EPIC Awards Honor Epic Grand Rapids Entrepreneurs

By Jane Whitttington on June 30th, 2015 / Comments

An entrepreneur is defined as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” Not every business succeeds, and the budding entrepreneur must be willing to take a chance, believe in what they hope to accomplish and not give up. This isn’t easy, and it takes a particular type of person to be willing to undergo all that is entailed in establishing a successful business.

The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce recognizes those who have made that commitment to their dreams and succeeded in launching their own businesses. The EPIC Awards are given yearly to honor their achievements.

Twenty West Michigan business entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations were finalists for seven EPIC Awards. EPIC stands for Entrpreneurial, Progressive, Innovation and Collaborative, and the nominees were judged keeping these standards in mind. All of those nominated are recognized as having supported the community, demonstrated growth, valued innovation and worked with other as mentors and/or collaborators. Finalists were chosen from the list of nominees by a committee established for that purpose and made up of past recipients as well as prominent community leaders.

The 2015 EPIC Award recipients are as follows:

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: The Mitton Brewing Company. The Mitton Brewing Company was opened in 2012 by childhood friends Chris Andrus and Max Trierweiler. Located in a lovingly restored Grand Rapids landmark—Engine House Number Nine—the Mitton Brewing Company offers over a dozen varieties of craft beer as well as gourmet pizzas.

Small Business of the Year: Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Inc. Lambert, Edwards & Associates (LE&A) was founded in 1998 and has grown for 15 straight years to become one of the Midwest’s largest and most respected public relations and investor relations firms. They have received many awards for their expertise in the field of public relations.

Woman-Owned Business of the Year: Eastown Veterinary Clinic. Eastown Veterinary Clinic is a full-service resource for animals and their owners. This business was established by Dr. Lynn Happel in 2011. After graduation from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and working in group practices for eight years, Dr. Happel opened her own practice in Eastown and has assembled a staff of dedicated professionals committed to animal well-being.

Minority-Owned Business of the Year: Malamiah Juice Bar, LLC. This business is located in the Grand Rapids City Market and offers juices and smoothies that are not only delicious but provide many health benefits. Jermale and Anissa Eddie named the business after their young children, Malachi and Nehemiah. They operate their business with these values in mind: integrity, kindness and excellence.

Veteran-Owned Business of the Year: JetCo Solutions. Jon and Sue Tellier founded JetCo Solutions, a company focused on winning government business for clients by marketing and selling their products and services to government agencies. Jon went to West Point and served on active in the Army for 11 years. Jon Tellier remains a Major of the Army Reserve. Sue was formerly employed as manager of business outreach and supplier diversity for the State of Michigan.

Non-Profit of the Year: West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology (WMCAT). WMCAT offers career training and education to teens and adults. Their mission is to provide opportunities for people to make economic and social progress in their lives.

Excellence in Business: Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Mary Free Bed is a 167-bed acute care inpatient rehabilitation hospital founded in 1891 by a group of civic minded women to provide care for children and adults who have had a brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation of other injury or illness requiring rehabilitation. It doubled in size in 2015.

Pictured above: Jamale and Anissa Eddie accept the award for Minority-Owned Business of the Year for Malamiah Juice Bar. Photo by Adam Bird, Photographer.

About the Author

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Grand Rapids. A Michigan native and Michigan State University grad, she enjoys reading, travel, politics and volunteering.