Three locally-owned businesses were recognized Thursday by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.
About 500 people attended the annual “Good Morning Cedar Rapids” breakfast at the U.S. Cellular Convention Center.
E-commerce company BHFO Inc., Tallgrass Business Resources and Ginsberg Jewelers received Bravo awards, which honor local businesses that have made milestones in service to the community.
BHFO started in 2003 out of Jon and Stacie Sefton’s basement. The company, which buys overstocked designer clothes from retailers and then resells them on eBay, has outgrown its warehouse at 5285 Rockwell Dr. NE and will be moving into a 250,000-square-foot warehouse in February 2014.
BHFO, the largest seller of clothing, shoes and accessories on eBay, also is looking to expand into new markets. Jon Sefton said the couple expected to speak with the CEO of a New Zealand company Thursday afternoon.
Tallgrass Business Resources, 1239 First Ave. SE, supplies office furniture and supplies to businesses in Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Wilton and Davenport. It was created with a merger of two family-owned Corridor companies in 2011.
Frohwein/Matthews Office Plus of Coralville and Pioneer Workspace Solutions in Cedar Rapids were competitors for years, but Doug Parsons, president and CEO, said the merger just made sense. And while it was a challenge to bring together the two company cultures, Parson said the business is stronger.
Herman and Steven Ginsberg of Ginsberg Jewelers spoke of the June 2008 Flood, which devastated their downtown store and forced the retailer operate in several temporary locations. After assessing their options, the Ginsbergs moved their business into a new building at 4647 First Ave. SE near Lindale Mall in 2010.
A number of organizations also were highlighted during Thursday’s economic development event, including Eastern Iowa Arts Academy, the Cedar Rapids Public Library, Kirkwood Regional Center, the National Czech & Slovak National Museum and Library and the Cedar Rapids Convention Complex.