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Awards Season

Businesses, groups, individuals receive recognition for service

Feeney's Package Liquors has long been a fixture of downtown Morris.

Opened in the wake of Prohibition, the liquor store is a fourth-generation, family-owned business known equally for its high-quality service and for giving back to the community.

And on Thursday night, the store was awarded the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Business of the Year Award at the Annual Dinner hosted by the Grundy Economic Development Council and the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"It means a lot for everybody that's been a part of Feeney's over the years," owner Mike Feeney said. "I'm proud to be a part of a long tradition in the family business."

"We put our heart and soul into the business," he added.

Feeney took over the business about seven years ago when his father passed away. It was a tough decision at the time, he said, to move the family back to Morris from the La Salle-Peru area. But his wife and family supported the move, and believes they made the right decision.

"It was stressful at the time," Feeney said. "But it's worked out great."

The store was honored, according to the Chamber's Executive Director Caroline Portlock, for strong customer service and for giving back to the community.

For the past six years, Feeney's has held a wine and beer tasting, the proceeds of which are donated entirely to charity. The donations have amounted to nearly $70,000 over that time.

The proceeds from this year's tasting, to be held Saturday, will be donated to the Grundy County Housing Authority.

The GEDC honored Midwest Industrial Sales, a heavy-equipment salvaging company in Gardner, with its Welcome to Grundy County Award; Illinois Senator Sue Rezin with its Partnership Award; and A&R Logistics in Channahon with its own Business of the Year Award.

The GEDC also honored one of its founding members, Bob Breisch, with its Volunteer of the Year Award.

Breisch has served on the GEDC for 20 years and also serves as the Chairman of the Grundy County Zoning Board of Appeals. According to Nancy Norton Ammer, CEO of the GEDC, Breisch has attended more than 370 zoning meetings.

Accepting his award, Breisch commended the GEDC for how much it's grown in its now 20 years of existence.

"I'm so proud of what it's become today," he said.

For their part, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry recognized Eric Peterson of Peterson Computer Consulting as Entrepreneur of the Year, the Morris Lions Club as Organization of the Year and Stephanie Coleman, branch manager of Standard Bank in Morris, as its Ambassador of the Year.

"Being an advocate for the Chamber is easy because I believe in what they do," Coleman said.

According to the Chamber and the GEDC, close to 240 guests turned out to this year's dinner, a number that included area business and municipal leaders, as well as investors.

The 20th anniversary of the GEDC was also honored at the event.

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