Chamber Announces 2022 Awards of Excellence Recipients

The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce announced the recipients of the 2022 Awards of Excellence during its Awards of Excellence Lunch program Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, at the Ramada Plaza Sheridan.

The recipients were voted on by the membership via on-line ballot.

The awards presented and the recipients are:

Community Champion Award

This award honors a Chamber member individual, business or organization that has made a significant impact in Sheridan County. Understanding that a community thrives when those in it invest and contribute to its success, the nominees demonstrate vision, ambition and drive to address needs in the community and strive for the betterment of the local area.

2022 Recipient: Patrick Henderson

Patrick Henderson retired in 2022 after 22 years of dedicated service as the executive director of Whitney Benefits, an educational foundation started by the late Edward A. Whitney. While director of Whitney Benefits, Henderson was instrumental in many changes, expansions and partnerships for the foundation. In addition to his work for Whitney Benefits, Patrick has been an active and engaged member of the local community. He has served on the Parks & Recreation Master Plan Advisory Committee for the City of Sheridan, a member of the Sheridan College Hospitality & Culinary Advisory Board, board member and past board president of the Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association, board member and past chair of the Sheridan Travel & Tourism Board, board member for the Sheridan County Fair Board, a member of the City of Sheridan Planning & Zoning Board, a member of the Wyoming Rural Development Council and a member of Sheridan City Council. He also has served on the Economic Empowerment Vestry and Student Loan Committee for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Strength of Sheridan

This award honors a Chamber member business or organization that has a distinguished tenure of 20 or more years in the community. This business or organization demonstrates consistent service, continually invests in the community, meets challenges with innovative solutions and demonstrates sustained quality performance.

2022 Recipient: Ace Hardware/Sheridan Arts & Crafts

Sheridan’s Ace Hardware/Sheridan Arts & Crafts started as a Coast to Coast Hardware store on Main Street in downtown Sheridan. In 1965, John and Sue Behles (pronounced “BAILS”) moved to Sheridan and purchased the store. In 1983, it became Coast to Coast Ben Franklin, and the business moved to Coffeen Ave., where the current Ace Hardware/Sheridan Arts & Crafts stands today. The business eventually expanded to include Ben Franklin, Champion Auto, Ace Hardware and the Coast-to-Coast Appliance Store. Following John Behles’ (“BAILS”) passing, Mead Lumber purchased the store in 2004. The store underwent a major remodel in 2021, which provided a more open floor plan and easier flow for customers. Now known as Ace Hardware/Sheridan Arts & Crafts, the Sheridan store is one of 5,000+ Ace stores locally owned and operated across the globe. Known for excellence in customer service, Sheridan’s Ace offers a full line of hardware supplies, tools, lawn and garden, housewares, arts and crafts, seasonal items and more as well as a number of services.

Business of the Year

This award honors a Chamber member business that positively impacts the economic health of the Sheridan area through exceptional business practices, customer service and innovation. This business shows steady growth and consistent strong performance, excels in community relations, practices exemplary business conduct, responds positively to adversity and shows proven business achievement.

2022 Recipient: The Big Horn Y

The Big Horn Y isn’t your ordinary gas station. The Big Horn Y offers freshly made salsa, dips, breakfast burritos, burgers, sandwiches and salads, along with fresh, ready-to-bake meals and casseroles. In addition, The Big Horn Y offers a large selection of grocery and liquor items as well as hard to find boutique wines and spirits. They also provide catering services for local events. Bonnie Wallace took over the original Big Horn Y store, located at 7088 Coffeen Ave., in 2015. The Big Horn Y West, located near Sheridan High School at 901 Long Dr., opened in 2018. Recently, The Big Horn Y opened its walk-up Farmhouse Patio Window for “to-go” foods. During the warmer months, the patio features live music and a festive atmosphere. Committed to their customers and community, The Big Horn Y staff support local schools and The Food Group.

Business Person of the Year

This award honors a Chamber member business person(s) who shows outstanding business acumen and strong leadership in business and community efforts. This person is a champion for economic development, strives to exceed customer expectations, delivers industry leading standards of service and quality and exhibits innovation in business development.

2022 Recipient: Kathy Bede, Verdello

Kathy Bede has been a small business owner since she opened Cottonwood Kitchen Shop in 1996. A few years after “retiring” and selling Cottonwood Kitchen, Kathy opened Verdello Olive Oils and Fine Foods in 2017. Verdello, located at 23 Grinnell Plaza in Sheridan, is a family-owned and operated gourmet food store designed to bring unique food experiences to Sheridan. The store offers more than forty olive oils and vinegars, artisan meats and cheeses, quality food products from around the world, charcuterie boards, wine and cooking classes. Besides providing flavors and experiences from around the world to the Sheridan community, Kathy encourages a family-friendly work environment in the store. She takes care of her employees, especially working mothers, by being flexible with their schedules and encouraging them to continue their education. Kathy also volunteers her time and partners with various groups that enhance life in Sheridan. In 2022, Kathy received the Woman Entrepreneur Award from the Wyoming Council for Women. The award recognizes woman-owned businesses in Wyoming and is designed to increase the attention to, and recognition of, the contribution female entrepreneurs make to Wyoming’s economy.

For more information, contact the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce at (307) 672-2485.


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