Town Square’s third annual Entrepreneur of the Year award honored the owners of two Green Lake businesses: Carrie Nolen of Sassafras Coffee and Joel Baranowski of North Bay Sport & Liquor.
“The growth of strong businesses creates a strong community,” said Fran Hill, executive director of the Town Square Community Center. “Carrie and Joel have shown extraordinary persistence and strength as business owners, especially over the past year and a half. Their contributions have helped Green Lake thrive even during uncertain times. “
Nolen, from Madison, opened Sassafras Cafe in Green Lake eight years ago. When planning his business, Nolen conducted research which showed that in the Green Lake area, the average lifespan of a coffee was around two and a half years.
“The statistics are horrible,” she said. “So the fact that I’ve been here eight years says a lot. I feel very lucky, supported and loved.
Baranowski, who has had his business in Green Lake for more than three decades, attributes much of the store’s success to the employees he has had over the years. Despite the challenges of being an entrepreneur, Baranowski finds freedom in running his own business.
“The best part is that you are responsible for everything. If something is wrong, there is no one to point the finger at, ”he said. “I guess it’s the best and the worst thing, but you are in control of your own destiny.”
The Entrepreneur of the Year award is sponsored by Huberty, a professional services firm run by a CPA and offering accounting, analysis, strategy and planning services.
Christine Taylor, director of Huberty, said her company is proud to sponsor the awards and support local business owners.
“Much like Town Square’s belief in growing strong businesses and strong communities, Huberty believes in continuously improving our capabilities to further help the organizations and people we serve,” said Taylor. “We have a deep passion for helping our clients achieve their vision, mission and goal. We know that our efforts will extend beyond day-to-day business to play a meaningful role in the advancement of our communities. “