The North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce has selected Wyndham Riverfront as its 2012 Business of the Year and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas as its Nonprofit Partner of the Year.
The awards are designed to recognize the dedication, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by businesses in our community. The winners will be recognized during the Chamber's monthly F.Y.I. Membership Luncheon & Chairman's Awards on Friday, December 7th and also at the 28th Annual Banquet in 2013.
The finalists for the 2012 Business & Nonprofit Partner of the Year Awards also included the following Chamber member businesses:
Business of the Year Nominees
- Arkansas Pest Control of North Little Rock
- Bell & Company, PA
- Caterpillar, Inc.
- Kumon Math & REading of North Little Rock
- Mainstream Technologies, Inc.
- PC Assistance
- Argenta Community Development Corporation
- Argenta Downtown Council
- Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum
- Habitat for Humanity of Pulaski County
- Little Rock Air Force Base
- United Cerebral Palsy Downtown Council
The Wyndham Riverfront opened as the Riverfront Hilton. Frank Fletcher, a partner in the hotel became the sole owner in 1992 and began almost immediately to reinvest in the property. He added additional ballrooms which almost doubled the hotel's banquet capacity in 1995. In following years, Fletcher obtained a Benihana franchise to become one of North Little Rock's most popular restaurants. Benihana has also won Franchise of the Year award recently for the entire United States.
In 2005 Fletcher changed the regular restaurant into the Riverfront Steakhouse which was modeled after Del Frisco's in Dallas. This restaurant has recently been the recipient of many awards for best Steakhouse in Pulaski County.
The Hotel has undergone many recent renovations to the exterior. All 220 guestrooms have been recently remodeled with 32" flat screen televisions, brand new carpeting, new pillow top mattresses and all new furniture. Wyndham has also recently made the addition of the Blue Dog private dining room, Razorback private dining room and a new 100 seat private dining room added on to Benihana.
The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Five area churches began the Big Brothers Program in Little Rock to address the needs of young men living in the Highland Park area. These churches included Christ the King, Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, Grace Presbyterian, St. Andrews, and Westover Hills Presbyterian. The first group of Big Brothers came from these churches. In 1968, Big Brothers of Pulaski County was incorporated, and in 1972, became a full affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
In 1983, the organization began serving girls and was renamed Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pulaski County. Growth in areas outside of Little Rock provided the opportunity to change the name to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas in 1998. 2008 served as the 40th Anniversary for the one-to-one mentoring organization.
BBBSCA has site and community mentoring programs, each built to work with mentors' schedules. In 2011, BBBSCA served 428 children through both programs.
In the community mentoring program volunteers spend time with a child two or three times a month participating in community activities. The activities are decided on by the mentor and the mentee. The time spent together building a friendship is what the experience is all about and how a mentor positively impacts a child in the program. Monthly activities are offered through clubs run by BBBSCA staff or activities coordinated by volunteers. Some of these include horseback riding, participating in a book club, going to Travelers games, attending plays, and doing volunteer work.
In the school mentoring program a mentor spends one hour a week in a one-to-one setting during the school year at a local elementary school or after-school location. Mentors can eat lunch with their mentee, play games, spend time on the playground, or just visit in the library reading a book or talking about the week. Being a school-based mentor is more than just tutoring. It is providing an additional positive role model in a child's life and developing a friendship that encourages a child to reach his/her full potential. Mentors are asked to spend a minimum of one year with a child in the program.
A staff member is assigned to each match, and is responsible for introducing mentors and mentees to each other and providing a support system to the volunteer and families. They have regular contact with each participant to answer questions, concerns, or provide suggestions on activities.