Building a stronger Midway

And the award goes to…


On Feb.25, 2023, the Midway Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Celebration. The event is always a fun night and this year’s theme, “Music & The Midway,” meant it would definitely be festive. For extra fun, there was a banner meant to look like the iconic black First Ave. wall with stars which listed our biggest supporters of the night as ,well as album covers and vinyl “record” coasters at the tables.
Part of the fun every year is when we announce recipients of our Leadership Awards. They are always exemplary of what makes the Midway special, and we love highlighting them along with the other finalists. Without further adieu, here are this year’s award finalists and recipients…

Rookie of the Year: Little Free Library
Little Free Library has been well-known for years as the little boxes all over town where people can donate a book or grab one. Did you know they have 150,000 locations and are on all seven continents? Yes, even Antarctica! You can see a photo of that one, as well as many other Little Free Libraries, at their new headquarters in the Wycliff Building. Other finalists: The Arc Minnesota, Minnetronix

Nonprofit of the Year: Dress For Success
After losing their location to a fire in the Ashton Building, Dress for Success Twin Cities moved to a mobile confidence center (The Success Express) which has changing rooms and has helped eliminate transportation barriers. A national brand, locally they serve more than 3,000 women and promote local companies like Lip Esteem. Other finalists: St. Paul City School, Springboard for the Arts

Large Business of the Year:
Flannery Construction
Not only is Flannery Construction a business located in the Midway, they are also doing several projects in the neighborhood. Currently, there are three Flannery projects along University Avenue with many past Midway projects including the current Peking Garden/Hmong American Partnership building, Model Cities, Springboard, Saint Paul Police’s Western District, American National Bank, Element Gym, and the Flannery Construction headquarters. Other finalists: Ideal Printers, Suntide Commercial Realty

Small Business of the Year:
Your HR Navigator
With over 20 years’ experience in helping companies with human resources, Your HR Navigator founder Kara Sime has worked with a variety of industries, from Fortune 500 companies to solo operators. Your HR Navigator has been very generous in lending expertise to the Chamber this year through programming, membership recruiting, and the contributions of its owner Kara Sime to the Board of Directors. Other Finalists: JB Vang, TST Creative Catering

Volunteer of the Year: Tonya Bauer, St. Paul Port Authority
For many years Tonya has been a valuable Board, Executive Committee, and Economic Development Committee member. She regularly contributes value through her knowledge, experience, and wisdom, but also through the engagement of her employer the Port Authority.
Tonya brings her connections and knowledge from her many other community activities to the Midway Chamber. She always has creative ideas for programming and insight and wisdom she brings to the Board. She asks tough questions.
The Chamber would not be the same without Tonya! She’s fun – she contributes substance and does it with a smile and good humor. Other Finalists: Terri Banaszewski, Sunrise Banks; Sara Betru, Jennings Community School
We were excited to announce this year’s recipients and recognize them for their great work in our community and helping build a stronger Midway. Think about others you know who help make our neighborhood better and brighten their day by telling them thanks for their contributions.


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