Photo: Steve Thurston
“Give” was the theme of the morning at today’s ABBIE awards banquet. The annual celebration that showers kudos on the “best of” area businesses also featured owners who asked the audience to volunteer their time in the community and included the first annual “Doing Good” award.
The Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the host of the event, also inducted three members to the Arlington Business Hall of Fame.
Inductee David Guernsey, who started Guernsey Office Products in Arlington, said becoming involved in the community is not just a good thing to do, “it’s a required thing to do.”
He spoke of his time working with the local United Way, thinking that Arlington was rather prosperous. On a trip with the United Way’s director to see what the organization did, he said he saw the yoke some Arlingtonians lived under.
“It’s very eye opening … there were so many needs out there,” he said.
Guernsey was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Henry “Hank” Lampe, an Arlington stock broker, and Robert “Bob” Peck, founder of Bob Peck Chevrolet, whose building was an Arlington icon at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Wilson Blvd. Peck was awarded posthumously, with the award accepted by his son Don Peck.
For his part, Lampe told the group that the world has changed more over the last 100 years than at other times in history, and he asked Chamber members to volunteer to help adjust to the “needs of the moment.”
“This country is famous for its volunteer efforts,” but all must give, Lampe said, “I therefore admonish you to go out and volunteer.”
The Chamber’s Best Business Awards are in their 26th year. For the past 17 years, they have been the ABBIEs.
- Technology Small Business of the Year: Digital Recollections (a firm that transfers photos and other memorabilia into digital form). Owner, Rick Reinsch. “We take anything old and make it new. We tried that on [Chamber President] Rich Doud, but that just didn’t work,” he said to much laughter.
- Home-Based Small Business of the Year: KB Concepts (Public Relations). Karen Bate, the business owner, jokingly worked the crowd to get a full-time job for her daughter.
- Service Small Business of the Year: Clarendon Home Services (a services to handle all sorts of issues with home ownership). “Yeah, wow, this is pretty cool,” said owner Eric Gutshall, adding, it’s the “longtime relationships with each other and the community that make it all worthwhile.”
- Nonprofit of the Year: Linden Resources (a company that hires disabled people for community jobs). Jennifer Murphy, chair of that business’ board, thanked the people who work at the company, most of whom have disabilities: “They deliver high quality products and services every year.”
- Large Business of the Year: WETA. Joseph Bruns, the Chief Operating Officer of the public television station, said when he heard the company had won an ABBIE, he confused it with the popular PBS TV show “Downtown Abbey.” He came around, though. “As I learned more about it, I learned how proud I should be, and thank you very much.”
- Green Business of the Year: Pure Media Sign Studio, Linh Ong, owner.
- First Annual “Doing Good Award” (made possible by the the Phillip M. Keating Fund for the Future): Washington Workplace. “It’s Arlington that brings out this good stuff,” said owner John Murphy, who was honored for his work with area charities such as Arlington Food Assistance Center, A-SPAN, and others. However, he said he did not like the term “giving back” because it implied that people volunteered only because they owed someone. He encouraged all to think just of “giving.”