SSM Health-St. Clare Hospital was named the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year on Thursday evening.
Some 275 people attended the Chamber’s annual meeting at Baraboo Arts Banquet Hall, during which the organization’s leaders reflected on the successes of 2023 and unveiled plans for the year to come.
The event concluded with an awards ceremony that saw St. Clare win top honors as Business of the Year. The century-old Baraboo hospital was named a CMS 5-star Hospital last year, and Chartis Center for Rural Medicine named St. Clare one of the top 100 rural and community hospitals.
“It is a blessing and a privilege to serve this community,” SSM executive Kyle Nondorf said.
Sauk County won the Tourism Award. County government has created an economic development department whose Explore Sauk County website and “Land Made” brand aim to promote tourism countywide.
Board Chair Tim McCumber thanked the Chamber for “really being the catalyst that drives your community here in Baraboo, and our community in Sauk County.”
Beyond Blessed Pantry took home the Community Service Award. The nonprofit serves 700 local families through its weekly food distributions.
“Talk to people. Tell them about us. You know someone, probably, who needs to come and see us, and they don’t want to ask,” Executive Director Shannon Howley said. “We’re trying very had to break that stigma because the reality is, we all need help sometimes.”
The Rising Star Award went to Baraboo Children’s Museum, which in just five years has become a destination for visitors and locals alike. It attracted 26,000 people last year.
“We started off 5 years ago with the idea that we just needed to dream big,” said Jed Crouse, who co-founded the museum with wife Traci.
The Chris Anderson Ambassador of the Year Award was handed to Lori Witt of Wisconsin River Title, who was a fixture at Chamber events and ribbon-cutting ceremonies in 2023.
Outgoing Chamber Board President Christian Herrild gave the President’s Award to Pulse Fitness. He said Pulse punches above its weight class.
“It’s a small organization, and they have an outsized impact on the community relative to the size of the business,” Herrild said.
“The mission that we’ve set forth in this community is so much bigger than fitness,” owner Brandon Green. “Fitness and nutrition are just vehicles we use to change lives.”