Despite what is arguably one of the toughest years for most businesses in Galt, the Galt District Chamber of Commerce ended the year on a high note, celebrating special businesses for their efforts within the Galt community.

Chamber leadership chose to forego the end of the year awards banquet where the business and ambassador of the year are usually announced and replaced that luncheon with Facebook posts where the awardees were surprised with their awards.

After careful consideration and a vote by chamber leadership, the 2020 Business of the Year was awarded to Save Mart.

Galt District Chamber of Commerce President Rachelle Herendeen present John Buckman, Save Mart general manager, with the award late last month.

“We are proud to announce that Save Mart has been selected as our Business of the Year,” Herendeen said. “Save Mart is dedicated to giving back to our community. Whether it’s running an in-store campaign to raise money for children’s hospitals and food banks to donating to local schools and nonprofits, they are involved and benevolent. Please help us congratulate John and his team for their continued support and commitment to our community.”

Businesses are chosen throughout the year to be Business of the Month from nominations submitted by fellow businesses, individuals and organizations. The businesses chosen each month are then considered for the Business of the Year title.

Although the competition was tough this year, Save Mart stood above the rest, capturing the most votes to earn the year-end award.

In its second full year of operations, the chamber ambassador program’s Ambassador of the Year award proved to be a tough contest as well. Ambassadors provide additional contact with chamber members, meeting with businesses to offer additional support.

The 2020 Ambassador of the Year is The Galt Herald’s Jessica Ortiz.

Ortiz was surprised in December by Herendeen and Ambassador Chair Madison Owning.

“Despite the challenges of 2020, Jessica worked tirelessly to serve and support our local business community,” Herendeen said. “Jessica worked hard to attend and volunteer at events and reached out to members regularly to offer help.”

Maria Vigil-Cardenas of F&M Bank was quite surprised right before Christmas after her business card was chosen during a Facebook Live raffle, sponsored by Banner Bank.

Business cards were collected from attendees at each of the chamber events, such as Business of the Month awards and ribbon cuttings. Those cards were then presented at Banner Bank last month, where Herendeen, Banner Bank team members and chamber ambassadors chose the lucky winner. Vigil-Cardenas won $1,000.