Vermillion's Willson Florist among year's Prairie Family Business nominees Seven South Dakota businesses have been nominated for the 2003 Prairie Family Business of the Year.
The award, which is given out by the South Dakota Family Business Initiative at The University of South Dakota, will be announced on June 20 and presented at their annual conference in Sioux Falls on July 31.
Awards will be given in four categories. The small category is for businesses with less than 50 employees. Companies with 50 to 250 qualify for the medium category. The large category is for companies with more than 250 employees. The Heritage Award is given to companies with at least a 75-year history.
Willson Florist and Gifts has been nominated in the small category and has been a Main Street landmark in the Vermillion community since Aug. 3, 1959. Howard and Alice Willson
took over for Howard's parents, John and Arvilla, and have operated the business together since they were married in 1968.
Downtown Brookings is the location of Rude's Home Furnishings, which has been nominated in the small and heritage award categories. The business was founded by George G. Rude
in 1881 and is operated today by his fourth generation descendants.
Also nominated in the small and heritage categories is Ortman Clinic of Canistota, which was founded by Amon Ortman in 1915. The clinic is currently operated by third and fourth generation Ortman's and employs nine doctors of chiropractic.
Bones Hereford Ranch of Parker is another business nominated for the small and heritage awards. This family farm can be traced back to the original homestead of John T. Bones in 1879 and the fourth and fifth generations are operating the business today.
Henry Carlson Company of Sioux Falls has been nominated in the medium category. Known as one of the largest and most qualified builders in the entire Sioux Empire, the business was
founded by Henry Carlson, Sr. in 1919.
First National Bank of Brookings is a nominee for both the medium and heritage awards. The current president of the bank is Van Fishback, who represents the fourth generation of Fishbacks who have operated the bank since its founding in 1925.
The well-known Yankton business Shur-co is a nominee in the large category. Founded in 1953 by Edward Shorma, the company is now run by his son Bill Shorma.
Recipients of any of these four awards will be selected based on the success of the business, positive links between the family and the business, multiple generation involvement, contributions to community and industry, and innovative business practices and/or strategies.