Miles Schnaer gave up a trip to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia on Wednesday to see what was in the envelope.
He’s glad he did, because his Crown Toyota, Scion, Volkswagen dealership on South Iowa Street was named the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce’s business of the year on Wednesday evening.
“I’m not sure I even know where St. Lucia is but it probably is warmer and sunnier there than it is here,” said Schnaer, who was scheduled to be in the tropical locale as part of an awards event for the top Toyota dealers in the country. “But I can tell you it is a great day here.”
The Crown dealership was honored for 19 years in the Lawrence auto market and for its community involvement that has included Schnaer playing a leadership role at local nonprofit organizations such as Cottonwood Inc. and Bill Self’s Assists Foundation.
“I really thank my parents for teaching me the value of life and giving me a conscience,” Schnaer said. “They always told me to feel like you are doing the right thing, and you will. And you will be rewarded for it. You don’t know when, but you will be rewarded.”
Crown — which has about 100 employees at its Lawrence dealership — was selected by a chamber committee from a field of 11 Lawrence businesses.
Other nominees were: CEK Insurance; Lawrence Landscape; Lawrence Memorial Hospital; Legends Dental; local catering company Maceli’s; the orthopedic medical practice OrthoKansas; pet care provider Pawsh Wash; fundraising specialists Pennington & Company; LED light fixture manufacturer Sunlite Science & Technology; and Treanor Architects.
A crowd of about 100 people attended the event, held at the recently opened Cider Gallery in the Warehouse Arts District of East Lawrence.