Leco Supply, an independent Chehalis-based janitorial supply company that has been doing business in Southwest Washington for 34 years, was recognized as the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year during a Friday evening banquet.
The staff was recognized for their ability and willingness to support customers and the community during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic when essential personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and sanitizer were in high demand and hard to come by.
“They were out there, boots on the ground, during a time when everybody was scared and staying at home,” said Chamber Executive Director Alicia Bull at the chamber’s annual banquet held at Jester Auto Museum and Event Center in rural Chehalis.
Early in the pandemic, Bull said they partnered with the county to raise funds and provide PPE for first responders. When it came to purchasing products, she said they were unable to find a business that had the supply to offer them.
“We found a medical distributor out of area that we could get it from, but we found one other organization that not only sold stuff to us, they sold stuff at a discount. They sold stuff at a discount for people who were needing stuff urgently. They delivered the stuff,” Bull said.
And that business just so happened to be Leco Supply, which is entering its 34th year of doing business.
“We’re very grateful for the support of the community for those many years,” said Brian Raymor, general manager at Leco Supply.
Raymor said Leco Supply still has a couple pallets of hand sanitizer that it’s donating to the community. Anyone or any business can pick some up, free of charge, he said.
Leco Supply is located at 1970 S. Market Blvd., Unit #A, in Chehalis.
The award was presented by chamber Chair Bob Jackins and Incoming Chair Lindy Waring.
Jemma Borden, Chamber Volunteer of 11 Years, Named Evergreen Award Recipient
An office volunteer who has offered her time at the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce for about 11 years was recognized Friday evening at the annual banquet as the recipient of the Evergreen Award.
Jemma Borden, 33, of Centralia, was the recipient of the honor. She’s a part-time volunteer who assembles mailers and envelopes for the chamber and is the organization’s all-around, right-hand woman.
“She’s just a joy to work with,” Bull said. “She comes in because she truly wants to be here … Her motive is to be a positive force.”
The annual Evergreen Award is presented to someone who has “roots in the community,” Bull said, and someone who shows perseverance. Borden has become an essential part of the chamber’s business in promoting its community and businesses.
“She has, since before I worked at the chamber, showed up every week for several hours to volunteer at the chamber. She stuffs mail, she shreds stuff for us, she creates projects, she stuffs bags,” Bull said. “Jemma is the ultimate community member. She also shows us what we all should be doing within the community, which is giving back, finding something you love, be dedicated to it, be consistent and do it with a happy heart.”
Bull said Borden also brings a positive outlook to her work and around the office.
Borden, a 2009 Chehalis High School graduate, told The Chronicle she had no idea she was receiving the award. She just loves doing her job, and helping out in any way possible — big or small.
“Wow, it was actually pretty cool,” she said.
She said the best part was “not really knowing I actually won something. I mean, something that big and important — it’s one of the few rarities, I consider it pretty cool.”
In high school and until she turned 21, Borden was a student in the Visions program, which provides career-development opportunities for special education students.
In her free time, Borden said she loves to watercolor, draw and paint, mostly sceneries and anime. She said she’d like to eventually find a job in the arts.
The award was presented to Borden, along with a blue staff hoodie, by Waring and Bull.
This story will be updated.