ACRA names Businesses of the Year |

ACRA names Businesses of the Year

Andre SalvailThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Two businesses and one nonprofit were honored during the Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s Thursday luncheon to kick off Winterskl 2011.The Aspen Club & Spa received ACRA’s 2010 Business of the Year award, while Ski Butlers was named Emerging Business of the Year. The Aspen Community Foundation garnered the title of Nonprofit of the Year.Before announcing the winners, ACRA President Debbie Braun said the annual awards were established to recognize businesses and other types of organizations for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the community.Aspen Club & Spa, she said, started nearly 35 years ago as a tennis and racquet club with a mere 10 employees. Today, the company employs more than 200 workers, and has transformed itself into a world-renowned fitness, sports medicine and spa facility.Braun spoke of how the Aspen Club continues to fight for its future, seeking and winning City Council approval for its expansion plans earlier this year. “By renewing their commitment to their future in Aspen, this business became more dedicated to the town and its causes,” she said.She also mentioned the Aspen Club’s support for more than 100 local charities and organizations through sponsorships, donations and events.Ski Butlers, Braun said, has grown rapidly since opening in 2006. The company provides a ski-rental delivery service, booking business online or over the phone.She said Ski Butlers has been a good community partner, donating services to local organizations such as the Aspen Art Museum and the Early Learning Center.”Their goals for Aspen are lofty,” Braun said. “They say, ‘Our goal is that the guest returns to Aspen – period.’ “This business has evolved from a simple storage spot for reservations to an inventory management, employee management, marketing management and customer-service management system machine,” she said.As for the Aspen Community Foundation, Braun noted that it recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Over the years it has provided more than $50 million in grants to nonprofits, brought together community leaders on critical issues and sought donors inside and outside of the community to build its philanthropic network.”Their civic involvement is extraordinary in its scope,” Braun said. “This nonprofit possesses a deep knowledge of community issues and the work of our valley’s nonprofits; they guide them and administer grant-making programs effectively and strategically.”In other business at the luncheon, the queen and king of Winterskl 2011 were crowned. Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Marie Munday and paraplegic athlete Sam Ferguson were chosen as royalty for the annual event because of their numerous volunteer efforts in the community.The sold-out luncheon was held at the St. Regis Aspen

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