The Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce is soliciting nominations for two prizes that will be bestowed at the Small Business Awards Luncheon next month.

The Leon Hoover Entrepreneurial Spirit Award recognizes a local business that embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship in its daily operation. The award is presented to a Lebanon Valley business with 20 or fewer employees that has demonstrated business accomplishments, staying power, and contributions to the community. The nomination process is very simple: All you need to do is get the name to the Chamber, either by calling (717) 273-3727 or emailing Chamber president Karen Groh at

The Leon Hoover Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was renamed after Leon Hoover in the mid-2000’s. Hoover was a dairy farmer in Myerstown who started and operated a number of area businesses, including Country Fare in Meyerstown, which is still owned by Leon’s son, Eric. Leon was the recipient of the Lebanon Valley Small Business of the Year award in 1993. After his passing in 2004 at the age of 55, the award was renamed for him.

The Small Business Person of the Year Award recognizes the accomplishments of a successful area business person. The award is presented to a Lebanon Valley business person who is the operating head/majority owner of a Lebanon Valley business that employs fewer than 200 employees and has been operating at least five years. The nomination process for this award involves a brief form that will be reviewed confidentially by a selection committee. Find the form here (PDF).

Nominations for both awards are due by Friday, April 5 at 4pm.

The awards will be presented at the Small Business Awards Luncheon on April 16 at 11:30am at the Hebron Banquet Hall. The event will consist of a casual networking period followed by a keynote address given by Anne Kirby of Lancaster’s The Candy Factory and then the awards presentation. Register for the luncheon here.

Past Small Business Person of the Year

1981: Frank Dixon, Dixon Recyclers
1982: Peter Strickler, Strickler Insurance
1983: Mark Tice, Lebanon Plumbing Supply
1984: Geoffrey Sowers, Sowers Printing
1985: Lee Laudermilch, Laudermilch Meats
1986: Jerry Landuyt, Kutztown Bologna
1987: John & Loretta Achey, Plain ‘N Fancy Kitchens
1988: Erwin Herschowitz, PRL, Inc.
1989: Richard Miller, Jr., PA Precision Cast Parts
1990: Leon Houser, Plasterer Equipment Co.
1991: Donald Blyler, Jr., Donald Blyler Offset
1992: Lee & Susan Allwein, Allwein’s Carpet One
1993: Leon Hoover, Hoover Mgt. Group Co.
1994: George Zimmerman, STACO, Inc.
1995: Robert DiMatteo, ASK Foods
1996: Glenn Wenger, Wengers of Myerstown
1997: Ruth Dietz, Ono Transport Services
1998: Gregory Royer, Royer’s Flowers, Inc.
1999: Steven Kreamer, Kreamer Funeral Home, Inc.
2000: Kaj Skov, The Lantern Lodge
2001: Bill Kolovani, BK Advertising
2002: Larry Bowman, G.F. Bowman, Inc.
2003: Joseph White, White’s Harley Davidson Sales
2004: Robert Funk, Arthur Funk & Sons, Inc.
2005: Jeff Steckbeck, Steckbeck Engineering
2006: Harold Weaver, H R Weaver Building Systems
2007: Josie & Bill Ames, Ames Services
2008: Willie Erb, E&E Metal Fabrication, Inc.
2009: Janice Holsinger, U-Grow Learning Centres
2010: Patrick Riley, The Downtown Lounge
2011: Warren Lewis, Klick-Lewis, Inc.
2012: Cindy Heisey, TempForce
2013: Ed Kercher, Kercher Industries. Inc.
2014: Jeff Edwards, Bowman’s Byerly Insurance Agency
2015: Bill Wertz, Wertz Candies
2016: Chris Gebhard, Hoaster Gebhard & Co.
2017: Ben Ilgenfritz, Genesis Lighting & Electric
2018: Rob Kemp, DRT Transportation

Past Leon Hoover Entrepreneurial Spirit Award Winners

1999: Joanne McGee Cleaning & Janitorial Service – Joanne McGee
2000: JLB Advertising & Public Relations – Jan Boyer
2001: Zinn Insurance – Greg & Jonathan Zinn
2002: Elaine’s Catering – Elaine S. Brandt
2003: Harpel’s – Richard Harpel
2004: Guerrisi Landscape Co., Inc. – Michael Guerrisi
2005: Resource Island – Stacey Pennington
2006: Marty’s Music Store – Lee & David Moyer
2007: Taylor-Ruffner Funeral Home, Inc. – James Ruffner
2008: COMP Assist – Diana Hartman
2009: Shalters Insurance, Inc. – Dennis Shalters
2010: Kauffman Creative Services – Barbara Kauffman
2011: Fresh Creative, Inc. – Dinny Kinloch
2012: Just Like Family Home Health Care – Tiffany & Anthony Miller
2013: Palmyra Bowling/Sinkhole Saloon – Amy & Doug Eiserman2014: Waste Recovery Solutions, Inc. – Bernie Reilly
2015: Sew Unique Custom Embroidery – Brian Stanilla & Steph Wolfe
2016: Hidden Still Spirits – David Stein
2017: Bering Real Estate – Bill and Bob Bering
2018: Leitzel’s Jewelry – Ceylon Leitzel and Trevor Williams

Full Disclosure: The Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce is a sponsor of LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on sponsorship status and sponsors do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about LebTown’s sponsorship program here.


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