Downtown Stars

Amid a celebratory air, Appleton Downtown Inc. honored local businesses and community members that are laying the groundwork for development and growth to build the future of the city’s downtown during its annual awards celebration on Thursday, October 25.

The event featured the presentation of ADI’s annual business awards to exceptional downtown entrepreneurs that make Downtown Appleton One Great Place.

The Walter Kalata Landmark Award was presented to the Appleton Historical Society.  The award honors a business that has become a landmark in the downtown, a business that has withstood the test of time and operates with passion and a strong commitment to downtown.  While their brick and mortar space is relatively new to downtown, how they preserve and share the history of Downtown and Appleton makes them a landmark that is enjoyed dearly by all.

Robert Glasheen was presented the 2018 Downtown Volunteer of the Year Award for his dedication to create a quality place to live, work and play by giving back to the community.  Robert is found every Saturday morning at the Downtown Appleton Farm Market – rain or shine – sun or snow! In the last year alone, he logged 282 volunteer hours with Appleton Downtown Inc.

The 2018 Dreamers and Doers Award was presented to Mai Vang & Fong Lee with their family Yee Vue, Thong Vue, and Lor Lee for their determination to succeed.  Imagine a mother (Mai Vang) committed to providing for her family and to give them the best life she could, but now imagine it as an immigrant from a refuge camp in Thailand to Appleton WI, without speaking English.  The determination to succeed was passed down to the next generation also dreaming to reach new heights.  What began as a Farm Market booth selling stuffed chicken wings soon grew to a destination brick and mortar restaurant in Downtown, Mai’s Deli.  Yee Vue (daughter) with her husband Thong branched out to extend the success with City Café and now Bowl Ninety-One.

Downtown Renovation Award was given to McFleshman’s Brewing Company.  Their project started with an unused property that had definitely seen better days with the end result being nothing short of transformative.  The interior of the building now features rich and beautiful woodwork that would make anyone feel at home and the exterior sports one of the bigger outdoor seating areas in downtown. This renovation and revitalization of a formally neglected piece of downtown landscape will now reap benefits for years to come.

AZCO, Inc. received the 2018 President’s Award.  This award is presented to an individual, group, or business that goes above and beyond in its partnership with ADI and its commitment to downtown.  AZCO, Inc. has a strong commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen.  Through in-kind donations, services, time and financial support, they give to a wide variety of organizations in Downtown and the Fox Cities to help make Appleton a healthier, happier and better place to live, work, and play.

Presented to a business new to downtown in the last two years that shows longevity and fulfills a unique need in the downtown, the 2018 Rising Star Award was given to Float Light Float Center.  As the first of its kind in the Fox Cities, this business offers an experience like no other; a revolutionary, new form of mental, physical, and spiritual therapy, a place where you disconnect with the chaotic external world and reconnect with your innermost consciousness.  The absence of light, noise, and gravity in their state-of-the-art sensory deprivation tank allows you to float away your stress in 10 inches of water and a ton of Epsom salts.

The Bernie Pearlman Downtown Award is presented to a person whose dedication and enthusiasm have had a significant positive impact on downtown and who displays an overwhelming passion for its success.  The 2018 award went to Oliver Zornow, Community Engagement Manager for both The Building for Kids Children’s Museum and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.  Zornow is motivated by the ongoing efforts to make downtown Appleton a gathering place for people of all ages and has been involved in countless events and projects downtown such as Creative Kids, Big Arts in the Little Apple, Rhythms of the World, and so much more.

Presented to the business that stands out from the rest and captures the admiration of the downtown community for their ability to continually represent the spirit of downtown through their innovation, fortitude and reputation. The Downtown Business of the Year Award for 2018 was given to Lillians of Appleton.  Owners, Kara and Tom Manuel, opened the business in 2016 and in just two short years doubled their space and became a retail destination.  In 2018, they have donated $25,000 back to the community through in store fundraisers. The retail therapy experience is felt as soon as you walk through their door due to an exciting atmosphere with a hometown feel. 

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