ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce has announced their 2023 Small Business Award winners.

This year's recipients are Rich and Jodi Erkens, Mary Hondl and Tina and Jay Mrozek.

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(Photo: St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce)
(Photo: St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce)
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The Erkens have dedicated their careers to home entertainment as the owners of Audio Video Extremes. After buying out their business partner in 2012, they implemented an aggressive business plan. By 2014 they moved into their new location and by 2022 had tripled their annual revenue. They will also be opening a second location in Baxter later this year. The exponential growth, exemplary service and commitment to the community has earned them the Small Business Owners of the Year Award.

(Photo: St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce)
(Photo: St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce)
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Hondl always wanted to be a nurse, and began working as a CNA at the age of 14. She moved to Sauk Rapids in 1989 and worked a few different jobs in the healthcare industry. In 2001 her work in the industry brought her to Regional Diagnostic Radiology, where she would become CEO of the company. Her first task was to internalize the billing, which saw a 30% increase in revenue. Since then, RDR has added more capabilities including opening The Vein Center, MedSpa and Alliance Imaging. Hondl's leap into leadership, desire to learn and grow has earned her the Women in Business Champion award.

(Photo: St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce)
(Photo: St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce)
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Finally, Tina and Jay Mrozek have always wanted to start their own business. A work trip would eventually inspire the couple to open the family attraction known as Blacklight Adventures in 2019. Shortly after opening, they were forced to close due to the pandemic. That time allowed them to reevaluate their business model and break the mold of family entertainment centers. Their success has earned them the St. Cloud Area Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year.

All winners will be honored at the annual Central Minnesota Business Awards Luncheon on May 3th at the Park Event Center in Waite Park.


 

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