WineStyles owners win Evanston Chamber’s annual small business award

Susan Du

The Evanston Chamber of Commerce honored WineStyles owners Maggie and Dean Noonan with the Small Business Person of the Year Award at its annual chamber meeting Tuesday.

The award has become associated with not only success in business but also community involvement. The Small Business Person of the Year Award is traditionally given to entrepreneurs who are nominated by members of the Chamber of Commerce and who are then considered to be outstanding contributors to Evanston’s business environment.

Marian Kurz, chamber spokeswoman for the 92nd annual meeting, said although WineStyles, 1741 Sherman Ave., was nominated last year as well, the chamber decided to give the young company another year to see if the owners remain just as involved as they have been since opening their doors in 2008.

“If you have a business in Evanston, you’re going to be asked to donate to something or other probably several times a year,” Kurz said. “And (the Noonans) have been more than generous in terms of giving gift certificates and wine tastings to people in the area. They’ve always made a concerted effort to be really involved in Evanston.”

Maggie Noonan, who ran WineStyles prior to being diagnosed with cancer, was involved with various community betterment organizations. She served on the Evanston150 committee and the Downtown Evanston board of directors in addition to working with the Woman’s Club of Evanston and the Rotary Club.

“I think it’s unusual for someone who had only been in business for four years to give the amount of devotion to the town itself that she has given,” Kurz said.

WineStyles sales associate Maura Falls said Dean Noonan has also stepped up to balance his day job and the business in recent months so Maggie can recuperate.

“(WineStyles) is definitely a neighborhood shop,” Falls said. “Maggie and Dean know many of our customers, which is why a lot of them come back.”

Falls added that winning this year’s businessperson award was particularly timely for the Noonans.

“I think it means a lot,” she said. “I think Maggie was very excited to receive it. When she called me and told me she was so excited, you could just hear it in her voice. It’s sort of an uplifting thing for her.”

The Chamber of Commerce awards small business owners in order to inspire those doing well to continue improving, Kurz said. Frank Muns and Kyle Kurz of Allegra Design, Print and Signs, 1255 Hartrey Ave., won the award in 2011, and Muns said the recognition has helped his business remain “spectacular.”

“We definitely got some notice, and it makes people more aware that you’re there and you’re an honest person,” he said. “You’re not gonna win an award like that if you’re not honest, and that’s what people are looking for these days: honesty and quality and a fair market value.”

Muns said although he hadn’t heard of WineStyles prior to learning the Noonans would receive the chamber’s award, he looks forward to visiting. “Now that I know they’re there, I might go Friday before I go home and pick up a bottle of wine for my girlfriend and I,” Muns said.

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