The Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership (HDKP) announced the winners of this year’s Downtown Awards in a special broadcast held over Zoom and YouTube on April 28th. At this year’s awards ceremony, the Partnership debuted a new award category, Downtown Revitalization of the Year, and dedicated the Kennewick Downtowner of the Year Award to the memory of Ken Silliman, who was the first winner of this award back in 1989. The Downtown Kennewick Business of the Year was also announced. The awards broadcast can be viewed on HDKP’s YouTube page.
2020 Downtown Kennewick Awards went to:
- Discount Vac & Sew for Downtown Kennewick Business of the Year
- Layered Cake Artistry for “Downtown Kennewick Revitalization of the Year”
- Ken Hohenberg for “Ken Silliman Kennewick Downtowner of the Year Award”
The Downtown Kennewick Business of the Year Award is an award that recognizes a business that contributes to the economic growth and quality of life in downtown Kennewick. 2020 brought forth many challenges for our business community to navigate and overcome, for this year’s award we also took into consideration how businesses pivoted and innovated to stay connected with its customers and active as a business. The 2020 Downtown Kennewick Business of the Year is Discount Vac and Sew, located at 119 W. First Street. Discount Vac and Sew was honored as the Business of the Year not only for it’s track record as an anchoring business in the downtown that brings in lots of retail traffic. Discount Vac and Sew was selected for this honor in part for its work during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic in organizing a mask kit-making drive that created kits for volunteers to sew desperately needed masks out of the fabric and vacuum bags from their inventory. These masks were similar in their quality to N95 masks. Through Discount Vac and Sew’s coordinated efforts and leadership, over 1,000 were made and distributed local to frontline medical workers. Discount Vac and Sew has a history and culture of giving back to the community and inspiring it’s customers to do the same. Each holiday season Discount Vac and Sew hosts a “Santa Bags” campaign that coordinates with sewers and quilters around the community to create and assemble Santa Bags that are filled with a handmade quilt, personal amenities, and treats. The bags and their items are assembled, filled, and distributed by the staff, customers, and volunteers of this business. These Santa Bags are given to local charities like the Union Gospel Mission and the Women’s Shelter.
“The more we learned about what Discount Vac and Sew does for our community, both during and outside of COVID conditions, the choice was clear,” said Stephanie Button, Executive Director of HDKP. “Staff and the selection committee were inspired by Discount Vac and Sew, it’s owner Ginny Hildreth, and her employees. This is a fantastic business and we are proud to have them as part of our Downtown Kennewick community.”
This year’s awards presentation introduced a new award category, “Downtown Kennewick Revitalization of the Year.” This award recognizes the efforts of those who work strenuously and tirelessly at revitalizing properties and storefronts in the downtown Kennewick area. “Now more than ever it is important to celebrate our revitalization projects. Said Ms. Button. “They serve as an inspiration to other downtown property and business owners and it communicates that our downtown has momentum and positive energy.”
For this first award, HDKP sought to recognize projects completed between December 2019 and January 2021. The first honoree of this award, Layered Cake Artistry and Cake Studio, located at 117 W. Kennewick Ave transformed an old building in the downtown with a complete overhaul of both the interior and exterior of its building.
“The renovations that Layered Cake owners, Elena Gavin and Concetta Gulluni undertook were big and bold on design, while still maintaining a timeless elegance and cozy charm.” Said Ms. Button, “This project transformed not only the block it is located on, but upped the stakes and standards for the rest of the downtown in the best way possible.”
The highest honor that HDKP bestows is the Kennewick Downtowner of the Year Award. To be a Downtowner of the Year is to join an illustrious cohort of do-ers, problemsolvers, and big-picture dreamers. Since the award’s inception back in 1989, this award has been given to men and women who have been champions and advocates for Downtown Kennewick. At the Downtown Kennewick Downtowner Awards it was formally announced that the award would be dedicated in honor of it’s first recipient, Ken Silliman.
Ken Silliman passed earlier this year and was Downtown Kennewick’s largest advocate and a mentor to many. He served as President of the Downtown Association and helped the organization achieve National Main Street Accreditation over 20 years ago. Mr. Silliman was also part of the group that started the Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market. The Past Downtowners of the Year and the Board of Directors of the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership wanted to commemorate Ken Silliman’s legacy to the Downtown Kennewick Community by dedicating the Kennewick Downtowner of the Year Award in his memory and example. Henceforth this award and HDKP’s highest honor, shall be known as the Ken Silliman Kennewick Downtowner of the Year Award.
This year’s Ken Silliman Kennewick Downtowner of the Year Award was presented by Jay Freeman, the 2019 winner of the award. This year’s awardee, Ken Hohenberg, was honored for being an example of integrity, community mindedness, friendliness and collaboration. His efforts can be seen and felt in his long history of service in our community and giving back. Professionally, Mr. Hohenberg has over 40 years of serving the downtown Kennewick and Columbia Drive community.
Ken Hohenberg’s service to his community might have started as a young crossing guard, but it evolved to patrolling our community by cruiser and motorcycle. Fulfilling his dream to become a police officer, Mr. Hohenberg was dedicated to his duty to protect and serve has reached a pinnacle of excellence in his career.
Mr. Hohenberg was Kennewick’s first DARE officer, a patrol sergeant and the department’s first internal affairs lieutenant. He commanded both patrol and detective units as a captain, then became assistant police chief in 2001 and chief of police in 2003. In 2009, he and friends started the KPD Foundation, followed by the Community Care Fund in 2015, which has helped hundreds individuals and families in crisis.
“While Mr. Hohenberg has recently announced his retirement, we have no doubt that he will continue to serve and be engaged in our community.” Said Jay Freeman, “It is my honor to add one more accolade to this year’s Kennewick Downtowner of the Year’s list of accomplishments. I extend my sincere congratulations Ken Hohenberg.”
Ken Hohenberg has been an unwavering partner in helping revitalize historic downtown Kennewick and the historic waterfront. During the awards presentation he was also congratulated by video message from Marie Mosley, Manager of the City of Kennewick, Port of Kennewick Commissioner Don Barnes, and Merrianne Door; co-owner of JD’s Time Center, a downtown Kennewick local business located at 105 W. Kennewick Ave.
The full Downtown Kennewick Downtowner Awards can be viewed online on the HDKP YouTube Page or on the HDKP website.
To view, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjUmRsv6HYo or www.historickennewick.org/blog-archive/2021/5/4/hdkp-announces-winners-of-downtown-awards. If you would like more information about this topic, please call Stephanie Button at 509-582-7221 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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