Entrepreneur of the Year
A pair of business owners who have carried on a proud restaurant tradition that began in 1957 were honored with one of two 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards at the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce Spring Dinner and Awards Banquet Friday night at the Lovell Community Center.
Craig Trumbull and Bonnie Nation, who started the Brandin’ Iron Restaurant in Lovell in July of 2011, were honored by Lovell Inc./Grow Big Horn County not only for their food and service but also for the way they treat their employees.
Trumbull and Nation bought Lange’s Kitchen from Sharon Lange three years ago, then remodeled the facility, created a new menu and expanded the hours of the 57-year-old Lovell restaurant. The owners also oversaw a major expansion project last year to add new handicapped-accessible restrooms, an expanded kitchen, more storage and new utility lines.
Lovell Inc. received many nominations for Trumbull and Nation as entrepreneur of the year. The nominations came from employees and regular customers.
“These business partners purchased an existing business and worked very hard to make it into an important part of our community,” the nomination summary states. “They are community minded and encourage their employees to do the same. They put a lot of time and effort into making their business a success, even when faced with a serious plumbing problem last year.”
One nomination stated, “From the time they took on the venture of the Brandin’ Iron Restaurant, Lovell saw a business that was here for the community. Their employees are friendly, and their food is good and priced right. Lovell is fortunate to have this business.”
Another nomination noted that Craig and Bonnie are often seen working alongside their staff, from waiting on tables and washing tables to cooking and making customers feel welcome.
“If there is a mistake or a complaint, they do their best to make it correct, even to the point of carrying a specific salad dressing for a specific customer,” the nomination stated.
On a personal note, presenter Lexi Carabay said she has worked for the Brandin’ Iron for nearly three years and a strong relationship has grown with Craig and Bonnie.
“I grew up in Lovell and didn’t always make the best choices and therefore didn’t have the best reputation,” Carabay said. “After applying at multiple places of employment, I would repeatedly be turned down for a job. Craig and Bonnie looked beyond that reputation and gave me the opportunity to work for them. In this time I have grown personally, and they have helped me believe in myself to become a success in my career.
“I would like to thank them publicly for believing in me and helping me become the person I am today. Thank you, Craig and Bonnie, from the bottom of my heart.”
“This is a wonderful community that has supported us from day one,” Nation said as the business partners accepted the award.
Added Trumbull, “We’re blessed by our employees and families. We’re honored to be in a community like this.”
by David Peck