The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the prestigious 15th Annual Siuslaw Awards on July 21 at Three Rivers Casino Resort. Each year businesses are awarded in several categories including excellence in customer service, innovation, community service, and business of the year.


This year’s award categories include: Excellence in Customer Service, Innovation is Everything, Heart on their Sleeve, Profound Difference Award, Bold New Business, Aurora Borealis, and the Stu Johnston Business of the Year Award. Nomination forms were submitted by June 18, and event tickets went on sale June 19 at


“This year’s theme is ‘Lighting the Way for a Thriving Community’ with a Northern Lights ambiance and a northwest menu created by the chefs at Three Rivers Casino. The evening will celebrate those individuals and businesses who light the way for our thriving community of Florence,” said Chamber president/CEO Bettina Hannigan. All nominees are Chamber members.


“We are going to hear the great stories that showcase those Chamber members who show their passion, compassion, and dedication to what they do and who they do it for,” Hannigan added.


Two outstanding individuals in the community will be honored with the First Citizen Award and Future First Citizen Awards. The Florence First Citizen Award recognizes the lifetime achievements of an individual in the Florence community who has given selflessly of their time, talents, and resources to serve and improve the Florence area. Nominated this year were: Wayne Sharpe, Carol Bennett, Dina Pavlis, Bonnie MacDuffee, and Kim Erickson. The Future First Citizen Award recognizes a student based on his or her academic success as well as civic involvement and contributions to the community. Siuslaw High student Ian Sissel was named Future First Citizen earlier this year.


The Siuslaw Awards banquet and ceremony is and includes a fun farewell to outgoing board members and welcome to incoming board members, and a brief “state of the chamber” report on the organization’s successes in tourism and championing a thriving community.


Excellence In Customer Service: For those who consistently and abundantly provide the highest level of customer service. Nominees are: Beth Rudometkin, American Pacific Mortgage; Custom Profile Engraving, The Sign Shop/Copier Doctor, US Bead Warehouse.


Profound Difference: For the non-profit who had the biggest impact on the community of Florence. Nominees are: Florence Food Share, Florence Kiwanis Club, Soroptimist of Florence, Oregon Western Lane Community Foundation.


Innovation Is Everything: For the business or organization who thinks out of the box, is not afraid to color outside the lines to bring new and exciting products, services, or opportunities to Florence.  Nominees are: Cindy Wobbe Estate Sales, Hukilau Restaurant, Laughing Crab Gallery & Tasting Room, Pacific Hope Aesthetics.


Bold New Business: The new business that opened or changed hands in the last 13 months that Florence has benefited from most. Nominees are: Ocean Grinds Coffee, Fidelity National Title, Linda Did it Deli, Raining Cats & Dogs.


Heart On Their Sleeve: The business that often puts the community over profit, dedicating their time, money, and talents to make a difference to individuals and/or groups in Florence. Nominees are: HYAK, Oregon Pacific Bank, Sea Lion Caves; Laura Wilson, Windermere Realty.


Aurora Borealis: An individual who gives their time, talents and resources or goes above and beyond their job description, in order to make Florence a brighter place to live and work. Nominees are: Jade Rehder, RAIN; Erin Reynolds, City of Florence; Elizabeth Thompson, Oregon Coast Humane Society; Kristin Anderson, FRAA


Stu Johnston Business of The Year: Named for the founder of Johnston Motors, this award goes to the business or organization that shows compassion and innovation, while providing outstanding service to the community. Nominees are: Buckwald & Hornung CPAs, Coast Broadcasting, Lofy Construction, Port of Siuslaw, Siuslaw Pioneer Museum.


Tickets are on sale now, online here or email Bettina at for an online invoice.

For more information on the 15th annual Siuslaw Awards, or to join or volunteer for the Florence Area Chamber of commerce, call 541-997-3128, email, or visit