Close-up of crystal awards on a wooden table, with the front award labeled

Special-Lite honored for contributions to the community, product innovation

Market Van Buren, now Market One, hosted its fourth annual Awards Event at Marion Magnolia Farms in Cassopolis. The event brought together local business owners and municipal leaders from Cass and Van Buren counties to celebrate the organization’s five-year anniversary. One highlight of the evening was the celebration of several outstanding businesses, including the prestigious recognition of Special-Lite as the Business Innovator of the Year.

This award recognized Special-Lite’s track record of innovation, which has driven economic growth in Decatur and the surrounding Southwest Michigan community over the years, including job creation.

Innovations include the development of the first FRP door along with more recent additions like the manufacturer’s HMR-FRP Hollow Replacement Door in 2023, the launch of its SpecSlide Surface-Mounted Sliding Door System in March 2024, as well as other products due out later in the year.

Award winners were selected following a nomination and application process. The following local organizations were also honored:

  • Economic Pioneer of the Year – Midwest Energy & Communications in Cassopolis
  • Legacy Award – James Crandall
  • Community Champion of the Year – Charles River Laboratories, Mattawan
  • Municipal Trailblazer of the Year – Village of Cassopolis
  • Best New Business of the Year – Divine Dough Co. in Edwardsburg & Kitchen Tribes in South Haven

Six municipalities and businesses were recognized as Torchbearer Investors for their support for a better economic future and their investment in Market Van Buren. These investors include EQ United, GrayMatter, Ranger Power or Steelhead Solar LLC, Special-Lite, the Village of Cassopolis, and the Village of Edwardsburg.

“Cass and Van Buren counties have businesses and municipalities with incredible accomplishments that should be recognized for their outstanding contributions to growing the future of our communities. We were pleased to celebrate these five organizations as they stood out among their peers and embody the principles essential for a strong local economy,” said Zach Morris, Executive Director of Market Van Buren, in a press release posted online.

Photography by Scott Rose.