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Lueken’s, Bar 209 among Chamber of Commerce honorees

MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER Bar 209 owners Brett and Derek Leach hold their award for being named one of the two Business of the Year winners Thursday at the 9th annual Awards of Excellence sponsored by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce. 1 / 2
MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER From left, Rich Seigert presents Brent Sicard of Lueken’s Village Foods with the co-winner of 2013 Business of the Year award Thursday at the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce annual Awards of Excellence event. 2 / 2

Two Bemidji businesses were honored Thursday as Business of the Year at the ninth annual Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence luncheon at the Hampton Inn & Suites.

Lueken’s Village Foods and Bar 209 were the recipients.

Brent Sicard, chief executive officer at Lueken’s, also was the keynote speaker at the event. Sicard shared a montage of news coverage from this past year when longtime owner Joe Lueken handed over the business to his employees.

Sicard’s message focused on growing and working together, giving back to the community and leaving a legacy.

Sicard accepted the Business of the Year award on behalf of his fellow employees.

The other Business of the Year award was accepted by brothers Brett and Derek Leach, owners of Bar 209.

Jim Bensen was presented the Charlie Naylor Lifetime Achievement award, presented by past chairs of the Chamber.

Mike Karvakko of Karvakko Engineering was named Entrepreneur of the Year. The award was presented by last year’s recipient, Jason LaValley of LaValley Industries.

Tutto Bene received the New Business of the Year award. It was accepted by co-owner Jerusa Ricke.

Security Bank USA was honored with the Wellness in the Workplace award for promoting health and fitness among its employees.

Benita Dingman of RiverWood Bank was named Ambassador of the Year.

The Chamber also recognized those who received framed letters from Gov. Mark Dayton for their participation in the Bemidji Business Gives program. Those honored were:

First year: Choice Therapy.

Second year: Shannon’s Tax & Consulting Services.

Third year: Explore Chiropractic and TruStar Federal Credit Union.

Fourth year: Edgewater Group.

Fifth year: Bank Forward and Target.

Sixth year: Kraus-Anderson Construction, Living Touch Massage, Marco, RiverWood Bank and RP Broadcasting.

Seventh year: Citizens State Bank Midwest, Dunn Bros, First National Bank Bemidji, North Country Business Products, Paul Bunyan Communications, Paul Bunyan Broadcasting, Pinnacle Publishing, Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota and Security Bank USA.