Aronson, Olerud's, Howsers win chamber's top awards
Haines Friends of Recycling chair Melissa Aronson won the Haines Chamber of Commerce’s Community Service Award Saturday.
Olerud’s was named Business of the Year and Howsers won the group’s Customer Service Award. Buckshot and Bobby Pins, a Main Street boutique, won the Rising Star Award.
Aronson volunteers 30 hours a week for HFR and helps out at the library. She chaired the borough’s Energy Sustainability Commission for more than a year, helped start the local energy fair, and will teach a permaculture class next spring.
Chamber president Ned Rozbicki described Aronson as "committed to the community in words and actions."
Aronson, a retired high school biology teacher and university instructor, moved here in 2005. She said she was surprised to win the award and told the banquet crowd she found volunteering fun.
"This is a great town for people who want to volunteer. There are options for everybody and there are no reasons to be bored if you live here. With my volunteering efforts, I’m doing things I taught about for a long time," she said this week.
Charlotte Olerud accepted the business of the year award for her family’s store. She talked about the start of the business in 1971, selling surplus boots from Sears. "Thankfully, it was a long winter."
The family-run business that includes a grocery store and clothing has previously included a fabric shop and marine supply. It recently moved its sporting goods department into a separate building next door. "We feel like our staff is a family and we treat them like family," Olerud said.
Rozbicki gave the store kudos for a new façade he described as putting talk about downtown beautification into action. He described the business as "part of the economic engine that keeps Haines alive."
Manager Kevin Shove spoke on behalf of Howsers, saying staff there are welcoming and show a concern for customers’ needs. Chamber president Rozbicki lauded the company for showing community involvement and support through generous donations to local organizations.
Buckshot and Bobby Pins shopkeeper Kristine Harder said she jumped at the chance to fill a spot on Main Street anchored for decades by Helen’s Shop. Her store was recognized for its unique merchandise and lively displays.