At the end of each year, the Downtown Alameda Business Association presents special awards to member businesses in recognition of their outstanding service. The awards are given in four categories: Retail Business of the Year, Professional Business of the Year, Culinary Business of the Year, and New Business of the Year.
The selected businesses are recognized for their contributions to the success of our downtown district — owners and staff actively participate in downtown activities and they find ways to give back to the community in a number of ways. These businesses are excellent examples of the quality of service you can expect to find in Downtown Alameda year-round.
Congratulations to the recipients of our 2016 Downtown Alameda Business Awards!
Retail Business of the Year
Alameda See Spot Run, 2510 Santa Clara Ave
Alameda See Spot Run is a local, family-owned store committed to providing products, services, and educational programs that help customers care for their pets without breaking the bank. When you shop with them, you receive personal service by staff who have a sincere desire to share their time and knowledge. Owner (and Alameda resident) Cynthia Schorle is also committed to serving the community at large. She serves on two of our committees — the Membership Committee and the Maintenance & Improvement Committee.
Professional Business of the Year (tie)
The Sewing Room, 2434 Webb Ave
The Sewing Room is not only a retail store, but it’s also a sewing workshop. Jennifer Serr and her instructors have a passion for the needle arts and enjoy sharing their expertise with students of all skill levels. Jennifer is known to have a remarkably relaxed and respectful way with kids that allows them to take risks and gain confidence. Jennifer also inspires community members to participate in sewing projects that benefit various charities. Jennifer first joined our Membership Committee in October 2016. Shortly after, she was appointed to our 2017 Board of Directors.
Edward Jones (Jane Watson), 1430 Everett Street, Suite A
There’s an advantage in working with an advisor who knows you and provides top-notch service. Edward Jones advisor Jane Watson exemplifies this by taking the time to help her clients identify personal financial goals, develop strategies to achieve those goals, and then monitor the progress for potential adjustments. Jane is also dedicated to supporting the greater Alameda community. She regularly hosts free retirement planning events and has served on our Membership Committee since 2013.
Culinary Business of the Year
Speisekammer, 2424 Lincoln Ave
Owners Peter Kahl and Cindy Kahl know how to provide an experience that entices people to return again and again. Patrons routinely go to Speisekammer for the authentic German food, one of the best beer lists in the area, and the weekly live music. Their hugely popular Oktoberfest is a signature event in the district every year. In addition, the staff at Speisekammer graciously play host for the Downtown Association’s annual meeting/mixer. Cindy has also been involved with our Maintenance & Improvement Committee for the last two years.
New Business of the Year
Sole Desire Shoes, 1330A Park Street
Sole Desire is a family-owned retailer dedicated to providing superior service to their customers. They also recognize the importance of their employees. When the family acquired Scott’s Shoes this past year, they saw the value of owner Scott Erwen’s service to the community and proudly retained his services as store manager. Scott Erwen has a long history with helping our Downtown Association — he served on our Board of Directors for 18 years, he’s been on our Membership Committee for 5 years, and he has been part of our Art & Wine Faire committee for over 20 years.
Member of the Year
Julie Baron (Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden, 1223 Park Street)
Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden is more than your average cafe; it’s become a one-of-a-kind spot in Downtown Alameda for people to share and learn. Owner Julie Baron has created a vibrant space that is full of energy and is supportive of the arts community. This is also reflective of what she does for the downtown district — she has been the driving force behind a number of promotional and artistic happenings in the district such as the annual Customer Celebration Day and 2nd Friday exhibitions. Without her energy, events like these wouldn’t get off the ground. Furthermore, with four years of service behind her, Julie continues to play active roles on both our Promotions Committee and our Board of Directors.
Terry Mitchell (Allstate, 2504 Santa Clara Ave, Ste 5)
When you’re buying insurance, you’re looking for just the right mix of service and protection. When you’re working with a committee, you’re looking for just the right mix of personality and humor. Terry Mitchell has all that, and more. Terry has been an agent with Allstate for over 12 years. He has also been the leader of our Membership Committee and served on our Board for many years. In each of those roles, he is “Mr. Smooth.” He brings a great sense of humor to our meetings, our mixers, and our holiday parties. Terry is a true gentleman and treats everyone with respect. They say you’re in good hands with Allstate. That’s true with Terry Mitchell.
“Mr. Park Street”
Duane Watson (Lee Auto Supply, 1525 Park Street)
The World Famous Lee Auto Supply has been on Park Street since 1959. When Duane Watson later took over the business from his father, it was not only with a passion for cars but also a passion for the customers and the business community. Duane values customer focus, team effort, attention to detail, integrity, honesty, and pride. These are also some of the qualities you will find in him. Few qualify to be “King of the Road” — but that’s Duane. Duane has served on our Board for 23 years. He has gotten into the trenches and has been the driving force that has built Downtown Alameda’s Classic Car Show into one of the best shows in the entire Bay Area. He has also delighted thousands of Alameda children with his holiday cheer. The list of things that Duane has done is too long to list and we are grateful for all that he has done for our district.
Be sure to stop by and congratulate the folks at these businesses the next time you find yourself in Downtown Alameda!
# # #
You’ll always find great food & drink establishments, charming shops, friendly services, and fun things to do in Downtown Alameda! To learn more about the businesses and events in Downtown Alameda, visit our new website: www.DowntownAlameda.com.
Downtown Alameda is the commercial, cultural, and civic center of our island city. We represent over 425 businesses on Park Street and beyond. Follow us on your favorite social media sites for updates: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+