A nonprofit agency and three local businesses won recognition and awards last week for their outstanding work and innovative business practices during the coronavirus pandemic year.
The Lower Cape Outreach Council in Orleans was named the nonprofit of the year during the 28th annual SCORE Small Business Awards forum on June 10. (A Zoom meeting took the place of SCORE’s annual breakfast.) In addition, Consigning Women in Harwich, Nauset Farms in Orleans and Hangar B in Chatham were among the 15 businesses that won “Build a Better Mousetrap” awards recognizing their innovation and success. Local winners are nominated by their own chambers.
During the approximately one-hour Zoom session moderated by Kim Marchand, chair of SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands, those honored were given about two minutes to present themselves in often-creative videos. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren served as the event’s opening keynote speaker while Wendy Northcross, who is retiring after 24 years at the helm of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, addressed the forum at the conclusion of the program.
“Small businesses are the community,” Northcross said. “The more goods and services we have here the further we don’t have to travel to get that.”
The Lower Cape Outreach Council, based in Orleans, “has consistently met the food and housing assistance needs of individuals and families in towns from Harwich to Provincetown,” SCORE said in a release. “During COVID, they went beyond all expectations to ensure that no family was left untended.”
The council, led by Chief Executive Officer Larry Marsland, provides Cape Codders from Harwich to Provincetown with emergency food, clothing and financial support, and “functions like a well-oiled machine,” Marchand said. “Last year was one of the biggest tests imaginable.” She dubbed the group’s work “lifechanging.”
In a three-minute video, Marsland spoke from the group’s food pantry. He noted that the council, now in its 41st year, was started in 1980 in the United Methodist Church in Eastham. The council sponsors nine food pantries on the Lower Cape and runs a free clothing store that closed during the pandemic but will reopen in September. The council also runs an emergency financial assistance program and provided $1,189,000 last year for heat, utilities, transportation, housing and medical expenses.
“Those kind of things that continue even when your income doesn’t,” Marsland said, describing the council’s clients’ ongoing expenses.
In addition, the council provided $865,000 in food assistance. “Helping people eat, helping them not lose their apartments or rental homes,” Marsland added. “It was down to basics in a crisis year.”
The group has over 400 volunteers. Some report to their volunteer jobs at the same time each week while others help out once or twice a year for special events such as the Thanksgiving turkey distribution or the toy store that serves over 500 families.
“This award means a lot to us,” Marsland said. “We worked very hard to be the true definition of a grassroots organization.” He thanked his board, staff and volunteers.
“Build a Better Mousetrap” awards are named after a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”
The Harwich Chamber of Commerce presented Consigning Women with a “sweet 16” cake to commemorate the business’s 16 years. The 7,000-square-foot store opened in 2005 and added a second shop in Brewster in 2013. Consigning Women calls itself Cape Cod’s largest shop for women’s apparel and home furnishings that include furniture and home décor items such as lamps and draperies. The store accepts gently-used clothing and furniture to sell by consignment. It also sells new jewelry.
The Harwich Chamber commended the business for its work with the Harwich nonprofits We Can and the Family Pantry of Cape Cod. For more information, visit consigncapecod.com.
Nauset Farms has a deli, bakery, butcher shop and a selection of wines and craft beers. It also caters. In the short video, store manager Zeandre Hines spoke about Nauset Farms while standing in front of a deli case and next to a wine rack. He noted that the store fosters a sense of community by providing high-quality food and beverages in a place where “everyone feels at home.”
Nauset Farms opened in May 2011. While there were challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, “we kept busy due to the fact we are a full-service grocery store in some ways,” Hines said after the awards. “We definitely kept busy.” For more information, visit nausetfarms.com.
Mary Cavanaugh, executive director of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce, presented the Mousetrap award to Tracy Shields, owner of Hangar B at Chatham Airport. Last year, working with Monomoy Community Services, Shields executed a plan to raise funds and feed local people hard hit by unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic. In presenting the award, Cavanaugh thanked Shields for her generosity. The restaurant opened in 2010. For more information, visit hangarbchatham.com.
The Cape and Islands’ chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives, or SCORE, is a national nonprofit that helps businesses develop and succeed when its volunteers provide free mentoring for entrepreneurs, small business owners and nonprofits. The Cape Cod and the Islands chapter was founded in 1970 and is staffed by volunteer counselors.