During every other year of its 26-year history, the Accolades luncheon drew hundreds to honor some of the most successful and high-profile businesswomen in Colorado Springs. But the format and the focus changed this year, transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held Tuesday, was a hybrid in-person and virtual event. And the spotlight this time was on local businesses that shifted into new markets or products to survive or helped businesses or others during the pandemic.
Glassical Designs, Board & Brush Creative Studio, The Inn at Garden Plaza, Comcast, 5Star Bank and Pikes Peak International Raceway were recognized for their efforts as the luncheon focused on success stories amid the pandemic. The luncheon typically honors a female business owner, a young professional, a minority-owned business and one of the chamber’s members.
The six companies, their stories and a link to videos shown at the luncheon are listed below:
• Glassical Designs: Amid falling sales and laying off half its staff, Glassical shifted from making glass and acrylic awards for galas and events to making gifts for wedding party members, signs and face shields.
• Board & Brush Creative Studio, which previously hosted events for people to make personalized signs for their homes, shifted to offering take-home sign-making and backyard game kits delivered curbside.
• The Inn at Garden Plaza, a senior living facility, changed its marketing from live events to virtual meetings and outdoor concerts for residents amid worries about whether residents would move into such facilities during the pandemic.
• Comcast: The company began offering its low-cost internet service free for two months during the pandemic to make sure low-income families could access online lessons once schools shut down in-person classes. It also created 1.5 million public Wi-Fi hot spots and boosted internet capacity to accommodate surging traffic from at-home learning, working from home and other online activities.
• 5Star Bank: The bank made Payroll Protection Program loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration to help many businesses survive, including Picnic Basket Catering after it lost nearly $1 million in bookings in one day.
• Pikes Peak Raceway: The raceway hosted “Cruise to the Finish,” where graduating high school seniors could drive their vehicles on the raceway behind a NASCAR race car to honor their graduation.
Founded in 1993, the women’s chamber has nearly 300 member companies and offers a variety of events for networking, educational, leadership, community and civic involvement as well as promotional opportunities for members.