The SouthCoast Chamber, Presenting Sponsor BankFive, Small Business Award Sponsor Rockland Trust, and Supporting Sponsor Bristol County Savings Bank are pleased to recognize the significant contributions and achievements of our region’s businesses with the presentation of the 2018 APEX Awards in the categories of Small Business, Large Business, Non-Profit and Educational Institution. Although this recognition ceremony has been around for quite some time, this past Wednesday was the event’s debut as an evening cocktail occasion held at the Greasy Luck.

With over 25 nominees this year, the painstaking task of narrowing down one of the largest turnouts to date was no easy one. Each nominee has played a unique role within the community and contributed to the economic development of the SouthCoast.

Presented with the Large Business of the Year award was BayCoast Bank.

With a workforce of over 300 hundred, BayCoast Bank has maintained the ability to provide consumers, organizations, and municipalities with superior customer service and solutions for more than a century.  Their full range of financial services are available at 18 branches throughout our region.

In 2017, the company provided over $1 billon in financing to local consumers, entrepreneurs and businesses providing capital for both personal and business ventures.

With an annual loan growth rate of 12.6% over the last three years, they have been a key factor in the economic viability and development of the SouthCoast.

They see education has a powerful economic tool and is major component in their corporate culture.  Education is highly encouraged within their workforce and the offer employees a variety of professional development opportunities and generous education assistant programs. They also collaborated with “EDup” to create and implement the “Get on the Bus Program” which advocates the importance of education at all levels throughout the entire community.

They continuously make generous donations and contributions to local businesses and non-profit organizations, volunteer at countless community events and fundraisers and support a range of social initiatives encouraging the enhancement of the SouthCoast Region.

Their consistent growth rate over the last three years is a result of the hard work and determination they employed in successfully meeting the deposit and lending needs of the entire SouthCoast market.

Since 1851, BayCoast Bank has been providing exceptional service and solutions to customers allowing business owners, entrepreneurs and consumers the ability to finance ventures and invest in our local economy.

The nominees for this year’s Large Business of the Year award included Taunton Federal Credit Union; All American Assisted Living at Wareham; Cape Cod Five Cent Savings Bank and finalists Brahmin Leatherworks and Tegra Medical.


Presented with the Small Business of the Year award was Acorn, Inc.

For more than 70 years, this family owned and operated business has been an example of forward thinking, hard work and philanthropy.  As a driving force behind the city’s economic development, Acorn, Inc. has remained prominent within the community ultimately leading to the advancement of our region as a whole.

After recognizing New Bedford’s potential, they decided to invest in the city, redevelop local mill structures, and preserve its historic character.  They have staked substantial assets in the local economy by successfully developing and managing the Lofts at Wamsutta Place, Victoria Riverside Lofts, and the Riverbank Lofts. With nearly 500 units across 1 million square feet, maintaining above 98% occupancy rate, these buildings represent $100 million in private investment funds to the local economy. Today, these properties proudly contribute over $800,000 to the city annually, created multiple job opportunities, and generate business for local vendors.

With strong beliefs in fostering a positive environment for residents, staff and the city as a whole, they developed events and programs encouraging residents to get involved, interact with each other and form a strong sense of community.  A civic-minded organization, they give back by participating in several food, clothing, and toy drives. Volunteering with local organizations such as Operation Clean Sweep, Mercy Meals and More.  Their commitment to sustainable and renewable energy is an example of their forward thinking. They currently have 2 megawatts of solar panels across the roofs of all properties.

Now, under the fourth-generation of family leadership, this dynamic company is investing in the long term and poised for a bright future in the City of New Bedford.

The nominees for year’s Small Business of the Year award included Churrascaria Novo Mundo; Simply Sierra Jewelry; Gateway Printing; Waring-Sullivan & Rock Funeral Homes and finalists Servpro of New Bedford and Dartmouth and Servpro of Marion and Middleboro and Days’ Sports.


Presented with the Non-Profit of the Year award was New Bedford Symphony Orchestra

As driving force in tourism, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra has been attracting visitors to our community while simultaneously evolving into an internationally esteemed organization.

By focusing on their core mission of providing exceptional classical musical performances and innovative educational programs they have advanced the quality of life within the region and had significant impacts on our the overall economic climate.

They work diligently every season to create a diverse concert series and innovative educational curriculum. With a dedicated staff of only eight personnel, they recently expanded the reach of their Learning in Concert Program to over 50 schools and 200 classrooms, embarked on a successful endowment campaign, increased the number of concerts due to popular demand and celebrated their 100th anniversary.

This hard work and dedication have sustained a vibrant performing arts culture within the SouthCoast and ultimately encouraged countless numbers of tourists to visit our area and invest in the local economy.

Over the years, they provided several generous scholarships to local high schools and colleges allowing students to develop their talents and gain extensive knowledge.  They have organize free concerts at the Zeiterion Theatre, and in 2017 donated over 350 tickets to local families and organizations allowing the opportunity for as many SouthCoast residents to experience the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra as possible.

The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra has built a respected international reputation by fostering an environment that is rich in education and culture.

Their success and achievements have transformed the SouthCoast into sought after destination for top artist to perform extraordinary musical concerts for our residents and visitors from across the globe.

The nominees for this year’s Non-Profit of the Year award included SouthCoast RAPPP (Responsible Attitudes toward Pregnancy, Parenting, and Prevention) Program; Better Community Living; Rise Up; New Bedford Homeless Advocates and finalists PAACA- Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction and YOU (Youth Opportunities Unlimited).


Presented with the Educational Institution of the Year award was Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech

While providing lifelong educational opportunities for our community this organization has continuously pursued bold methods to ensure a high-quality level of training and education that will prepare the future workforce to become contributing members of the SouthCoast community.

Servicing more than 2,000 students they have evolved into the second largest Career and Technical High School in Massachusetts.  Currently they exceed states averages with a daily attendance rate of 97% and yearly graduation rate of 90%.

Students unceasingly excel above their peers in state mandated testing and assessments, which proves testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment of the 327, employed educational personal who work extensively with each student.

Aside from offering 30 different areas of study in 4 Career and Technical Academies, a variety of language courses and over 80 specialized licensed and non-licensed trade certificates, they have remained a prominent enthusiast behind the betterment of our region.

They regularly make the school’s facilities available to host non-profit organization’s events, summer youth camps, Boy Scout programs and a wide range fundraising events.

The Off Campus Construction Program they developed allows students to apply their knowledge and construction skills to a variety of community building projects greatly benefiting the business community, resident and the overall beautification of the SouthCoast.

Greater New Bedford Voc Tech High Sigh School has created and implemented countless programs, initiatives and opportunities to ensure students are aware of the importance of civic engagement and community service.

The unwavering devotion Greater New Bedford Voc Tech High School has to their core values of preparation, passion and perseverance has established a foundation for a unique educational experience.

The nominees for this year’s Educational Institution of the Year award included finalists

Lance Soares’ Family Martial Arts Center, Inc. and Our Sisters’ School.