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Finalists announced for 2024 Small Business Award


The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce has announced five area businesses as 2024 finalists for the annual W. Curtis Strube Small Business Award. The finalists were selected based on written applications covering company history, management philosophy, responses to challenges, innovation in product and service offerings and contributions to the community. Entries were reviewed and scored by an independent panel of judges.


In alphabetical order, this year’s finalists are:

  • 417 Magazine: Owned by Logan Aguirre, 417 Magazine embodies entrepreneurial spirit and community engagement, originating from the career change of journalists Gary and Joan Whitaker. The magazine features positive regional content and highlights connections through their various platforms.
  • Dake Wells Architecture: Established in response to a need for local entrepreneurial ventures, Brandon Dake and Andrew Wells founded Dake Wells Architecture in 2004. The firm has maintained its commitment to core values while experiencing significant growth.
  • Ireland Architects: Under Stephanie Ireland’s leadership, Ireland Architects evolved from a one-person drafting service to a respected architectural firm. The company has contributed to the community through meaningful partnerships with non-profits.
  • Ozark Empire Fairgrounds & Event Center: Originating in 1937 with a vision for community events, the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds and Event Center has grown into a modern complex hosting over 100 events annually, serving as an entertainment and community hub.
  • Volt Credit Union: Founded in 1935 as Springfield MFA Employees Credit Union, the institution now known as Volt Credit Union has expanded its membership and services, currently serving nearly 7,000 members in the Springfield area.

Representatives of the finalist companies will participate in a panel discussion at the Chamber’s Good Morning, Springfield! event on April 4. They will also be celebrated during the Chamber’s Small Business Award event on May 1 at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center, which culminates with the announcement of the 2024 W. Curtis Strube Small Business Award recipient. The event will feature keynote speaker Jackie Stiles, the renowned former Missouri State women’s basketball player, emphasizing the importance of hard work, determination and self-belief.


For more information about the Small Business Award event, visit Small Business Award 2024 GZ News - Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce (

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