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John Burtka with wife Denise at Lofts on Louis groundbreaking.  Photo by Ryan Kerwin, JTV.

The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce announced today that John Burtka has won the 2016 Small Business Person of the Year Award, sponsored by Willis & Machnik Financial Services.

“It’s a privilege to sponsor this award.  We feel the award is an important distinction and we are very pleased that someone as community-focused, dedicated and driven as Mr. Burtka will be this year’s recipient, said sponsor Dan Machnik, Willis & Machnik Financial Services.  “We hope the entire business community will join us in celebrating John’s accomplishments.” 

The Small Business Person of the Year Award highlights the role of small businesses in our community.  It symbolizes the personal strengths of owners of small businesses, representing the successful business person’s ability to see each business factor from every perspective while preserving the view of the whole. 

Award criteria include: staying power, stability and growth in number of employees, increase in sales, evidence of financial viability, innovativeness, response to adversity, evidence of contributions to aid the community, location, ownership and size. The criteria is parallel to those of the state and national small business awards, making the Jackson recipient eligible for entry into those levels of competition.

A few of John Burtka’s accomplishments include: launching an award winning brewery & cidery (MLive recipient of Top 10 New Breweries in Michigan) with statewide distribution; renovating a dilapidated building in downtown Jackson; migrating restaurant to focus on scratch made dishes from locally sourced ingredients; growing own grapes, herbs and vegetables; moving towards Zingerman’s Open Accounting; developing a new 44,000 sq. ft. apartment building in downtown; offering employees free Dial a Doc service and a retirement plan with 3% match; and redeveloping the 151 restaurant space.

“In business school, they teach you that cash flow is king, but you can never get there unless you surround yourself with great people,” commented Burtka, who credits God for his success.

The Jackson County Chamber will recognize John Burtka at its Annual Meeting on January 26, 2017 at Jackson College from 5:30-9pm. Tickets are $60 and available at www.JacksonChamber.org or by calling (517) 782-8221.

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