Prairie du Chien chamber recognizes business community

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The Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards Program was held Wednesday night, Oct. 2, aboard a cruise on the Celebration Belle. Business honorees included (front row, from left) Nancy Ashmore, public library director; Bobbi Jo Reames, Muddy Waters Pizza Pub; Deidre Stark, Stark’s Sport Shop; Paul and Colleen Gokey, Pete’s Hamburgers; (back row) Chuck Blaschko, Supreme Graphics owner; Gary Wynos, Supreme Graphics PdC manager; Brenda Anderson and Jill Doll, public library; Curt Zinkle, Zinkle’s Piggly Wiggly owner; Theresa Mezera, Panka Shoe Store owner; Robert Vavra, Maiden Voyage Tours owner; Todd Crotty, Muddy Waters Pizza Pub and Leaf Chief; Chamber President/CEO Bob Moses; Randy and Alex Stark, Stark’s Sport Shop; Nick Haug, school district representative/Bluff View principal; Mary and Bill Huser, Pete’s Hamburgers; and Ron Stark, Stark’s Sport Shop. Missing from the photo are Paper Moon owners Louise and Jen White. For individual award pictures, visit (Photo by Correne Martin)

C.F. LaPointe Award presented by Chamber Director Bob Moses, given to Curt Zinkle. Also pictured is his wife, Shelly Zinkle.

Entrepreneur of the Year Todd Crotty, of Muddy Waters Pizza Pub, Leaf Chief and developer of the old Fort Crawford Hotel.

Presidents Award went to Robert Vavra, of Maiden Voyage Tours.

Mary and Bill Huser and Colleen and Paul Gokey accepted a 110-year anniversary award

Panka Shoe Store, represented by owner Theresa Mezera, was awarded for 100 years in business in Prairie du Chien.

Randy, Deidre, Libby, Alex and Ron Stark accepted the 75 year Diamond anniversary award for their business, Stark's Sport Shop

Community Investment Awards went to the Prairie du Chien Area School District and the Prairie du Chien Public Library. Receiving their plaques from Chamber CEO Bob Moses (right) were: (from left) Nicholas Haug, PdC Schools representative/Bluff View Principal; Brenda Anderson, a school district and library employee; and Jill Doll and Director Nancy Ashmore, also representing the public library.

Supreme Graphics was named New Business of the Year by Chamber Director Bob Moses. Pictured are Chris Blaschko, Chuck Blaschko, Mary Ellen Hornseth and Gary Wynos (tourism council vice chair) with Bob Moses

By Correne Martin

The 2019 Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards Program brought about 150 business professionals together for an elegant night Oct. 2, on the Celebration Belle paddlewheel boat. A night cruise on the Mississippi River was enjoyed along with a buffet-style meal and beverages. Chamber President and CEO Bob Moses emceed the event and, along with chamber board president, Nick Coffield, presented the night’s awards.

Moses said the local chamber has existed for 70 years as a membership organization devoted to providing value to members with programs and services, member referrals, events, networking opportunities, marketing strategies, sponsorships and more. The chamber hosts 12 annual events and, together with the tourism council, city and residents, creates a community that hosts over 90 events per year. 

President Coffield and Tourism Council Chairperson Mary Antoine also spoke about the river community, the tourism industry and the Prairie du Chien chamber’s connections in tieing those key community traits to the business district.

Ten awards were presented during the banquet. They included recognition for years of service and various aspects of community investment, as individuals or business partnerships. Honorees were:

•C.F. La Pointe Award—Curt Zinkle, of Zinkle’s Piggly Wiggly, former three-year chamber president

•President’s Award—Robert Vavra, of Maiden Voyage Tours, selected by chamber president Nick Coffield

•Entrepreneur of the Year—Todd Crotty, of Muddy Waters Pizza Pub, the Leaf Chief and developer of the former Fort Crawford Hotel

•110 Year Anniversary Award—Pete’s Hamburger Stand and the Gokey family

•100 Year Centennial Award—Panka Shoe Store and Theresa Mezera

•75 Year Diamond Award—Stark’s Sport Shop & Liquor Store

•25 Year Silver Award—Paper Moon Books & Gifts and Louise and Jen White

•Community Investment Awards—Prairie du Chien Area School District and Prairie du Chien Memorial Library

•New Business of the Year—Supreme Graphics (formerly Howe Printing)

Mike Valley, owner of Valley Fish and Cheese, snagged the microphone toward the end of the program for a short statement that summed up the night. 

“Everyone here is a piece of a puzzle that puts this area together,” he said. “We all do a little bit each day to strive for a better tomorrow.”

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