A family-owned Lewis County business that has been in operation since 1906 was honored as the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Friday.
Chamber Executive Director Cynthia Mudge made the announcement during the chamber’s annual banquet, which was held in the TransAlta Commons on the Centralia College campus.
She said the organization wanted to celebrate a company with deep roots in the community.
ToledoTel CEO and Vice President Dale Merten accepted the honor on behalf of the business, thanking employees who were in attendance and his wife, Tina Merten.
Merten highlighted the company’s ongoing partnership with Lewis County to expand its high-speed broadband internet to all of Winlock.
He said he was apprehensive when first approached about a possible public-private partnership but the results have exceeded his expectations.
“They understand how to navigate all the federal rules, the state rules, to make this project happen,” Merten said, thanking Lewis County for their “hard work.”
Merten said “everyone at ToledoTel is completely dedicated to bringing broadband to Lewis County.”
“We couldn’t do the great things we do without great people and great partnerships,” he added.
Mudge said the process for selecting the Business of the Year was a difficult one.
“Choosing the Chamber Business of the Year recipient is always a challenge especially in a community like ours where there are so many worthy companies big and small that do outstanding work,” she said. “The past two years have been a struggle for everyone, which made this task even harder. We applaud all our members who have muscled their way through COVID. We applaud all of you who have reinvented, reimagined, realigned and readjusted as we pivoted day to day, week to week and month to month.”