OTTAWA - The movers and the shakers of Ottawa and surrounding communities gathered at the Schroeder Center for the Arts on Jan. 15 for the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Appreciation Meeting.

The evening event began at 6 p.m. With live music performed by Ottawa saxophone artist Charlie Doepker, attendees who arrived in advance of the meeting's 7:30 p.m. start sampled the "Taste of the Chamber" hors d'oeuvres as they mingled with fellow businesses and organizational representatives.

"This is an opportunity for restaurants, chefs and caterers to promote their unique menu items to other business professionals who are also Chamber members," said Amy Sealts, executive director for the OACOC.

The local food service industries on hand included a Chef's Personal Touch, Cavern Club Winery, Devine Interventions, Henry's, Red Pig Inn, Schnipke Inn, Touches From the Heart and The Well of Glandorf. Each donated their food for the evening.

The meeting itself was called to order by OACOC 2013 Board Chairman Dave Kuhlman of Kuhlman Builders. Incoming officers were announced and outgoing officers were recognized for their service, new members, investors and initiatives were overviewed, but the highlight of the evening was the announcement of the OACOC Business of the Year.

The 2013 honor was bestowed upon Don and Teresa Croy along with their sons Jeff and Lyle of Croy's Mowing. Their business is celebrating its 27th year of operation and employs 50 individuals.

When fellow OACOC member Brian Gustwiller nominated Croy's Mowing for the Business of the Year award, he wrote, "They demonstrate a great track record for hard work, community involvement and pride in their work. I admire their dedication to their business, employees and community. They jump at the chance to volunteer for events and have grown their business and number of employees over the last decade".

"When we received their nomination and looked back at Chamber initiatives, projects and events during 2013, we found that one or more of the Croy family members had participated in nearly every activity," added Sealts. "That's not something you see every day."

Following the award presentation, Chase Eikenbary, the NW Ohio Regional Liaison for Ohio Governor John Kasich's office, and Timothy Doescher from Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor's office, presented the Croy family with a proclamation from the State of Ohio in recognition of being the Business of the Year.