LAKE WYLIE — A community of giving carried the theme during Thursday’s Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce Gala held at River Hills Country Club.
The annual event recognizes Citizen of the Year and Business of the Year.
“This year, it’s not just a business or a person, it’s a message for our whole community,” said chamber president Susan Bromfield. “That’s what you want in businesses here.”
This year, both recognitions reflect the giving nature of these Lake Wylie business owners, she said.
“It’s a really positive asset to have them in our community,” Bromfield said.
This year’s business of the year involves a group of friends who took a chance on an idea and has become a valued member of its community, said chamber board member Ed Stewart announcing the 2012 Business of the Year.
A business that truly started in the back yard around a grill, two couples went from serving friends to serving a community.
Brian and Linda Rich and Mark and Renee Cieslikowski began catering and traveling on weekends to enter their barbecue into competitions from New Jersey to Georgia. In 2007, they were won the South Carolina Masters of Barbeque Award, the highest distinction of barbecue competition in the state.
In 2009, they opened Q2U BBQ Pit in Lake Wylie Plaza. This year, they doubled their space and now have more than 15 employees.
“Throughout the next three years, their restaurant grew to become a friendly, comfortable gathering place in the community and a favorite caterer for area events, including our Lake Wylie Chamber,” Stewart said.
They make and bottle their own line of sauces and rubs, which sell at the restaurant and on their website, q-2-u.com. Their vinegar-based Carolina sauce this year was named one of the official sauces of the Democratic National Convention.
Mark Cieslikowski accepting the award, joking “we’re the worst business people.”
But their goal is simple, he said.
“We want to put Lake Wylie on the map,” Cieslikowski said. “We want people to realize if you want barbecue you come to Lake Wylie.”
The chamber then named Chad Bordeaux the 2012 Citizen of the Year.
As business owner with wife Donna of Bordeaux & Bordeaux CPA, he also has been a key leader in growing a fledgling charitable group. As president of Lake Wylie Rotary Club, the group now gives back $45,000 in support back to the community.
“His wife jokes that his full time job has now become Rotary President and he keeps his office at their CPA firm,” said Stewart during the announcement.
Accepting his award, Bordeaux, 41, said, “She is 100 percent correct,” as he then plugged the club and tried to recruit new Rotary members.
“This award means a lot,” he said.
As a charter member of the club, Bordeaux preceded founder Les Smith as president, following his death in 2010. The club was formally charted while Bordeaux was president. As the group grew has grown to more than 25 members, he helped establish the nonprofit organization for the Rotary Foundation of Lake Wylie.
The club has been involved in holiday fundraising and food donations to support Clover Area Assistance Center and Children’s Attention Home, and has provided scholarships to students within the Clover School District area. After finishing his second term as president in July, Bordeaux will begin serving his term as an assistant governor for Rotary and continue as past president on the Lake Wylie Rotary board.
Bordeaux, who worked in corporate accounting in Charlotte for several years until moving to Lake Wylie in 2005, also is assistant den leader in Cub Scout Pack 333 at the River Hills Community Church and is involved in helping grow the Palisades Episcopal School where his son, Zack, attends as a second grader. He also is serving a two-year term on the S.C. Association of CPAs Business Valuation and Forensic & Litigation Services Task force.
The chamber also announced and honored outgoing board members are Fred Wetherell after serving 12 years and Andy Kane, who served 14 years and acted as board chair for three years. Dr. Marc Sosne, superintendent of Clover School District, will join the 2013 board.
“We keep a stable board and that’s how we get so much done,” Bromfield said.