The Spirit of Enterprise Award was presented to Sally Schatz during the 2017 Business Alliance Awards.
This award is presented to a businessperson who has demonstrated leadership in his or her industry or profession, developed and maintained strong employee relations, contributed and sustained service to community and participated in chamber activities and programs.
"I felt so honored to be among the elite group of previous winners," said Schatz, the owner of Sally and Associates, an auto dealership. "I was completely shocked and speechless. I feel as if our business and the things we do for the community are finally being recognized."
The business owner has given back to the community for a number of years by giving away a used car full of gifts to a family in need around Christmastime.
"I started my business in 2004 while I was a manger for Rentway. My customers would continually come in and tell me stories about how they felt taken advantage of from the companies they purchased cars from," she said.
"After doing much research I realized I could do it better. I began selling cars at book value with no interest and no finance charges and I put the customer in a payment they could afford. We also repair cars before we sell them. We have continued to do this for 14 years and it works."
Her business was destroyed by fire on Thanksgiving Day in 2015, but has rebounded nicely, having moved to a temporary location before rebuilding and returning to its spot at 854 W. State St.
"I am a very proud to be a part of the Alliance community and enjoy helping others through my business as well as my church, Bolton United Methodist Church," she said.
Schatz graduated from Alliance High School then attended Kent State University. She then worked as a buyer for Denim Company in Orlando before accepting a job with Chuck E. Cheese’s where she worked in Florida and Georgia. She moved back to Alliance in 1998, married in 2000 and had her first child in 2008.
"My family, thankfully, has always been very supportive with my business ideas, and let me tell you, I have had many," she said.
Schatz expressed appreciation to the Alliance Area Chamber of Commerce for choosing her for the award.
While winning the award hasn’t affected her business, she said the community recognition is nice, as are the letters she has received from state officials.
"Winning this award has hopefully opened the doors for people looking for a quality, low-end, used vehicle at an honest price," she said. "We have always conducted our business with the same honest integrity and will continue to do so in the future."
Schwarz will get the opportunity to present the 2018 Spirit of Enterprise Award to the new recipient. "I can only hope that I do as good of a job as Doug Schwarz when he presented the award to me," she said, adding that she is most looking forward to seeing the surprise on the next winner’s face.