Baries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Dutch Country General Store recognized by Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce

Courtney Bareis copy

Courtney Bareis, left, receives the Ambassador of the Year award from the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce, is pictured with Carl Watson, president/CEO of F&M Bank. | Photo courtesy of McKenzie Disselhorst

HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its 112th annual meeting and banquet on March 17 at the Rialto Banquet Hall and presented the following awards:

Ambassador of the Year was presented to Courtney Bareis, who works in the loan servicing department of F&M Bank and Trust Co. She has been a chamber ambassador since 2018. She has been a consistent presence at all chamber activities, especially riverboat dockings, and has been instrumental in planning chamber events such as golf tournaments.

Two businesses earned New Business of the Year honors — Tropical Smoothie Café and Dutch Country General Store. The award is given to a business that has been in operation at least one but not more than three full years and has experienced steady growth, demonstrates good business practices and has contributed to the betterment of the community.

Tropical Smoothie Café opened Dec. 12, 2019. The pandemic radically altered the cafe’s business plans, but it adapted quickly, adding curbside and delivery options. The cafe has supported local schools and organizations and donated smoothies to healthcare workers, first responders, vaccine clinic volunteersvand teachers. Tropical Smoothie Café also was recognized for renovating space on a high-traffic corridor and bringing a nationally-known name with healthy food options to Hannibal.

Dutch Country General Store opened at 305 N. Main in April 2020. It carries a variety of housewares, gifts, toys, food, candy and Hannibal souvenirs as well as operating a full-service deli. The store has supported many programs and causes, including the Hannibal Arts Council, Cuddle Cat Rescue, Great River Honor Flight and United Way. 

Four Community Betterment awards were presented this year. The award honors a person, group of people, business or organization with a specific goal, inspired by a specific need, who have contributed their time and efforts to create something new and make a difference in Hannibal. Awards were given to:

  • City of Hannibal and Hannibal Parks and Recreation, along with its partners, for the completion of Hannibal’s riverfront renovation project. The $6.8 million project replaced numerous infrastructure problems, added amenities such as a new marina, boat ramp and kayak launch, and provided docking locations for two large riverboats as well as the Mark Twain Riverboat and Canton Marine Towing. A uniform rock wall along the river, new sidewalks, fencing, lighting, restroom, new stormwater utilities and a large green space for events were added. The area is handicap accessible from the sidewalks to the kayak launch.
  • Hannibal Regional Healthcare System and Moberly Area Community College-Hannibal for its “Partnering Today for Better Tomorrows” initiative that allows for MACC to offer its accelerated associates degree in nursing. Licensed practical nurses can earn an AADN in 12 months and are eligible to take the exam to become registered nurses. The classroom space, state-of-the-art simulation lab and clinical space for the program is provided by Hannibal Regional Healthcare System on its campus.
  • The Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau for the completion of the Hannibal Visitors Center, which opened in 2020. The center features a distinct riverboat theme, with features that appear to be steam stacks and tension support cables like those on the Mississippi River. It also offers visitors modern conveniences, ample parking and indoor restrooms. The center, an affiliate State of Missouri Welcome Center, is funded using proceeds from Hannibal’s lodging tax, the CVB’s primary source of funding.
  • Hannibal’s Small Business Development Center office, a partnership between the Missouri Small Business Development Center, the University of Missouri Extension Business Development and the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council. The office has provided counseling to more than 200 businesses in the past three years, helping entrepreneurs in the beginning stages of starting a business, established small businesses needing assistance to grow and entrepreneurs looking for help with succession planning. SBDC also helps with market research, financial planning, and access to a broad network of specialists. It plays a key role in the IGNITE Entrepreneurship Program, a partnership between SBDC, HREDC and the chamber.

The Pacesetter Award, given to someone who has served unselfishly help Hannibal move forward, was presented to Susan Johnson, superintendent of Hannibal Public Schools. Johnson collaborated with staff and fellow community leaders to create opportunities to increase technological capabilities to keep students and teachers connected during the pandemic.

Some of Johnson’s recent accomplishments are:

  • Stabilizing the district’s finances;
  • Launching the PATCH Center in partnership with Clarity Healthcare;
  • Starting the Basic Employment Skills Training program;
  • Completing a bond project to add air conditioning and improved plumbing and lighting and other improvements to Hannibal High School, Hannibal Middle School and Hannibal Career and Tech Center;
  • Navigating remote learning;
  • Creating a format to bring community leaders together to make sure everyone had the resources they needed during the pandemic. 

The chamber also recognized:

  • Mary Gibbons with F&M Bank and Trust Co., as the outgoing ambassador committee chair;
  • Rich Stilley with Hannibal Public Schools as the outgoing chamber board president;
  • Ryan Rapp with Commerce Bank as the current chamber board president.
  • Wendy Johnson with Moberly Area Community College, Lisa Kairy with Prestige Realty, Melissa Lanham with Watlow and Brent Massie with Smith Funeral Home as outgoing board of directors.

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