WAUSAU — The Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce named the three 2018 Small Businesses of the Year Award recipients at a ceremony on the morning of Tuesday, April 17 at Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Rothschild.

The Small Business of the Year Award recognizes business growth, community involvement, and innovative efforts in the Wausau region and is a part of the Chamber’s annual Small Business Week.  Recipients were named in three categories:

Business-to-Business category: Colby Metal Inc (top photo) was founded in 1986 with one goal in mind: launch a customer-centric business with a special focus on the details. That goal remains intact to this day. The business aims to provide superior customer service and premier metal fabrication products while being the employer of choice in the region by operating a community-focused, socially-responsibility organization.

TC Teardrops, Small Business of the Year winner in the Business to Consumer category.

Business-to-Consumer category: TCTeardrops LLC is a custom trailer manufacturer founded by Todd and Carol Mowrer. The business began ten years ago in the couple’s garage as the result of a simple dream and a small tax return. The company’s motto is ‘dedicated to the ease of camping.’ This motto is mirrored in the sales strategy for the business as trailers are sold directly to customers.

The Women’s Community, Small Business of the Year winner in the nonprofit category.

Charitable Non-Profit category: The Women’s Community Inc has existed in the community for 40 years, providing support and services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and helping displaced homemakers get into the work force.  The agency has responded to changing needs in the community and has expanded their services to include anyone who has been a victim of abuse, man, woman or child.

“This award means a lot to us.” said Jessica Lind, sexual assault victim services program coordinator at The Women’s Community Inc. “Receiving this award shows us the appreciation that the community has for our organization.”

“This is such a great honor.” said Mark Viegut, president and owner of Colby Metal Inc. “It’s great to be recognized for all the hard work that everyone at our company has put in over the last 32 years.”

“Small business is alive and well in central Wisconsin.” Said Carol Mowrer, co-owner of TCTeardrops LLC. “This is going to mean a lot to our business in terms of growth.” added her husband Todd, also a co-owner of the business.

The Small Business of the Year Award finalists also included:

Business-to-Business category: Southern Stretch Forming

Business-to-Consumer category: Brainard Funeral Home and Cremation Center, Buska Retirement Solutions Inc, RE/MAX Excel, Ruppel Chiropractic LLC, Weston Family Dental SC

Charitable Non-Profit category: Healthfirst Network Inc, The Open Door of Marathon County Inc, Performing Arts Foundation Inc, Wausau Child Care Inc, Wausau River District Inc

Small Business Week continues on Thursday, April 19, as thousands of business people will assemble at Business EXPO 2018 which will be held at the Central Wisconsin Convention + Expo Center in Rothschild from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Business EXPO will feature a record number of exhibitors this year, with all 320 booths filled, and offer a mascot parade at 1 p.m. Admission is free with your business card or $10 for those without business cards.

The EXPO is followed by the EXPO Business PM from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Rothschild. The EXPO Business PM is one of the largest networking events of the year, offering a unique opportunity to build new business relationships and strengthen existing ones. Cost is $10 in advance or $20 at the door.

The week will wrap-up with a Small Business of the Year Recognition Ceremony which will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 20 at City Grill Restaurant & Event Space in Wausau. Each of the 2018 Small Business of the Year recipients will describe their paths to success during this program. The cost for attending this program is $35 online.

The 2017 Small Business Week is presented by Ruder Ware LLSC and sponsored by Riiser Energy? and Sam’s Club at the platinum level, Ansay & Associates LLC, Church Mutual Insurance Company and River Valley Bank at the gold level, Peoples State Bank, Schenck SC, Wipfli LLP and Wisconsin Public Service at the silver level, The Dirks Group?, Fully Promoted, IROW Shredding Recycling & Consulting, Mallery & Zimmerman SC and Yach’s Body & Custom at the bronze level. Media sponsors for the event include Midwest Communications?, The Business News and WAOW Newsline 9?.

For more information on the 2018 Small Business of the Year Awards, including a list of past recipients, or to register for any Small Business Week events, visit the Chamber’s site.