Sustainable Connections recognized five Whatcom County businesses as sustainability champions at its annual membership meeting Jan. 10.
"There are so many inspiring stories of businesses making conscious efforts to better our community, our environment, and the lives of their workers," said Abby Hade Terpstra, membership coordinator at Sustainable Connections, in a press release. "It is an honor to present these awards to truly exceptional entrepreneurs and to share their stories of innovation and success."
One Pacific Coast Bank sponsored the Sustainability Awards.
Here's what the press release said about the businesses:
Leader in promoting strong community: Louis Auto and Residential Glass
Louis Auto and Residential Glass has been a cornerstone business since 1929, and their generous support of community events and organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Mount Baker Theatre, WWU, area school districts' sports and booster clubs, Northwest Youth Services, various charity auctions and many more, show that they put their money where their mouth is when they say, "We know that our business is successful because of the trust we have from our customers and we also understand that we owe much back to our communities for that trust. We are committed to making Whatcom and Skagit counties better places to live."
Leader in promoting Healthy Environment: 2020 Engineering
For years 2020 has been at the forefront of the green building movement, providing leadership not only in Whatcom County but on the national stage. Long-time advocates of sustainable water systems, 2020 has donated many hours to help the county develop storm water regulations for the Lake Whatcom watershed. They model sustainable practices in their workplace with a deep green retrofit and creating a co-working community in their building, where they also offer features like covered bike storage, garden planters and shared business resources. 2020 also had a role in designing the Seattle Bullitt Foundation Headquarters, the greenest building ever designed. Their newest venture focuses on LED lighting retrofits. Through their various interests they have shown their dedication to providing simple and innovative solutions for long-term economic and environmental sustainability of local, national, and international communities.
Leader in promoting Meaningful Employment: Varner Sytsma Herndon Certified Public Accountants
VSM offers "flexible schedules, reasonable billable hour goals, product oriented evaluation and a team environment that allows exceptional work/life balance. Personnel are encouraged to pursue life passions and interests outside of work," according to one employee. Allowing staff the flexibility to work part time, from home or remotely and trusting staff to set their own schedules is great for working parents or those providing care for their parents. Encouraging staff camaraderie through weekly gatherings and events like potlucks, pie bake-offs, baby showers, and an after-tax-season party let folks get to know each other. Team members can be found on boards or as sponsors of 20-plus community organizations and event. In the words of an employee, "the emphasis on work/life balance keeps our team strong, healthy and real."
Leader in promoting Buying Local First: Mallard Ice Cream
Mallard is a favorite and colorful downtown spot, offering a delicious respite and space to honor the bounty of our county. Through years of cultivating relationships with area farmers, unique flavors such as Fresh Mint, Aronia Berry, and Sweet Corn grace the menu. Proud supporters of farms like Growing Washington, The Growing Garden, Frog's Song Farm, Osprey Hill Farm, Viva Farms, Cloud Mountain, and Alm Hill Gardens, Mallard prides itself in sourcing local ingredients, each year purchasing thousands of pounds of produce from local growers and taking the time and energy to carefully process it in house: pitting cherries, baking pumpkins, hulling strawberries. In addition, owner Ben Scholtz noted he has been using a juicer to make juice in-house for employees. He estimates purchasing over 1,000 pounds of local veggies for juice alone.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Chuck and Dee Robinson, Village Books and Paper Dreams
Village Books opened its doors in 1980 and since has been supporting the community and life-long learning in a number of ways. It currently hosts 300-plus authors per year, hosts book groups and writers groups, supports Whatcom Reads, offers an Espresso Book Machine for self-publishing authors and access to out-of-print books, a Giving Tree at Christmas providing books for under privileged children, and hosts School Shopping night, which gives 20 percent of sales back to schools. Dee has served on the board of the Whatcom Museum and Chuck has served on the boards of the Community Food Co-op, North Cascades Institute and Sustainable Connections. He is also the former president of the American Booksellers Association and currently serves on Whatcom Community Foundation board.
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