By Joe Bachman
Local favorites Higher Grounds Bakery has received national recognition as an American Small Business Champion.
SCORE is a network of volunteers and business mentors supported by Sam’s Club. The award will send owners Jacalyn and Chris Race on an all-expense-paid trip to Dallas, Texas for a training and networking event. They also received a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card.
The contest asked small businesses to answer a series of essay questions about them, as well as send in a video regarding their struggles of owning a small business.
“It’s huge because it validates us more than anything,” said owner Jacalyn Race. “JC Penney or Younkers already have their validation because they’re connected to a national chain — whereas a small business really has to fight to grow to make themselves important in the community. We have to fight to prove our product in a way that other chains don’t have to.”
Nominations for the award has to gain at least 100 community votes, however, Higher Grounds Bakery received nearly 6,000 votes. They were then presented to a panel of small business experts that picked 102 winners nationwide.
Higher Grounds Bakery started their legacy in June of 2012 inside of the Rapids Mall, where the coffee and bakery shop was on the verge of closing. After a move to their current location at 4231 8th St. South, business has been continuously steady.
“SCORE is very pleased to honor the hard work and accomplishments of these 102 small business owners,” said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey in a press release. “They come from all across the Untied States, and provide diverse products and services for their clients, but all share in their dedication to making their dreams a reality.”
Higher Grounds Bakery was chosen for the unique aspect of their small business that contributed to their success, how they positively affect the community, and how they plan to grow by utilizing the prize money. They are eligible to win $25,000 if named Grand Champion this summer at the training event.
“We are so grateful to receive this recognition for the obstacles we have overcome as a small business,” said Jacalyn Race. “Thank you to our wonderful community, both locally and online for supporting us and helping us succeed. This would not have been possible without you.”
Winners were chosen last week. You can view their winning video by visiting the link below.