Every year, the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce recognizes a local business for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and guess who won in 2016 ... ! Bobby Frisch, Co-Founder and CEO of Firelight Camps. The Chamber wrote:
"The Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be given to Bobby Frisch of Firelight Camps. Since being installed in early 2014, the glamp-site has become a regional attraction, and has earned accolades and commendation from numerous sources, including Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, WireMag, Self, and Martha Stewart. In addition, Firelight Camps is setting new business standards founded on eco-friendly practices. The business inherently preserves natural landscapes with off-the-grid tents and a low-input lobby centered around campfires."
The winners are nominated by members of the chamber and the county community, and while I tried my best not to be biased, I had to put my own vote in for my husband, baby daddy, business partner, and one of the most inspiring people I know. Here's what I wrote for my nomination:
"Not only is Firelight Camps purely novel as a national hotel concept, but it has also become a defining destination for Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region. In less than one year of operation, Firelight Camps has welcomed more than 3,000 visitors to its grounds. Robert Frisch's vision and ability to collaborate with community partners like La Tourelle has been an incredible asset to Firelight Camps' creation and the resulting regional attraction. In addition, Firelight Camps is setting new business standards founded on eco-friendly practices. The business inherently preserves natural landscapes with off-the-grid tents and a low-input lobby centered around campfires, while inviting people to explore and appreciate the natural world by sleeping under canvas and embarking on activities like wild foraging hikes. The hotel has employed more than 15 people since inception. Robert's decision to live in and start his business in Ithaca after completing his M.B.A. at Cornell University is another testament to his dedication to the region and the place he calls home. And perhaps more importantly, it reflects Robert's ability to recognize that we live in a cutting-edge place where cutting-edge ideas can take flight locally and make a national impact."
I am so proud of Bobby, and honored to be part of Firelight Camps as it takes flight! Last night, on January 28th, we celebrated along with three other winners at the Chamber Annual Dinner at Ithaca College, just down the street from Firelight Camps.