2022 San Leandro Chamber Business Awards – The Beginning of the Future
On April 28th, 2022 the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2022 Business Awards at the newly renovated Boys and Girls Club. The outdoor event gathered a wide variety of community members to celebrate excellence in the San Leandro business ecosystem.
This was the first in-person award ceremony being held since the onset of the pandemic in 2020 and for many it felt like a reunion among friends. Delectable catering from San Leandro’s Pinx Catering, and live music from Lilan Kane helped make the event festive and delightful.
As in past years, awards were given in seven categories:
- Spirit of the Community
- Innovation & Technology Leader
- Leadership in Education
- Small Business of the Year
- Business Person of the Year
- Business of the Year
- Legacy Leader in Business
Spirit of the Community was awarded to Xouhoa Bowen – the founder, CEO, and Board President of Community Impact Lab – who over the years has spearheaded countless initiatives to provide support to underserved parts of the community. Runner-up was San Leandro Unified School District Board Member Evelyn Gonzalez.
Leadership in Education was extended to the San Leandro Scholarship Foundation (SLSF), which raises funds in order to grant scholarships to graduating seniors from San Leandro public schools. In 2019, the SLSF granted over $135,000 in scholarships. Runner-up was codeAtorium.
Waste Management was given the Innovation & Technology Leader award for its many inventive mechanisms to make waste removal more sustainable. Some of these mechanisms were covered in a prior San Leandro Next post. Runners-up were Artemys Foods and Tierra Biosciences.
Small Business of the Year went to popular and innovative restaurant Top Hatters Kitchen & Bar, which earned a Bib Gourmand recognition from the Michelin Guide in the past year. Top Hatters will also appear on KQED’s Check Please! very soon. Runner-up was On the Runway Boutique.
Business Person of the Year went to the Pallen family, whose dyed-in-the-wool martial arts school has served the local community for decades and recently opened its second San Leandro location in early 2020. Runner up was David Grodin of Grodin Financial Services.
San Leandro newbie Torani earned the Business of the Year award. Torani has worked hard to relocate its headquarters and chief manufacturing facility to San Leandro and officially opened in August of 2020. Throughout this process, Torani has been engaged with the local community and provided COVID-19 support by way of community donations as well as opportunity funds for struggling cafes. Runner-up was Weber Quality Meats.
Legacy Leader in Business was awarded to Davis Street Family Resource Center, whose history in San Leandro dates back to 1972. Today, Davis Street provides primary care (medical, dental, pediatric, behavioral health and women’s health services), affordable child care via four child care centers, programs for adults living with developmental disabilities, a food pantry, a free clothing program and more. Runner-up was Columbia Cosmetics.
The 2022 Business Awards are but one of the indicators that business is on the road to recovery and returning to some semblance of traditional operations, something the community has been longing for quite some time after very challenging times.