Minocqua • Arbor Vitae • Woodruff
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Community Recognition Awards

Once a year the Let's Minocqua Visitors Bureau recognizes the accomplishments of our partners, non-profit organizations, and area businesses. Nominations are considered for the following awards: Business of the Year, Shining Star/Non-Profit of the Year, Chamber Champion, Community Spirit Award, Citizen of the Year Award, and Outstanding Emerging Business. This year, we would like to recognize our businesses at our Annual Dinner held on October 18th, 2022 to present the awards and thank our nominees for participating in and supporting the organization and communities of Minocqua, Woodruff, and Arbor Vitae.

This year's annual dinner theme is "A year of wins!".  Please share with us your business's accomplishments this year - we would like to highlight you! 

Thank you to everyone that attended our Annual Dinner last night at the Campanile Center for the Arts. It was a great evening to recognize & celebrate so many amazing people doing great work in our communities. The winners of this year's Community Recognition Awards are:

Business of the Year: Northfork Fin & Filet

Shining Star/Non-Profit of the Year: Northwoods Wildlife Center

Community Spirit Award: Lakeland Sharing Foundation

Citizen of the Year Award: Megan Hunt from Black Sheep Ink

Outstanding Emerging Business: Dick's Doghouse

Chamber Champion: Michael Tautges



Award Categories

Business of the Year is presented to the business that has demonstrated innovative economic and business growth, provides dedication to customer service, and is active in the community.

Northfork Fin and Filet - Established in 2020, Northfork Fin and Filet has continued to innovate and grow exponentially in their first two years of business. They recently added an outdoor venue and a new menu to diversify their offerings. With a variety of entertainment, inside and out, they give the local music scene a home in our community.  They are dedicated to the area by hosting diverse fundraisers and their doors are always open with an excellent long-time staff that provides a top-notch customer
service experience. 
Lakeland Fitness and Golf – Lakeland Fitness and Golf has demonstrated that they are here for the community in a myriad of ways. None more impactfully than their Grand Opening celebration held this summer that raised over $25,000 for the Woodruff Fire Department. Not only were they showcasing this facility for all, they actively were trying to help the community by living their motto. When John and Shelly Weis moved to the Northwoods they dreamed of enhancing the quality of life for all those that lived, worked, and played in our area and hoped to change lives. They are doing that good work every day through innovative programming at their facility with an amazing dedicated staff.
Redman Realty Group – Year after year, Redman Realty Group not only grows as a business but continues to go above and beyond expectations for clients and is truly unmatched in their genuine enthusiasm for our local community. Through their events at Beef-A-Rama™ and excellent float representation in the 4 th of July Parade, the Redman team brings the excitement and true Minocqua
spirit to all that they participate in.

Shining Star/Non-Profit of the Year is presented to a service organization or public institution that provides dedication to community service and leadership and develops innovative programs to serve the community over time.

Northwoods Wildlife Center – With their mission to provide a better future for wildlife through rehabilitation, education, and research, the Northwoods Wildlife Center epitomizes what it means to be a shining star in the community. Through their outreach programming, guided tours, and their wildlife ambassadors, NWC provides the community and tourists alike with an opportunity to learn about their
wild neighbors and make our community better, one interaction at a time.
Lakeland Area Mountain Bike Organization – Mountain bike clinics, group rides, event development, area marketing initiatives, and volunteerism are just a few of the community services and programs LAMBO does for the Lakeland Area. Their dedication to making the area a mountain bikers' dream destination has been an ongoing passion project since the early 90s.
Minocqua Library – Ever a fountain of new programs, the Minocqua Public Library fosters not just a traditional literary focus, but also an increasing number of opportunities to experience art, culture, science, and engagement with the local community.

Chamber Champion recognizes a person or business that goes above and beyond to support the Visitors Bureau + Chamber of Commerce.

Will be announced at dinner.

Community Spirit Award recognizes an organization or individual that is dedicated to helping others or an organization that’s leading an initiative/program focused on making a positive impact in the Lakeland Area.

