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Rosewood Services garners Business of the Year award
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Rosewood Services was honored as Great Bend Chamber Business of the Year Saturday. Honored were from left, Sandy Smith, Rosewood Gallery; Patty Halseth, financial coordinator; Vicki Schmitt, senior director; Tammy Hammond, Rosewood founder; Amanda Hammond Fellers, residential services; and Eric Hammond, ranch manager. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

For its business success and long-standing commitment to the community, Rosewood Services earned the title of Business of the Year for 2012.
The award was presented Saturday during the 91st Annual Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Banquet at the Great Bend Convention Center.
Rosewood Services is one of the largest agencies within the state, serving more than 170 individuals with services on a daily basis and bolstering a workforce of 160 employees.
Its cutting-edge programs provide an array of viable work opportunities for client-employees, while producing valued goods and services for the community. In the last four months, Rosewood launched three new ventures that produce jobs for clients and products for the community.
“To know that a business wanting to focus on creating opportunities for people with developmental disabilities is named ‘Business of the Year,’ is pretty special,” said Tammy Hammond, Rosewood founder. “We are proud to be part of this community and to be able to call this area our home.
“Thank you for this award. It is very meaningful to me for many reasons, but mostly because it recognizes the effort and the work from all the dedicated employees who make up Rosewood Services.”
Rosewood Services Inc. opened its doors nearly 15 years ago as a little agency with big dreams.
Founder Tammy Hammond yearned to offer an innovative approach to serving people with developmental disabilities in central Kansas.
Her philosophy — Life is a celebration and those served should have the opportunity to explore options in nurturing and appropriately challenging environments, similar to what each of us enjoys.  It turns out that the sky is the limit for what can be achieved when putting that philosophy into practice.  
Last October, Rosewood opened its Winery at its Ranch in Pawnee Rock, becoming the only winery in the nation to offer employment opportunities to people with developmental disabilities.
Less than three weeks ago, it opened the Rosewood Wine Cellar, selling its wine and other Rosewood products in downtown Great Bend.
And just days ago, the Rosewood Studio opened on north Washington in Great Bend, providing a place where Rosewood’s horsehair pottery, honey soaps and other unique items are produced. The Studio houses Rosewood’s Industrial Kitchen where jellies and other homemade food products are created and packaged for sale in Rosewood’s retail locations.
In spring 2010, Rosewood started producing hothouse tomatoes in its newly built greenhouse. Nowadays, client-employees grow and sell tomatoes year-round, using the greenhouse and a garden to supply a large demand for its all-natural produce.
Rosewood took a major step in advancing client opportunities in May 2001.
That’s when the Furniture Gallery opened in downtown Great Bend, allowing client-employees to assemble and prepare new, solid-wood furniture for retail sales.
A year later, the Ranch began operation and its nationally recognized equine therapy program was implemented. That program has allowed Rosewood clients to compete in rodeos and in horse shows.
In the past two years, 20 medals have been won at the World Horse Show in Tulsa, Okla.
Last August, Rosewood rider Jere McCuthen became a world champion — an improbable event that puts 15 years of business into perspective for Hammond.
“It’s difficult to explain how meaningful and rewarding it is to watch a client achieve one of his dreams and to know that somehow you had a small part in it,” Hammond said. “To watch a young man that most would have picked as ‘Unlikely’ line up, with his father standing by his side, and hear his name called as a world champion — it makes you realize that inside every person is a deep-seated desire for independence.”

Business of the Year criteria
“Business of the Year” is an annual award presented by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce to showcase companies that demonstrate excellence in customer service, growth, and response in positive ways to adversity. Businesses must also show community involvement and demonstrate innovative business practices by improving products, services and programs.