The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) honored two longtime businesses during a virtual ceremony last week. Mitch Larson, owner of On Deck Clothing Company, was named the Entrepreneur of the Year, and Door County Cooperative was named the Industry of the Year.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes recipients who have taken the initiative to start and grow a successful business in Door County, have fewer than 50 employees, exhibit growth potential and demonstrate civic and community involvement.
Larson’s family roots in the county go back to the late 1800s and have imbued him with an ethic to create not just a successful business, but one that provides solid local jobs and contributes to the character of the community.
“The growth and the success of this business [are] because of the team that I’ve had all along,” Larson said. “I’ve been fortunate from the very start to stumble into great talent.”
Though On Deck is a sportswear retailer that caters to the tourist market, it has also built a loyal base of local shoppers who appreciate the fact that the stores are open almost every day of the year, with locations in Sister Bay, Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay.
Larson has made a point of creating retail experiences and renovating locations to historical designs with historical touches inside and out.
The Industry of the Year Award recognizes a local construction, service or manufacturing business that has made a substantial impact on the community and enjoyed significant accomplishments during the past year.
The Door County Cooperative began its work as a local cooperative in 1939, when a group of farmers came together with a common need to find a source for gasoline. During the decades that followed, the co-op became much more than that. The business expanded several times, purchasing many buildings and existing businesses to expand its offerings and better serve the community.