Cheechako of the Year – Anita Golton shows off her Mat Su CVB award that she received last week
The Mat Su Convention and Visitors Bureau recently awarded the Flying Squirrel Bakery and Cafe the Cheechako award of the year. The Cheechako award goes each year to the successful new start-up business in the Mat Su. The CVB held their annual meeting Friday and handed out their awards for the year.
Flying Squirrel opened its doors in August of 2009, just as the tourist season was winding down. Owner Anita Golton says the award made her feel validated. She had an indication last week she might be winning an award, but was just too busy with the business to attend the awards banquet. She said she took risk and sacrfice to open her business and that she felt the award honored her personally as well as the business itself. However, she says she couldn’t have done it without the support of her family and staff.
Casey Ressler, Marketing Manager for the Mat Su CVB, says it was a bit unusual since the award usually goes out to someone who has been in business for two or three years. However, he said the Flying Squirrel received rave reviews and they decided to award the one and a half year old business this year.
Palmer Chamber of Commerce won the Northern Lights award for excellence-by-an-organization.
The Tourism Angel Award, which goes to one single person who goes beyond the call of duty, went to CPA Wes Tegler of Wasilla, who has been a CVB Board member for 9 years. Last year, Talkeetna Roadhouse owner Trisha Costello won that award.
The Gold Star Award goes to a company with overall excellence in the industry. This year’s award went to Deshka Landing Outdoor Association.