2023 Excellence in Downtown Albany Award Winners Named

2023 Excellence in Downtown Albany Award Winners Named
September 19, 2023 Lise Grato

On September 18, Albany Downtown Association members, volunteers and community partners gathered at The Grove for a night of fun and recognition.


The Excellence in Downtown Albany Awards honor the people and businesses who are putting their time, money, and/or influence into making our Downtown a more vibrant place to live, work and do business.


Nominations were submitted by ADA members and the public, and the winners were selected by our award committee. Check out our website for additional award event photos, www.albanydowntown.com/news.


Here are the winners with quotes from the nominations:


Business of the Year

Sybaris Bistro

Since opening its doors in 2001, Sybaris has offered an ever-evolving, seasonally inspired menu that showcases the best of Oregon and the Willamette Valley. Beyond their culinary expertise, Matt and Janel Bennett have made commendable efforts in community service. Together, they have led collaborative fundraisers to support numerous local causes.


During the formidable challenges of COVID-19, they were swift to adapt, setting a benchmark for takeout dining. They generously shared their successful model with other businesses, embodying community spirit.


It’s not just locally that they have made their mark. Matt has been invited to the James Beard House in New York City three times, putting Downtown Albany and the flavors of the Northwest on the national culinary map.


Sybaris Bistro was submitted for the OMS Excellence in Revitalization’s Business of the Year award and will attend the award ceremony at the OMS Conference on October 4.


New Business of the Year

The Brim Coffee Co.

­ Quality of coffee is great! Merchandising –  they have a lot of options to choose from. Evidence of growth – already opened a 2nd location. Community spirit – large social media presence, always promoting other businesses and events.

­ Flavor of the coffee, they are so nice, kind. Always have nice interaction with servers.

­ Customer service, quality of ingredients, house made food and scones.

­ The thing I love that they do is they write a positive message on your cup and that helps pick up your day.

­ Awesome coffee, customer service and has the heart of downtown Albany.

– Their Christmas window was so fun.

Additional Nominees:

  • Reds Boutique
  • Stoked 2 Sk8
  • Wine Crush


Restaurant Business of the Year

Ba’s Vietnamese Comfort Food

­ Quality, unusual variety and quantity.

­ They have grown so much and faced a lot of hurdles.

­ They are a go-to destination now for people in Albany and surrounding areas and bring in a lot of attraction. That has to do with the quality of food they consistently prepare and their social media presence.


Additional Nominees:

  • Homegrown Oregon Foods
  • Sybaris Bistro
  • Sweet Red Bistro
  • Wine Crush


Retail Business of the Year

Reds Boutique

­ Brandy has not only succeeded in creating an inviting shopping experience but has also breathed new life into a location, overcoming the challenges of rebranding and revitalization.

­ This establishment has become a hub for fashion-forward clothing, complemented by their deep involvement in local events and committees.

Additional Nominees:

  • 1st Hand Second Unique Boutique
  • The Natty Dresser
  • Merrime Bridal LLC
  • Stay Awhile Vintage Mercantile


Personal Service Business of the Year

La Belle Boutique

­ They are a central fixture in downtown Albany, always contributing to its aesthetic beauty and community spirit.

­ Beth and her team actively participate in Downtown events, and she even contributes at the board level.

­ The owner has a story of dedication to Downtown that spans over two decades, affirming the deep roots this business has in our community.


Additional Nominees:

  • Pure Beauty Aesthetics
  • Embrace Kindness
  • Onyx Luxury Aesthetics


Professional Service Business of the Year

Varitone Architecture

­ Varitone consistently exhibited top-tier quality in their work, enhancing our community’s aesthetic and functional aspects.

­ Christina and her team are experts in the crucial field of historic restoration and are avid advocates for Downtown revitalization.


­ Their enduring commitment to making Downtown Albany a better place for all of us.

­ Quality – the work speaks for itself.

­ Excellent service. Strives to make our community beautiful, functional and helps with original restoration.


Additional Nominees:

  • The Corvallis Contractor
  • Farmers Insurance – Sharon Pascone
  • Fisher Funeral Home
  • Fidelity National Insurance


Entertainment Business of the Year

Albany Pix Theatre

­ Community Spirit and Quality – they always seem involved and eager to participate. They bring a great selection of movies and food to Downtown. They are usually highly talked about as the best theater around because of the experience they offer.

­ Always a blast and true small-town feel.

­ Beautiful establishment, fair prices, delicious food, great choices in movies that work in this community.

­ Rod and Denise are the best. They are some of the most respectful and considerate humans we know.

­ Albany Pix Theatre continues to engage the community with their impressive showings, the way they market movies (Barbie was brilliant and FUN), their affordable prices and excellent food options. The Pix has become a favorite for so many and continues to surprise and delight.

­ Truly Downtown’s family friendly hub.

­ By redoing their theater seating, it has helped draw more people in.

Additional Nominees:

  • Albany Civic Theater
  • Albany Historic Carousel & Museum
  • Albany Regional Museum


Best Business Organized Event

Albany Downtown Block Party

(Motive Entertainment, LLC)

– The first Downtown Albany Block Party brought 5,000 people downtown to enjoy a free concert, free kids activities, along with food vendors, small vendors, skating, beer and all sorts of fun. It brought the community together to enjoy each other on the beautiful streets of Downtown. The event also donated proceeds to the Albany Downtown Association.

– Last year’s block party was a much needed event to help bring local businesses together.

– Their amazing Block Party brought so much attention to our Downtown area and what we have to offer.


Outstanding Building Owner

Linda Kjerulf – 337 1st Ave. W


– Linda was a patron of our salon and saw that it had been up for sale for two years. We are thankful that she bought our salon so that way we could stay in the downtown area. The very first thing she asked us if there was something we would like done to our building. We asked for new flooring and lighting, and she did that right away. In October, we are getting a new roof and air conditioning. Linda has had a tough year. She lost her mom and her husband, but yet, has taken the time to make sure that our building is well taken care of.


Good Neighbor Award

Margin Coffee Roasters

– Margin hosted a fundraiser for Ba’s when they were out sick and closed for an extended time.

– Always promotes and works with other local businesses.

– What an amazing business. This year, they did a campaign to help a fellow Downtown business when things got tough.

Congratulations to all of our winners.