Lakeland Sharing Foundation - The two main programs of the Lakeland Sharing Foundation are the Christmas Gift Program and the Backpack/School Supplies Program. The Lakeland Sharing Foundation is solely funded by donations. It’s an all-volunteer organization with no administrative costs, so 100 percent of donations support local children in need. During the 2021 Christmas season, the Lakeland Sharing Foundation served more than 700 children. The backpack and student support programs assist with school supplies and miscellaneous student costs for families in need. In August, the program distributes about 800 backpacks filled with supplies to students in the community.
Lakeland Area General Federation of Women’s Club (GFWC) – The GFWC is an organization dedicated to improving and enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service and charitable contributions in the Minocqua Area. Through various fundraisers that support local area non-profits, scholarship funds, and service organizations, they are leading the way in volunteerism. Their current project of creating six whimsical murals at Brandy Park will create a positive fun environment for park users to enjoy.
Lakeland ATV Club: Wheelin for a Cause – Not only does the Lakeland ATV Club create and maintain a wonderful network of trails for locals and visitors to enjoy, they are also here to help others through event creation and charitable giving! Wheelin’ for a Cause, now in its second year, aims to support local area service organizations through fundraising all while introducing UTV/ATV enthusiasts to the area. Monies go to support the Woodruff Fire Department, Operation Santa, and several other charitable organizations in the Lakeland Area.


Citizen of the Year Award recognizes someone whose work, community service, and involvement demonstrates what it is to be a good citizen.

Gregg Walker – Gregg has worked tirelessly to help build, fundraise, and grow awareness of the Lakeland STAR School/Academy. The mission of Lakeland STAR is to cultivate self-reliance and determination in all students so they may discover their unique potential and maximize their capabilities by providing a transition-focused, personalized education program in an environment that fosters
acceptance and honors individual strengths. His guidance in the Rising STAR Transitions Center, where students learn how to live independently so they can thrive at work, school, and in the community is also a part of his legacy. What he has contributed to this community cannot be measured and will serve this area well into the future.
Megan Hunt – Megan at Black Sheep Ink has done so many amazing things for the community. Among those would be setting up a food pantry during the heart of the Covid Pandemic, many fundraisers to help those in need, woman’s empowerment events, mental health awareness events, and blood drives all in the name of our community. She embodies someone that puts the community before self and makes the place we live a little bit better through her selfless volunteerism.
Bob Metropulos – With a vision of what a historic bridge could become after demolition, Bob set out to create The Friends of T-bird Bridge and raise $185,000 to repurpose it and create something wonderful for the community. The purpose of the committee is to use this iconic structure that sends a message that we bridge community with education. It also serves to preserve this historical bridge panel that has been a symbol of pride for the Lakeland T-Bird Country. Most importantly the project aims to develop a scholarship for challenged students for them to pursue continuing education, allowing them to grow and give them the confidence they need to help them push forward into their future careers. Bob never waivered from this mission and has been the backbone of the committee since the bridge came down in 2016 and will be there cheerleading until the project is complete.


Outstanding Emerging Business recognizes a small business that has contributed to our region’s economic vitality and demonstrated revenue growth and staying power. The business must have operated for less than five years.

Sloans Spa – What began as an idea of a much-needed service for our area, developed into a two-year adventure for owner Katie Sloan. The spa offers a beautiful, relaxing getaway that encompasses a variety of services to fit the needs of anyone that walks through the door.
Cafe Sonder – With a welcoming atmosphere, upbeat staff, and a dedication to engaging with the local community, Café Sonder is a highly enjoyed addition to downtown Minocqua. The name alone (Sonder) by definition shows the positive and warm environment she offers to anyone who walks through the door.
Dick’s Dog House – With a passion to help our four-legged friends, residents and tourists of the Minocqua area can bring their pets to play and stay, burn energy and have a blast, while their pet parents are out having fun. Knowing our community desperately needed a place for doggie daycare, owners Dick and Kellie Sedlak em-“barked” on a journey to fill this community need. Now, in their fifth
year, this dream has become a wildly successful business reality.

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Year of Wins

Lakeland area businesses, please share with us your business's accomplishments this year - we would like to highlight you!