Small businesses honored

Annual Downtown Camas Association awards dinner recognizes best improvements, marketing, customer service

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It was a packed house at Journey Church Monday night for the Downtown Camas Association’s annual awards dinner, with a line stretching from one end of the building to the other when dinner was served.

The evening event, held Nov. 12, was set to honor businesses new and old in Camas’ historic downtown, with community-nominated awards ranging from aesthetic improvements to outstanding displays of customer service.

Business owners and employees mingled for the first half of the event, munching on a catered dinner and sipping drinks. The latter portion of the event was dedicated to the awards.

Holly Metzner, co-owner of Hidden River Roasters on Northeast Fifth Avenue, thought the event was a nice way to get to know her business-owning peers.

“It was really great to see all the other merchants that we don’t get to see,” she said. “To be able to put the faces with the shops and celebrate everybody, it was really fun.”

Hidden River Roasters, which opened in a former fish market space in January, won an award for its interior improvements.

“I was so impressed that anybody noticed. I know that we were all happy with what we had done here, what we had accomplished and how hard we had worked. But the fact that anybody else noticed, I just thought that was so great. We were thrilled to win,” Metzner said. “We still have a lot to do.”

Carrie Schulstad, executive director of the Downtown Camas Association, said the event went smoothly. Getting dinner served took a little longer than expected, she said, but the food was worth it.

“This was our biggest attendance. We have more merchants. We have more engaged merchants,” Schulstad said, adding that Metzner’s gratitude for people noticing the work being done at Hidden River got to the core of why the DCA hosts the annual awards dinner.

“My main goal in organizing this is to make sure that everyone feels acknowledged and understands how important working together is,” Schulstad said. “We want them to understand that people are paying attention.”