BREMERTON — When partners Suanne Martin Smith and Paul Robinson opened their Home Made Cafe on Friday for breakfast, the restaurant owners most assuredly had an extra bounce to their step and wide grins on their faces.
The partners in business and life had great reasons for starting their day sunny-side up. Their proposal to expand the commercial kitchen of their restaurant, Home Made Cafe in Port Orchard, won the votes of an independent panel of judges to award them a $20,000 edg3 Fund grant from Kitsap Bank.
Home Made Cafe was one of five finalists appearing Thursday at the Kitsap Conference Center at Harborside in Bremerton, where each gave a five-minute presentation about their business and how they’d spend the award grant.
Other finalists were Morel Compass Mushrooms & Company of Port Angeles, Set & Drift Shellfish of Port Ludlow, SpringRain Farm & Orchard of Chimacum and Bushel & Barrel Ciderhouse of Poulsbo.
Martin Smith and Robinson will use the money to upgrade their commercial kitchen with a new commercial cooktop, an expanded pantry and a walk-in freezer.
“I’m so beyond happy,” an elated Martin Smith said the morning after the event. “I’m in shock, to tell you the truth. It feels surreal because the competition was pretty impressive. Every one of the five deserved the money. They all had a vision.”
The edg3 Fund competition for area small businesses is to recognize entrepreneurs “dedicated to growing their community in three ways: economically, socially and environmentally,” Kitsap Bank’s mission statement read.
A semifinalist in the competition, Cascade Hygiene of Bremerton, was presented the $5,000 Community edg3 Award. Judges awarded it to the company that best embodies the spirit of community, based on its application and video.
“This award is great recognition for our town,” Martin Smith said. “Port Orchard is a hidden gem. People don’t realize how incredible we have it here, living right on the water.
Sponsor Kitsap Bank created the edg3 Fund competition to provide a $20,000 prize for a small business with a unique, creative and innovative idea dedicated to growing its community economically, socially and environmentally, bank officials said in the event’s promotional materials.
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