By Debbie Monterrey

Starting a business is a leap of faith. Any minute you can crash to the ground in flames, with your life savings going up in smoke. Or, you could succeed, grow, prosper and maybe, some day, find yourself getting an award for all your effort!

Such was the case at the 2013 Business Celebration Luncheon put on by the St. Louis Development Corporation and Mayor Slay’s office.

Usually, I attend these type of luncheons because I’m emceeing. But, for the last several years, I’ve attended this event as a spectator, just to sit in a room with all of these former dreamers, now business men and women, surrounded by their friends, neighbors and employees, taking time out to receive an award.

As a City resident, I applaud all of these folks for investing and believing in our city.

There were quite a few awards given out on Friday, October 4th at the Renaissance Grand ballroom (and a mostly full room, despite the playoff game on the other end of downtown between the Cardinals and the Pirates!): Businesses of the Year, Neighborhood Businesses of the Year (by ward), Developments of the Year, Quality of Life Awards and the Mayor’s Award.

The Mayor’s Award went to Father Lawrence Biondi for everything he’s done to transform St. Louis University, Midtown, Grand Center and South City.

My favorite awards are the Neighborhood Businesses because some of my friends won awards, and because these are the type of small businesses that rarely get any recognition but are so vital to the people who live near them.

On Morganford--invitations, gifts and more.

On Morganford–invitations, gifts and more.

2013 Neighborhood Businesses of the Year
Ward 1: Albert Arno, Inc.
Ward 2: Gregg’s Bar & Grill
Ward 3: Butch’s Lock & Key
Ward 4: Harry’s Barber Shop
Ward 5: La Mancha Coffeehouse
Ward 6: J. Justin Meehan Law Office
Ward 7: Edele & Mertz Hardware Co.
Ward 8: Botanicals Design Studio
Ward 9: El Torito Restaurant
Ward 10: Paperkeet
Ward 11: Loughborough Auto Body
Ward 12: Gravois Glass
Ward 13: Cafe Nova
Ward 14: Taft Street Restaurant and Bar
Ward 15: Gustine Market
Ward 16: The Green Goose
Ward 17: The Gramophone
Ward 18: Bowood Farms & Cafe Osage
Ward 19: Guarantee Interiors
Ward 20: Nebula Coworking
Ward 21: M-1 Food Market
Ward 22: Eye Fashion Factory
Ward 23: Mom’s Deli
Ward 24: St. Louis Strings Violin Shop
Ward 25: Schmidt Equipment & Supply
Ward 26: B&B Supermarket
Ward 27: The Kutt Factory Barber & Beauty Salon
Ward 28: Sub Zero Vodka Bar

Businesses of the Year: Abstrakt Marketing Group; FUSION Marketing; Grice Group Architects; Henkel Consumer Goods; Mechanical Solutions, Inc.; TD4 Electrical LLC; John Volpi & Company; Wells Fargo Advisors.

Developments of the Year: Barnes-Jewish Hospital Center For Outpatient Health; CORTEX/STL Innovation Center Phase II; Cupples 9; Jefferson Commons; St. Louis University School of Law; The MX.

Quality of Life Awards: KIPP Inspire Academy; St. Louis Art Museum; Sheldon Arts Foundation; St. Louis Public Safety Partnership.

I’ll be looking forward to next year’s event to meet another impressive group of hardworking business owners!


Volpi Foods, making great Italian meats for 100 years.

Volpi Foods, making great Italian meats for 100 years.


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