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Pacific Lutheran University

PLU Family Enterprise Institute


Washington Family Business of the Year Awards

Previous Winners - 2003

New Business
Cozza Optical, Inc. of Spokane
Eestablished in 1996 by Samuel and Barbara Cozza. They strive to provide the best service in the Inland Northwest and are the only Spokane independently owned optical outlet to have the ability to sell, grind, edge, and dispense eyewear to the public. Cozza Optical has led the way in the optical retail business trend back to the independent practitioner who delivers with excellent service.

Small Business
Deeny Construction Company, Inc. of Seattle
They have been in business since 1938 when John Deeny launched the new firm armed with great determination and six picks and six shovels in the back of a 1934 Chevrolet panel truck. Now in its third generation, it is run by Jon Deeny who says his father Terry created and implemented a textbook succession plan. The firm has won many local and national safety awards. In 1999, Terry served as national president of the Association of General Contractors.

The Revere Group of Seattle
In its third generation and is owned by Mark and Sally Revere. Building on a tradition begun in 1938, the firm specializes in packaging and labels. The Revere Group employs approximately 50 people in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and includes Glerup-Revere Packaging, Union Bay Label, and the newly acquired Mimi et Cie designer packaging. Their mission is to forge lasting partnerships of mutual benefit and profitability with suppliers, customers, and employees.


Medium Business
Canlis Restaurant
Founded in 1950 by Peter Canlis with the intent of being the most beautiful restaurant Seattle has ever seen. With a stunning hillside location, and a magnificent view of Lake Union, the renowned fine-dining restaurant is now run by Chris and Alice Canlis with the third generation also coming onboard. Chris and Alice comment: “Like us, Canlis is steady, trustworthy, and honest. Yet like us, it carries a sense of adventure, romance, and fun.”

Large Business
R.D. Merrill Company & Merrill Gardens of Seattle
Founded by Richard Dwight (R.D.) Merrill, a timber pioneer and family man. He had a vision to build a business that would last for generations. In the 1890s, he established enterprises that survive today in 60,000 acres of productive timberland in three countries. Today, Charles B. Wright is the fourth generation Merrill to run the business. In 1983, in the family’s spirit of entrepreneurial and forward thinking, he launched a diversification into the retirement community business. They now operate 66 communities in 14 states and are the fifth largest owner/operator of senior housing in the U.S.

Heritage Business
The McGregor Company of Colfax
An outgrowth of a family agricultural operation that traces its roots to 1882 when two brothers, Archie and Peter McGregor, came to the Inland Northwest. Today the firm employs over 300 people in 42 locations providing fertilizer, crop protection products, seed, agricultural services, technology and service to Inland Northwest farm families. “Team McGregor” believes in building and changing with the times and taking a long-term perspective. The McGregor Company has pioneered research and development, and places a high priority upon environmental excellence.