Jennie-O Turkey Store was named Business of The Year during the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Business  Awards Luncheon at the Faribault American Legion.

Faribault Jennie-O Turkey Plant Manager Jody Long accepted the award and recognized his four Managers saying they were honored to receive the recognition, "Because it's been just an incredibly difficult year to say the least.  We basically redid our plant to make it COVID safe.  To go through every single position and put a barrier between every one.  We had conference rooms that could hold up to 150 people for training and stuff like that.  We don't have a conference room in the place anymore."

Long added, "I consider our business a family atmosphere business.  People like to have pot lucks, they sit together talk about last week, this week, this weekend.  That was biggest fear through this, is with barriers every where you go how do you keep that relationship, that teamwork, that atmosphere in your employees.  I think my managers have done a tremendous job keeping that atmosphere right. It's an incredible challenge."

The Faribault Jennie-O Turkey Store Plant Manager said he was proud the company approved a request to help Faribault restaurants when COVID was at it's peak, "Every week we would buy 800 meals from somebody different in town and we would give them to all our employees.  That was a really good thing.  Some of the people we bought meals from were extremely happy for the business.  Our employees deserved it with all the work they've done."

Long concluded, "I just think it's been really, really good year even though it's been incredibly tough and I couldn't be prouder of all the businesses in Faribault and my team here."

Long pointed out they were incredibly busy because, "People were eating at home.  This weekend we may not run.  That would be the first time in like 45 or 50 weeks.  We worked a lot of seven day weeks.  Our employees have really stepped up through this."

The other finalists for Business of The Year were Daikin Applied and Lighthouse Strategic Solutions.

KDHL Farm Director Jerry Groskreutz was also recognized along with Brent Fuchs with an Excellence in Education Award for their work with third graders in the Faribault elementary schools.

Groskreutz has enjoyed telling third graders where their food comes from for nearly two decades.  Fuchs is a Rice County farmer who also gets a kick out of some of the things the kids say about their food.

Other awards recognized included:

  • Faribault Woolen Mill and Met-Con Companies, the late Tom McDonough received the Legacy Award
  • Chamber Volunteer of The Year-  Budde Family with Faribault Rent and Save
  • New this year the 2020 COVID Response and Community Resilience Award for making sanitizer.  10,000 Drops, Cable Connection and Supply, Allina Health, Faribault Ace Hardware and Met-Con Companies.
  • Customer Service award winners were:
  • Tammy Meyer, Mayo Clinic Health System
  • Camille McCathy, Finally a Gift Store
  • Elizabeth Prange, South Central College
  • Bonnie Cervenka, State Bank of Faribault