Leaders of Kent County economic development honored

DOVER— The Kent Economic Partnership, a non-profit economic development organization serving Kent County, recognized outstanding individuals at its annual Economic Development Partner Awards at Dover Downs on Thursday night.

Three awards were presented. The newly opened Inn at Duck Creek in Smyrna got the nod for the Economic Development Trailblazer Award, fueled by building owner Ed Ide and business partners Howard A. Johnson and Donna Ignasz.

Located at 2 through 10 North Main Street, the Inn at Duck Creek had a soft opening on Dec. 30, 2015, and has been open for business since.

The location combined several historical buildings, and allowed the building of six dining rooms seating about 12 to 20 people each, a tavern, a kitchen and office space.

“We are very proud and passionate about this,” Mr. Johnson said. Jobs are being created. It was all a team effort.

“We’re doing everything we can to give back to Smyrna. We invested our time, energy and livelihood there.”

The Edgewell company was the Economic Development Trendsetter Award recipient for “Expansion and new job creation in an existing business,” according to the Partnership.

The Kent Economic Partnership cited Bedford “Buff” Bruno for his work as Edgewell’s Global Fem Care Operations Director for Personal Care.

Dover’s plant will be the only manufacturing site of Fem Care products after the Montreal plant closes in 2017.

First hired by Playtex in 2006, Mr. Bruno moved to Dover in 2008 and took the Fem Care leadership role in 2010.

Edgewell has been a separate company since July 2015 and includes brand names Schick, Edge, Playtex, Stayfree, Carefree, OB, Wet Ones, Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic.

“It’s the most important project for us in the new company,” Mr. Bruno said. “I found working here for eight years that it’s a great place to do business.

“We’re fortunate to have excellent support from the state, city and county. That helps with the great opportunity. We will be adding 250 new jobs.”

Milford Mayor Bryan W. Shupe received the Economic Development Spirit Award for “individual commitment to promoting Kent County,” the Kent Economic Partnership said.

A lifelong Milford resident, Mayor Shupe started “Milford Live,” a hyperlocal community-driven media outlet, and the downtown-based Fur-Baby Boutique & Doggie Daycare with his wife Sherry.

Mayor Shupe is board of directors president of the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club, and is involved with Downtown Milford Inc., Greater Milford Chamber of Commerce, and the Milford School District.

As a city councilman, he was a member of the Economic Development, Infrastructure and Public Works Committees in 2013 and 2014.

“We feel Milford is the next town,” Mayor Shupe said. “We’ve very excited about the new things that’s happening there.

“We’re really looking forward to working with as many partners as possible.

Our philosophy is finding where we could focus money where private money will follow tenfold,” Mayor Shupe added.

“That has worked for us and we’re confident that we will be able to get some traction on that moving forward.”

The evening was concluded with a champagne toast to the award winners and all those who strive to improve Kent County.

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