By Emily Banks Wooten
Polk County Publishing Company is making plans to lead the charge to bring recognition to businesses in its five-county region who qualify for the Texas Treasure business award, a special designation presented by the Texas Historical Commission.
The Texas Treasure Business Award Program recognizes the accomplishments of Texas businesses that have provided employment opportunities and support to the state’s economy for at least 50 years. Created in 2005 by Senate Bill 920, authored by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio and sponsored by Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson of Waco, the program pays tribute to the state’s well-established businesses and their exceptional historical contributions toward the state’s economic growth and prosperity.
Businesses that can also establish that they have been continuously owned by the same family or have operated continuously from a building that is at least 50 years old and have maintained its architectural integrity will receive additional recognition.
“Think about businesses that have been going strong for 50 years or more in our communities. There is value in longevity. Businesses that have survived the past 50 years or more should be recognized, celebrated and supported. All five of our newspapers qualify and I am turning in our applications for the honor of being called a Texas Treasure for having been in business for over 50 years,” Publisher Kelli Barnes said.
“We would like you to join us in becoming registered with the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Treasure business award program. Registering is easy and can be done with little effort. If your business or a business you know in the county fits into this category, a registration form can be found at https://www.thc.texas.gov/public/upload/ttba_nmntn_frm_09_19.pdf,” Barnes said.
“This will culminate in a large gathering with dignitaries coming to the county for one big presentation and photo opportunity. Please contact the newspaper so we can help and/or coordinate a day our state representative and a representative from the Texas Historical Commission can come to our county for a group photo of all qualifying businesses receiving the award. The group photo will become a part of history we can celebrate and record in the pages of this newspaper,” Barnes said.
According to the Texas Historical Commission’s website, businesses may nominate themselves, although business owners are encouraged to reach out to their local County Historical Commission to notify them of the pending nomination. In most cases, County Historical Commissions are a helpful resource when it comes to identifying and/or locating supporting documentation to verify the business’ age. In all cases, the nominator must have explicit authorization from the business owner to submit on their behalf.
To be considered for this award, businesses must meet the following criteria:
Have been in continuous for-profit operation in Texas for at least 50 years;
Continue to operate the same or a very similar type of business as it did at least 50 years ago;
Have a continuous record of employment for at least the past 50 years;
Continue to operate as an independent, for-profit business (i.e., it cannot be operating as a subsidiary of or have been absorbed into another business); and
Maintain a good business relationship with the state.
The nomination form asks for the following: the name of the business, the name and contact information of the person nominating the business, the owner/president/CEO of the business, type of business and date founded.
Additionally, a brief narrative history (one to two pages maximum) of the founding and operation of the business is required, including:
When, where, and by whom the business was established;
Explanation of periods during which the business ceased operations (if applicable);
Whether the type of business conducted, the ownership/management, or business location have changed over time;
If it is a family-owned business, include information showing how long the family has owned the business; and
If the business has operated in a historic building, include information showing how long the business has been located in this building as well as a historic photograph and a current photograph of the building.
Additional supportive materials to be provided by the business include one of the following to verify the business founding date: real estate records/deeds, business charters, ledger pages, newspaper advertisements, board meeting minutes, invoices, bills or checks, state licenses, flyers, city directory listings or tax records. Additional brochures or information that clarifies the items above are welcome.