presented the award for his time, energy and leadership given to improve downtown.
“As a native of the community, he has served in different roles,” said Lynne Ricard, downtown manager and HCA director. “He became an individual member and showed a sincere interest in getting involved. ... He sincerely cares about the vitality of downtown Mount Vernon and is not looking for recognition.”
Page One Group received the Small Business of the Year Award. Sponsored by Paragraphs Bookstore, three businessees were nominated for the award.
“Page One Group has been a welcome addition to the downtown. From their grand opening in February 2009, they have continually demonstrated their support through their many contributions and actions,” said Corby Wise, HCA president and the evening’s master of ceremonies.
“I’m surprised and feel so blessed and appreciative to receive this,” said Kim Cline, store manager.
Also present for Page One Group was co-owner Marcia Rojas. Jana Burson co-owns Page One with Rojas.
Flappers Bar & Grille was named Mid-Size Business of the Year, “For never saying ‘no’ and always being willing to support all things downtown,” said Wise.
“I’m very surprised,” said Jeff Boucher, owner. “I just bought the place back a year ago. I feel very honored. I’m glad to be back a part of downtown; I missed that. Everybody would say Flappers was not the same because I wasn’t there, but now it feels like I never left.”
The Mid-Size Business of the Year award was sponsored by G.R. Smith Hardware.
This year, the Large Business Award was presented to Mount Vernon Nazarene University. The award was accepted by Jeff Spear on behalf of MVNU President Dr. Daniel Martin.
The Large Business of the Year award was sponsored by First Knox National Bank.
“The Mount Vernon Nazarene University has been an integral part of the local community for several decades, but this past year the university stepped forward to speed along the redevelopment of the 200 block of South Main Street by opening the Buchwald Center,” said Wise.
The HCA recognized Knox County Career Center Job Training Program students Ami Iverson, Katie Gomez, Stephen Kroninger, Mike Jones and Jenny Thompson, as well as Julie Zimmerman, job coach, and Christian Cagle, program director, for their important service in cleaning sidewalks and tending planters in the downtown area.
“This work is so vital to our organization and really helps in keeping downtown Mount Vernon looking terrific,” said Ricard.