Excellence on Main Award

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Tabatha Wiggins

Award: Entrepreneur of the Year

Year: 2023

City: Stevenson

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is an annual award that recognizes the innovation, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit of our state’s entrepreneurs and small businesses. Stevenson’s Tabatha Wiggins was named 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year for her hard work not only as a small business owner but in activating her community.

In 2014, Tabatha became co-owner of Walking Man Brewing, transitioning from crucial employee to co-owner when founder Bob Craig retired. Under Tabatha’s leadership, Walking Man built upon its foundation of award-winning beers and blossomed into one of Stevenson’s favorite gathering spots and a key employer in the community. But while the lower floor of the brewery building was bustling with activity, the upper floor—which is actually street level—was papered over, used as storage for forgotten equipment and dry goods.

Tabatha began cleaning up the space and hosting brewers’ dinners, pop-up events, and even weddings there, all while building out the framework for her dream retail shop with friend and business partner Robyn Legun. In 2022, Tabatha and Robyn opened Traverse PNW Market in the beautifully renovated upper floor, which represents their vision of a neighborhood mercantile in downtown Stevenson. Throughout her work with Walking Man Brewing and Traverse PNW Market, Tabatha has also served for six years on the Stevenson Downtown Association board of directors, including her current service as board president.

Tabatha is an exemplary Main Street leader who raises the bar while appreciating and celebrating that a little goes a long way.

Excellence on Main Award

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Chesed Farms

Award: Entrepreneur of the Year

Year: 2022

City: Walla Walla

Chesed Farms is a farmers market vendor out of the Walla Walla who, in the three years they’ve been in business, has grown significantly while supporting the development and growth of other vendors.  Their slogan is “Persistent Local Food”, which describes their attitude and mission perfectly.

When Sundown Hazen and Jonathan Garrett started Chesed Farms, they only grew mushrooms.  They’ve since expanded their operation significantly, from a 110 square foot operation in a garage to a 4,000 square foot greenhouse.  Beginning with the two founders, they now employ 13 people.

In addition to being successful entrepreneurs themselves, Sundown and Jonathan uplift other entrepreneurs.  They partner with passionate and talented entrepreneurs ready to bring their products or services to market by providing support, mentorship, and infrastructure for these entrepreneurs to bring their dreams to life.

Chesed Farms’ impact is felt by everyone they touch. They take good care of their people, paying a living wage to their employees.  They take good care of our planet, minimizing the travel distance for local, healthy food and focusing on sustainability in all they do.  They support other entrepreneurs, both in big ways through their mentorship program and in small ways, when they help other vendors unload every week.

Within their “triple bottom line” approach to their work, Chesed Farms highlights something that will strike a chord for everyone who strives to build community: “We learn the names and life stories of our customers and build meaningful relationships…”

Chesed means loving kindness, and this value infuses every aspect of the work that Sundown, Jonathan, and their whole team do. They’re smart and talented entrepreneurs who believe in expanding responsibly, taking care of their staff and customers lovingly, and bringing love and kindness to everyone they interact with.