KEYSER - “You did a great job. Everyone in this room is a winner,” said Chamber of Commerce president Randy Crane as the chamber held its annual Summit Awards recognizing businesses large and small.

By Ronda Wertman
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - “You did a great job. Everyone in this room is a winner,” said Chamber of Commerce president Randy Crane as the chamber held its annual Summit Awards recognizing businesses large and small.
“We had a lot of votes. It means we have a lot of great business, non-profits and individuals,” he added.
“Sealed Air (formerly Automated Packaging Systems) and the Western Maryland Health System, they are both pillars of our community,” Crane said of this year’s large business nominees.
This year’s Business of the Year recipient Sealed Air makes packaging materials for shipping and specialized uses. The company purchased Automated Packaging Systems this summer.
“APS has expanded their business recently and has been adding jobs including the hiring of former Verso employees who were displaced by their plant shut-down,” said Crane, noting that the company is generous in their support of the community and chamber initiatives such as Mineral County Days.
Justin Secrist accepted the award on behalf of Automated Packaging/Sealed Air, noting that Automated has been a part of the community for 50 years.
He said that Sealed Air has a “very strong value for employees” and that the company is talking about capacity and growth with ultimately more jobs for the area.
“What we do, we couldn’t do without our people,” he added.
Western Maryland Health System Health System (WMHS) is the area’s largest employer, including 400 employees who live in Mineral County.
“Providing good paying jobs is only one of the many ways WMHS makes a positive impact in Mineral County,” said Crane noting that it is the hospital of choice for many residents as the nationally recognized care is available just minutes away.
“If you were to create a list of the hardest working people in Mineral County, they would be at the top of the list,” said Crane of this year’s small business honorees.
Brookedale Farms received this year’s Summit Award for the Small Business of the Year.
“Brookedale Farms has grown and prospered in the agritourism business here in Mineral County,” said Crane of the business owned and operated by Donnie and Donna Alt.
“Brookedale Farms encompasses cattle, corn, greenhouses and an incredible wedding and event venue,” Crane said, explaining that the Alts have developed numerous seasonal events which bring visitors from miles around.
“Donna and Donnie are very generous to the kids and the community as well, making Brookedale Farms a truly respected business in the heart of Mineral County,” he added.
“I’m really proud of these new businesses,” said Crane as he recognized other nominees Good Carma Catering, Fox’s Pizza and Queen’s Point Coffee.
“Good Carma Catering, based in Fort Ashby, is a remarkable business, run by an even more remarkable chef, Sarah Carman,” said Crane. “Sarah has the ability to do any size or type of event and has shown incredible flexibility in serving her clients.
“Sarah’s can-do attitude and above and beyond customer service, paired with her exceptional cuisine make her the best caterer in the region, and a great candidate for small business of the year,” Crane added.
“Perhaps the greatest thing about Fox’s Pizza and Kirk Kesner, which is noticed all over the Keyser area, is how much Fox’s gives back to the community,” said Crane, noting that since purchasing the business they have expanded their dining area and added depth to the menu with Chester Fried Chicken.
“Fox’s Pizza is a thriving, successful business, and a model for supporting the community which is serves,” said Crane.
“Queen’s Point Coffee, the brainchild of Terry Stephens of Keyser and run by Brian Wilson, this new venture has been an enormous hit in Keyser, and definitely fills a niche that has never been done as successfully before,” said Crane.
“Queen’s Point has taken the time and expense to transform the space of the former Stray Cat Café into an incredible community hub,” he added. “Queen’s Point Coffee has hit the nail on the head for what a community café can and should be. It’s a great casual meeting place, local musicians will stop by and play and Brian and his staff go the extra mile with each and every customer.”