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Chelsea Area Chamber Award Winners Honored

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Craig and Donna Common, winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Story and photos by Lisa Carolin

At the May 18 Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and awards dinner, which stayed dry in Robin Hills Farm’s Prairie House Building, business leadership awards were presented to chamber members who, “are a catalyst and advocate for area businesses and organizations to promote and develop a vital business environment in Chelsea.”

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Michelle Tuplin, owner of Serendipity Books, was the small business award winner.

The 2021 Chelsea Lifetime Achievement Recipient Award went to Craig and Donna Common for, “demonstrating over many years a commitment and involvement in the community and selflessly improving the quality of life for residents.”

The Commons retired from The Common Grill on March 13, 2022 after 30 years. Craig Common said it wouldn’t have been possible to keep the restaurant going all those years without his wife’s help.

“I’d like to thank our employees and our guests’ loyalty over the years,” said Craig Common. “We served 4 1/2 million meals during that time, and the last month we were open, we served 500 people every night.”

Presenter Gary Munce thanked the Commons for their, “ongoing dedication to art, music and education in Chelsea.”

Photo by Lisa Carolin. John Daniels won the Citizen of the Year award.

John Daniels, one of the owners of Chelsea Lumber, received the 2021 award for Chelsea Citizen of the Year. He thanked family members in the audience as well as his parents, who are deceased.

“My mom and dad did so much in this community, and I had a front row seat to that,” said Daniels. “My father said, ‘If you’re good to the community, the community will be good to you.’ I want to carry on that legacy the best I can.”

Among the criteria for the award are contributing to the economic impact of Chelsea, “providing services that meet the needs of the community, displaying innovative ideas and services, and supporting the activities of the chamber.”

After presenter Ann Colone told everyone how lucky they are that Michelle Tuplin, owner of Serendipity Books, the 2021 Small Business Leadership Award recipient, made the trip across the pond in 1995, Tuplin shared that she originally came from a small village in Yorkshire, England that reminds her of Chelsea.

For Tuplin, owning a business in a small town means doing business with friends. Her independent bookstore has partnerships with local schools, the library, and other organizations.

“Every day I live my dream: running Serendipity Books, building our community, and reaping the rewards of living in that strong, vibrant community myself. To be given an award for living my dream is crazy icing on the cake.”

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Bob Mock, Jr. Bridget Favre and Doris Galvin. Palmer Auto Services won the 2021 Large Business Award.

For Bob Mock, Jr., whose company Palmer Auto Services received the Large Business Leadership Award, it was all about his team of employees.

“If it wasn’t for my team, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “We’re more about fixing people sometimes than we are about fixing cars.”

Lori Coryell, executive director of The Chelsea District Library, brought the library staff with her to accept the Non-Profit Business Leadership Award. She referred to her staff as, “smart, creative, inquisitive, and dedicated.”

This year there have been six ribbon cuttings in Chelsea to date, and Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terris Ahrens says the business community in Chelsea is strong.

“It is a true inspiration to watch not only the business owners, but the whole community support local,” said Ahrens, who says the Chelsea Chamber has a lot of great events planned for 2022 including new sculptures for SculptureWalk, the Annual Golf Outing, Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights beginning June 2, the Sounds & Sights Festival July 29-30, and much more to follow.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Chelsea District Library staff won the non-profit business award.
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