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Meet the 2019 Small Business of the Year Finalists

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards celebrate organizations from across the region who are leading in their field and making an impact in the community – writing our next chapter as a great community to live and do business.

Meet the 2019 Small Business of the Year finalists, presented by Transworld Business Advisors: Footers Catering, Polidori Sausage and Syntrinsic. These businesses may be small, but they drive innovation, success and unique company cultures. The winner will be announced live on May 1.

Get your seat for the 2019 Business Awards Luncheon!

Footers Catering is changing the hospitality industry with its approach to culture.

Footers Catering is a second-generation family-owned business. Their passion for amazing events and an unprecedented company culture has elevated Footers to become a top business in Denver. For over 36 years Footers has been committed to cooking all their menus fresh on-site for the best quality possible. Each year they serve more than 75,000 guests throughout Colorado.

“We cater more than 650 events each year in the Denver metro area and mountain regions,” said Anthony Lambatos, who owns Footers Catering with his wife April. “We feel very fortunate to be part of life’s celebrations for many people.”

Footers is creating a unique, team-driven company culture that is driving employee retention. They never use temporary staff and hire and train their team to ensure not only a great experience but also a close-knit team. One perk that fuels that? The Footers Annual Vacation all-inclusive trip for their team and Culture Club – where team members visit companies whose culture they admire.

With a staff of 30, their mission is to “Make it Better Every Day.” This has led to the MIBE TRIBE, their hospitality coaching company, which will launch a yearly conference for the hospitality industry on how to increase employee retention and engagement.

“Our goal is to go out and be able to spread what we’ve learned to the hospitality industry and hopefully, make some waves with lowering the turnover that the hospitality industry faces because there’s definitely a labor crisis in Denver,” said April Lambatos, Footers owner and COO.

Homegrown sausage company makes everyone feel like family.

Polidori Sausage has been a family-owned and -operated sausage manufacturer based in Denver since 1925. They thrive on supporting local restaurants around Colorado as well as larger outlets like Safeway, King Soopers and City Market to ensure their clean and all-natural products are available to the entire Rocky Mountain region.

Using their grandmother’s recipe, Melodie Polidori Harris and brother Steve Polidori are building on their family legacy as Colorado’s hometown sausage. They are the official sausage of the Colorado Rockies and Colorado State University Rams along with partners of the Denver Broncos, University of Denver Pioneers and University of Colorado Buffalos.

They want everyone to feel a part of their family, from their employees to customers.

“We try to treat our employees like they’re family, but we like to try to have a lot of fun,” said Steve Polidori, president of Polidori Sausage. “There’s no big boss or little boss. Everybody’s the same.”

It’s also about keeping that family tradition alive.

“We both knew my great grandmother quite well,” said Melodie Polidori Harris, vice president of Polidori Sausage. “To be able to carry on her family heirloom traditions, there’s a tremendous amount of family pride.”

Supporting Denver’s “mission-driven economy.”

Syntrinsic partners as a fiduciary with nonprofit organizations and philanthropic private clients to develop, implement and monitor customized investment portfolios. Syntrinsic serves a variety of clients, including private foundations, public charities, affinity-based foundations and philanthropic private clients. Syntrinsic’s people have a distinctive blend of investment experience, technical expertise and heart for service.

“Our whole mission is … to provide investment advice but more than just investment advice, it’s to really help (our clients) think about what are they trying to accomplish with their financial resources and how can we help them steward those resources,” said Syntrinsic CEO Ben Valore-Caplan.

This small business invests in the region. In 2018 they gave more than 5 percent of their revenues in donations, sponsorships and dues to nonprofits and public policy organizations – they aim to mirror same level of giveback as foundations. And, they recently launched Syntrinsic Social Capital, which helps clients identify public and private opportunities aligned with their mission and growth needs.

“Syntrinsic Social Capital was really built to craft innovative financial solutions to solve our greatest social challenges,” said Chief Consulting Officer Akasha Absher. “We get to be even more of a thought partner with our clients who are thinking about, ‘how do I bridge that social capital with that philanthropic capital?’”

Laura James is the senior marketing and communications specialist for the Denver Metro Chamber.