The votes are in and this year’s featured Unsung Heroes are Sespe Burger and the Bread Chef in Boardman, and Enertech Electrical Inc. of Lowellville.
The Business Journal received more than 133 nominations for 55 businesses as part of the 2020 Rally Around Small Business campaign.
An anonymous panel of business and community leaders selected the winners based on products or services offered, commitment to the community and going above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sespe Burger received the most votes among panel members. Owned and operated by Jeff and Christina Porter, the husband and wife team returned to Ohio after working on food trucks in Los Angeles for five years.
During the pandemic, Sespe provided drive-thru and curbside pickup for call ahead orders.
“They have kept all of their employees working and have donated countless meals to hospital workers at Mercy Health Boardman campus,” wrote one of the nominators.
Enertech Electrical has operated here since 1981 and serves Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to its business development manager, Dominic Donofrio.
During the pandemic, Enertech worked to design and preplan the conversion of the Covelli Centre downtown into a temporary medical facility for COVID-19 patients, Donofrio says. The company worked closely with the Ohio Army National Guard, Department of Transportation and Mercy Health.
“Enertech has surveyed and engineered the electrical needs for this project and will be able to do a complete turnover of the facility in 10 days,” Donofrio said in an email nominating the company.
For 12 years, Mike Landgraff has owned and operated the Bread Chef, which cut its hours of operation during the pandemic, but stayed open and kept its full-time staff of 10 intact.
Unsold bread is donated to local food banks and the Big Reach Center for Hope.
When some of the local food banks were unable to pick up donations, Bread Chef employees took the bread to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley.
“There’s a lot of volunteer work my people do personally behind the scenes,” Landgraff says. “They’re very generous.”
Look for profiles of these businesses in the August 2020 edition of The Business Journal and online at BusinessJournalDaily.com.