Brian Owen and Ken Heman hosted the Seaside Chamber Annual Awards and Auction from the Seaside Civic and Convention Center last Thursday, streamed to more than 70 viewers.

“It’s all about the community,” Heman, visitors information specialist at the Seaside Visitors Bureau, said. “It’s about you, and the businesses in this community. Last year was once again one of those awesome years where the community of Seaside really showed how everybody could come together, step up and do what needs to be done to continue to be a successful community.”

The evening’s highlight came with the delivery of the chamber’s top honor, Business of the Year award to Pattaraporn “Patta” Lorwatcharasophon and her husband, Dacha “Kim” Pathumratanathan. The family operates Thai Me Up, and during the coronavirus pandemic, opened the SEA in Seaside, and the SEA Crab House and Raw Bar in Astoria.

The challenges to the chamber came as a result of the pandemic, chamber CEO Owen said.

“March was the month we all got scared,” Owen said. “No one really knew what was coming at us. I remember receiving an onslaught of emails. I quit counting. It just kept going through April and it just kept going and going. Information changed daily.”

Event cancellations included Pouring at the Coast, Fourth of July fireworks, Seaside Beach Volleyball and the Hood to Coast.

Thursday night’s event emphasized the positive.

CMH Urgent Care Seaside, which opened in the Seaside Outlets last January, was winner of the chamber’s Community Impact Award, delivered to the business deemed to have made a positive impact on Seaside.

The Retailer of the Year, presented to Cleanline Surf, recognizes a business which has been proactive to changing market trends, embraced new technology or ideas, strong relationships with employees and customers, Heman said.

Sea Star Gelato won the Rising Star/New Business Award.

The Legacy Award, presented to members of the community who have been part of the chamber and business community for at least 10 years, went to Knutsen Insurance. “It is both a testament to the member and their commitment to service,” Heman said.

Doug Barker was named Volunteer of the Year. “The volunteer of the year is someone who really dedicates a lot of time, energy and effort to what we do as an organization for our community,” Owen said. “They’re motivated, driven — these are people who aren’t looking for the limelight. They’re in the trenches working on a regular basis.”

Keith Chandler of the Seaside Aquarium received the Byron Award, delivered to a leader in community service. “Keith’s there even for events he has nothing to do with, whether it’s the car event, or the wine walk or the flower baskets,” said chamber member and volunteer Gini Dideum in presenting the award. “Any time an organization in town asks for a donation, he’s always there giving generously. Every organization needs a Keith Chandler.”

Despite the pandemic and its impacts, local businesses did step up, took on the challenges and did the best they could, Heman said. “Congratulations to all of you. Everybody should get an award for being able to manage your businesses in this last year. Thank you again everybody for doing your part in this awesome community.”

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