Summer Auerbach with her father, Rob Auerbach | Courtesy of Rainbow Blossom
Summer Auerbach with her father, Rob Auerbach | Courtesy of Rainbow Blossom

Summer Auerbach, owner of Rainbow Blossom Natural Foods Market, was named large-business owner of the year by the Louisville chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).

Auerbach has led the business since 2004, when she returned to Louisville because her father, who had founded the business with her mother, fell ill. Under Auerbach’s leadership, the chain has expanded to five stores and has received significant acclaim in the community and the natural foods industry.

Auerbach told the audience of about 300 at the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center Thursday evening that the recognition meant a lot. She extended a special “thank you” to her father, who, after recovering from his illness, encouraged his daughter to continue running the business because she showed so much passion for it.

NAWBO Epic 2016NAWBO, which supports and encourages women entrepreneurs, also presented the following EPIC awards Thursday:

  • Small Business Owner of the Year: Dr. Stacie Grossfeld, owner of Orthopaedic Specialists.
  • Humanitarian Award: Pamela Fulton Broadus, president and CEO of Splendid Events, a meeting and event planning business. The award recognizes community involvement.
  • Phoenix Award: Raquel Koff, president of Rodeo Drive, an upscale fashion boutique. The award recognizes a business that has struggled and recovered.
  • Associate Owner Award: Kayla Mount, co-founder and COO of SuperFanU, a fan loyalty and engagement company. The award recognizes a businesswoman who is not the majority owner.
  • Supporting Partner Award: Jesika Young, VP and business banking officer at U.S. Bank.

Denise Jerome, president of NAWBO’s Louisville chapter, told the audience that the local chapter is the 7th-largest among 60 nationwide, and that the organization was working on increasing its footprint in Kentucky. Details about the expansion are expected to be announced next month.

The local chapter has launched an initiative to help women business owners at all stages of their business development. Learn more about NAWBO Grow here.

The organization had made “innovation” the banquet’s theme; featured speaker Heather Howell — innovation director at Brown-Forman Corp. and former CEO of Rooibee Red Tea — said that challenging the norms, asking questions and taking risks are critical to success.

Howell congratulated the 12 EPIC award finalists for achieving outstanding business success while improving their communities in their roles as volunteers, mothers, mentors and role models.

Click here for a full list of this year’s nominees.

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Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.