Each year, the Nipomo Chamber of Commerce honors community members whose contributions help make the town a better place to live.

This year, the chamber named Pete Olsen and Vons, which he manages, the businessman and business of the year, Robbie Beedle the youth of the year and Jack and Kimmie Kinnebrew the citizens of the year and.

Here/s a look at the winners:

Pete Olsen, Businessman of the Year; Nipomo Vons, Business of the Year

Since the Nipomo Vons opened in September 2000, manager Pete Olsen has made it his personal goal to keep the customers and employees happy, and it/s that effort that has made the grocery store so successful.

&#8220We/re just thrilled with the community support because ever since we/ve opened, this store has exceeded sales and service in all types of measures that our company has,C Olsen said.

The 50-year-old San Luis Obispo resident has managed various Vons stores across San Luis Obispo County but said he loves Nipomo/s rural character and &#8220the fact that so many people are glad to have us here.C

Olsen and the Nipomo Vons were chosen unanimously by the chamber board, said incoming chamber President Cathy Cachu.

&#8220Ever since Vons has come into the community, they/ve been a part of the community and donated their time,C she said. &#8220Pete has always contributed, whether it/s monetarily or goods, to other organizations throughout the community.C

Olsen said the Nipomo Vons has supported the chamber and made donations to nonprofit organizations, churches and civic activities over the years.

&#8220It/s a nice honor; I didn/t expect it,C Olsen said.

As a manager, Olsen said, his motto is to be a people person first and businessman second and to make the store a good place to work and shop for the entire community.

&#8220I/ve always gone by that,C he said. &#8220If you treat people right, they will be happier and produce for you.C

Robbie Beedle, Youth of the Year

For 18-year-old Robbie Beedle, helping people is just in his genes.

&#8220I feel as it/s my duty as a human being to help other human beings,C he said.

Although he expressed surprise at winning this year/s Youth of the Year Award from the chamber, Beedle is involved in a volunteer group at Nipomo High School, holds the rank of Eagle Scout and plays numerous sports.

The NHS Interact Club is designed to perform community service projects, which can include anything from picking up trash to setting up food drives, Beedle said.

Throughout his high school career, Beedle has competed in cross country, track, football and volleyball.

While he/s unsure where he/s going to college next fall, he is looking at several University of California schools and Cal State Long Beach.

Beedle said he hopes to pursue a career in the film industry to use his artistic talents.

Cachu said Beedle was chosen for the award from several nominations derived from the counselors at Nipomo High School.

A small committee of chamber members interviewed the students and selected Beedle, she said.

&#8220He is an extraordinary young gentleman,C she said. &#8220… He has a community mindset, where things that he does on his time are centered around the community. He/s very well-rounded.C

Beedle said he/s &#8220gained a lot of self-respectC since he found out he was the recipient of this year/s award 7 especially in light of the passing of his father in late December.

&#8220I think I/ve overcome a lot, and I think I/m a stronger person now,C he said.

Cachu said Beedle will receive a college scholarship and plaque at the chamber/s recognition dinner set for Jan. 13.

Jack and Kimmie Kinnebrew, Citizens of the Year

Married for 57 years, Jack and Kimmie Kinnebrew are happy that retirement gives them time to donate to others, especially to their main focus 7 the Nipomo Senior Center.

The couple has lived in Nipomo since 1985 and has been active with the center almost since the day they arrived. They each work at the center one day a week, and Jack, 83, spends time building things the seniors need, such as a cabinet to hold pool cues.

&#8220I was absolutely thunderstruck when I found out we had won,C said Kimmie, 76. &#8220I was so surprised.C

Jack shared his wife/s surprise when he found out and said he didn/t believe she had heard the people on the phone correctly, because he thought they couldn/t possibly have won.

&#8220I thought she was mistaken, so I called Cathy (Cachu) and she confirmed it all,C he said. &#8220So then I thought it must be legitimate.C

Family friends nominated the couple because the Kinnebrews have helped care for them, as they are both dealing with illnesses, Kimmie said.

Beyond his work at the Senior Center, Jack is also heavily involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Nipomo chapter and has served on what at that time was called the Nipomo Area Advisory Council.

The couple has two children together who live in Santa Maria, and Jack has a daughter from a previous marriage who lives out of state.

Randi Block can be reached at 347-4580 or rblock@santamariatimes.com.

Jan. 7, 2007

Outbrain