African Bar and Grill won the Minority Owned Business award. Pictured from the left are Melissa Estepp, LaDawn Sperling, Theodora Osei-Fordwuo, Erin Asheson, presenter, and Sylvester Osei-Fordwuo. Credit: Photo courtesy Applaud Lakewood

The first annual Applaud Lakewood awards luncheon at the Rockleys Event Center in Lakewood hosted some of the most well-known businesses and organizations in the city. The owners and operators mingled over the Oct. 24 lunch prepared by Serendipity Catering of Lakewood.

Applaud Lakewood was created by LaDawn Sperling of Coldwell Banker Realty and Melissa Estepp of Premier Events by Melissa. These Lakewood business owners said the idea started at Guapo Taco at 14500 W Colfax Ave Ste. 343, Lakewood. Sperling and Estepp wanted an event that celebrates Lakewood businesses.

A list of award winners for the first Applaud Lakewood.
The winners list from the Applaud Lakewood awards luncheon on Oct. 24. Community businesses were awarded for their service to the community and more.

One of those business owners, Patty Denny of Telluride Truffle spoke about finding her Lakewood location. Denny deliberated over a place until she found her current location at 6006 W Alameda Ave, Lakewood. “When you find the right place, everything else just falls into place.”

Austin Adamson, co-owner of Belmar Peak Distillery received the award for best food and drink. Adamson echoed Denny’s gratitude for the Lakewood community. “Lakewood really shows up to support businesses when times are good or bad.”

Owners of the African Bar and Grill, Theodora and Sylvester Osei-Fordwuo, also spoke on the support the Lakewood community gives to businesses. “We’ve been in Aurora, Denver, and now Lakewood, and we know the difference,” Sylvester said. “Here (in Lakewood) the people and officials help.” He went on to say that their establishment would not be what it is without the support of the Lakewood business community as well.

Ballmer Peak Distillery won the Food and Drink category. In this photo from the left: Melissa Estepp, LaDawn Sperling, Austin Adamson, co-owner of Ballmer Peak Distillery, Craig Baldwin, award presenter. Credit: Photo courtesy Applaud Lakewood

Sandra “Sandie” Weathers presented the list of “hidden gems” which are the businesses and people who were places that the community should know. The winners include businesses that already won awards, such as Belmar Peak Distillery (Best Place to Have a Cocktail.

Weathers said that list recognized businesses that offered more than a product, they offered a feeling of fun, home, and more for Lakewood residents.

The winners of the 2023 Applaud Lakewood awards are:

  • Small Business, Telluride Truffle at 6006 W Alameda Ave.
  • Women Owned, Serendipity Catering at 7110 W Colfax Ave.
  • Medium-Sized Business, Banner Signs & Decals at 9550 W 15th Place
  • Large Business, St. Anthony’s Hospital at 11600 W 2nd Place
  • Food and Drink, Ballmer Peak Distillery at 12347 W Alameda Parkway
  • Minority Owned, African Grill and Bar at 955 S Kipling Parkway
  • Non-profit Champion, 240 Union at 240 Union Blvd.
  • Business Champion, Mayor Adam Paul

For more information on Applaud Lakewood, check out Applaud Lakewood on Facebook

Jonita Davis is a film and culture critic, author, and freelance writer. Her published books include Questioning Cultural Appropriation (2018 Enslow Publishing), Carrying On (2022 Saga Fiction), and the...

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