Top winners at the Bossier Chamber Annual Gala

On Tuesday, February 5, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce honored top business and community leaders as the organization celebrated 71 years of excellence in business. Attendees were invited to “Take Flight” with the Bossier Chamber as they celebrated our region’s growth. What better way to highlight this than by spotlighting an area in Bossier that has seen success in the last year as two East Bank businesses were awarded Business and Small Business of the Year – Red River Chevrolet and Flying Heart Brewing and Pub – along with Isaac Palmer, CEO of CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System, taking home the 2018 Business Person of the Year.

The Chamber hosted more than 500 business professionals at the CenturyLink Center for the area’s largest networking event, sponsored by the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation. Outgoing Chairman of the Board Dana Smelser of CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health passed the reins to incoming Chairman of the Board Patrick Gullatt of Barksdale Federal Credit Union. The Bossier Chamber of Commerce also installed its 2019 Board of Directors.

Isaac Palmer was named the Bossier Chamber’s 2018 Business Person of the Year for his work with CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System as their Chief Executive Officer. He led the charge when it came to opening the CHRISTUS Bossier Emergency Hospital in 2018. Palmer helped provide the people of Bossier with high quality health care for a low cost.
Red River Motor Company was named the Bossier Chamber’s 2018 Business of the Year for anchoring the East Bank District and enduring traffic issues with Barksdale Boulevard and Traffic Street. They not only remained open during these hard times, but they also improved their sales. Red River continues its legacy since 1922 to serve the community by being active particpants in many charity events.

Flying Heart Brewing & Pub was named the Bossier Chamber’s 2018 Small Business of the Year for their lasting impact on the East Bank District. This business grew along with the East Bank after deciding to expand into a full service restaurant at the beginning of 2018. They expanded their patio and added a beer garden as well. With their tasty pizza and freshly brewed beers, Flying Heart has become a thriving staple in the East Bank District.

2018 Business Person of the Year Nominees
Isaac Palmer, CEO, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System
Jack “Bump” Skaggs, President & CEO, Coordinating and Development Corporation
Tim Wilhite, CFO/General Counsel, Wilhite Electric

2018 Business of the Year Nominees
The Frilly Magnolia Boutique
Red River Motor Company
InstaGraham Events
Pediatric Therapy Partners
Flying Heart Brewing & Pub
Brookshire Grocery Company

ISAAC PALMER, CEO, CHRISTUS SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER HEALTH SYSTEM: With almost 20 years of experience in hospitals, Isaac Palmer has brought his expertise to the CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health system as the Chief Executive Officer since 2014. Palmer has a passion for providing patients with high quality health care for a low cost. His leadership motto is “first be human, and then be a leader.”

In 2018, under Palmer’s direction, the health system successfully opened the CHRISTUS Bossier Emergency Hospital which followed the opening of the West Wing at the CHRISTUS Highland Medical Center, Advanced Heart and Vascular Center, as well as, expanded and enhanced the cardiovascular service line at CHRISTUS.

Palmer was named an Honorary Commander for Barksdale Air Force Base for 2018-19. He participated in Be Bossier’s Like a Boss Facebook Live series and serves on the Boys Scouts of America – Norwella Council.

Prior to his role at CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health, Palmer served as the CEO at Florida Hospital – Alamonte in Orlando, Florida. He and his wife Sybil have three children – Mary, Zac and Will. Palmer is an avid Chicago sports fan and can be found cheering on the Cubs, Bears, Bulls and his favorite, Ohio State. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending quality time with his family, cycling, camping or working on home improvement projects.

RED RIVER MOTOR COMPANY: Still located in its original building since 1922 at 221 Traffic Street, Red River Motor Company is Bossier City’s Chevrolet Dealership. The current family began operations in 1926 under John Sentell’s leadership as Bossier Motor Company until 1931 when the named changed to Red River Motor Company. They boast the largest selection of used automobiles in the Ark-La-Tex. This full-service dealership has an efficient parts department, as well as, well-trained sales and finance professionals.

Despite some traffic issues with Barksdale Boulevard and Traffic Street, Red River has remained open for business and endured these hurdles while also improving their sales—anchoring the new East Bank District. The business currently employs 120 full-time workers. The current dealer, George Fritze was the National Automobile Dealers Association winner of Time Magazines Dealer of the Year in 2009.

As active participants in the community, Red River has provided all of the driver’s education training vehicles for Bossier Parish School Board for more than 50 years. They participate in many charity events including the annual Cancer Society Fund walks, and they’ve been a United Way Pacesetter company for many years.

FLYING HEART BREWING & PUB: Once Flying Heart Brewing & Pub decided to transition from just a production brewery to a brew pub in January 2018, they became the first brewery in the history of Bossier City. Now they are serving up delicious pizza and freshly brewed beers at their restaurant and full-service bar located in the East Bank District. Their new additions include an expanded front patio and beer garden. Flying Heart has quickly become a staple in the East Bank District.

Flying Heart Brewing is owned and operated by two couples who share a love for creative beer, interesting people and Northwest Louisiana. Ben and Elizabeth Pattillo were just learning to brew when they decided to make it a group activity with their new friends, Ben and Leah Hart. Their restaurant has seen tremendous growth within just the last year despite the ongoing construction with the East Bank District. They stuck with the area even through the challenges and are now seeing positive signs of growth including earning best pizza and best new restaurant honors from SB Magazine.

In order to be a part of a greater community, Flying Heart regularly partners with nonprofits in the area. In just the last year they worked with the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Gingerbread House, and many others, hosting events at their location to help bring awareness to the community for each of these organizations.