Suncoast Credit Union awarded Business of the Year

-A A +A
By Sean Arnold

Hurricane Irma may have forced a detour for the 34th Annual Industry Appreciation Banquet, hosted by the Greater Chiefland Area Chamber of Commerce.


But there was no doubt over the deserving recipient to the Banquet’s feature award.

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the rescheduled event, hosted by Chamber president Ryan Watson, Suncoast Credit Union was officially honored as 2017 Business of the Year at the Haven Hospice Community Center.

The annual award goes to a business that shows outstanding service for the community.

It’s inspired by Florida’s Industry Appreciation Week, which was founded by former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham in 1983. The occasion of Industry Appreciation Week is “intended to call attention to contributions businesses make to the economy, our communities and our quality of life,” Watson noted in his introduction to the award.

“Chiefland and Levy County’s future depend on the continued health and growth of our local businesses,” Watson continued.

Chiefland’s Business of the Year is selected by an independent committee, based on nominations offered by the public.

“There’s always one (business) that seems to peak out a little bit above the rest for something they’ve done, most likely every year,” Watson said.

Suncoast is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that is the largest credit union in Florida, with 3,000 members in Levy County.

Watson detailed the contributions Suncoast makes to the local community through efforts like it Suncoast Education Foundation, which “matches resources to promote health, education and emotional well-being for children of our community.” It’s raised more than 19$ million since 1990, and donated over $10,000 to Levy County just last year.

Suncoast also sponsors events like Breakout of Violence fundraiser by Another Way, an advocacy group for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, the annual Tour de Melon festival and parade and the Chiefland FFA Rodeo.

“On a personal note,” Watson added, “I have known (new Chiefland branch manager) Miss Rissa (Mainwaring) and her predecessor, Miss Amanda, for several years, and even before they got involved with the Chamber and really got out there, I can tell you that these ladies take a lot of their personal time representing the company. They do a lot of events and they’re always on call when you ask for help.”

Madden accepted the plaque on behalf of the credit union.

“Our credit union aims to make our members’ lives better, and we’re honored for the recognition of our efforts,” she said. “We are humbled to be recipients of this award, and we’re grateful to have such a special community to serve. We will continue to work to provide the best service and support for Levy County and the surrounding areas.

“We thank you in joining us in our mission and being a part of the Suncoast family.”

The event included dinner by Chiefland’s The Gathering Table as well as prize auctions, door prizes, game drawings and a 50-50 raffle.

Levy County and the surrounding areas. We thank you in joining us in our mission and being a part of the Suncoast family.