Southwest Business Association announces inaugural award winners

Sarah Longacre of Blooma and Fred Navarro of George & the Dragon
Sarah Longacre of Blooma and Fred Navarro of George & the Dragon pose with their business-owner-of-the-year awards from the Southwest Business Association. Submitted photo

The Southwest Business Association gave out its first annual awards June 5, recognizing three community entrepreneurs for their success and contributions to the area.

The association, which works with businesses in Minneapolis west of Interstate 35W and south of 31st Street, solicited nominations from the community for business owner of the year in three categories — general, minority-owned and woman-owned. All nominees needed to be in business at least three years, demonstrate growth, succeed amid adversity and be involved in community service.

Minority Business Owner of the Year: Fred Navarro of George & the Dragon at 50th & Bryant. “The Navarros demonstrate great leadership with knowledgeable, friendly, timely and long-term staff, and smart accessible food choices that continue to bring customers in,” SWBA wrote in its announcement. “Their success anchors the corner of 50th and Bryant and keeps it a busy corner for their neighboring businesses.”

Woman Business Owner of the Year: Naomi Strom of Lake Harriet Florist at 50th & Penn. “Naomi regularly supports local educational and religious organizations through in-kind donations for their events and activities,” SWBA wrote. “Anyone who knows Naomi can tell you that a large part of the Lake Harriet Florist success is her strong ability to quickly build meaningful relationships with a wide range of personalities from within our community and beyond.”

Business Owner of the Year: Sarah Longacre of Blooma at 53rd & Lyndale. “Her passion to help mothers doesn’t end with interactions at Blooma,” the SWBA wrote of Longacre. “Sarah uses her skills and success in business to regularly support organizations with similar missions at home and around the world.”