What's so special about locally owned businesses? If you have to ask, you really should have been at the Isthmus Independent Business Awards ceremony on Monday night at the Goodman Community Center. The event acknowledged the importance of local businesses and, by extension, the importance of patronizing them
"For every $100 spent at a local business, $73 stays in the community, compared to $43 for a non-local business," said Colin Murray of Dane Buy Local.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi made a more cosmic point: "Locally grown businesses reflect who we are as a community."
To judge from the winners of the 2012 Indie Awards, that means we're down-to-earth, friendly, and sincere in our desire to make Dane County a better place. To judge from Markus Candinas' brown-striped jacket, it means we're also flashy dressers when we want to be.
Candinas, of Candinas Chocolatier, won the award in the innovation-oriented Dane and Beyond category. The other winners were Thomas Holmes of Glenville Timberwrights (Dynamic Developer); Jeff Maurer of Fresh Madison Market (Fresh Food Friend); Alison Dodge, Lea Wolf and Carolynn Schwartz of Happy Bambino (Market Spark); Mike Olson of Madison Music Foundry and Blast House Studios (Bridge Builder); Jennifer Uphoff Gray of Forward Theater Company (Hometown Artist); Richard Kilmer of Community Pharmacy (Neighborhood Notable); and Jim Bradley of Home Savings Bank (Green Angel).
They were introduced by associate publisher Linda Baldwin of Isthmus, which presented the awards in cooperation with Dane Buy Local; SupraNet was the sponsor. At the podium, the winners discussed their efforts to give back to the community, whether by helping the needy, supporting families or practicing sustainability.
Many of them emphasized their commitment to keeping dollars in Dane County, though chocolatier Candinas got a laugh by acknowledging the occasional limits of the buy-local philosophy:
"Cocoa beans don't come from anywhere near Madison."