BBB Torch Awards


BBB Serving New Hampshire announced the winners of the 17th annual Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics at BBB’s annual celebration on June 14. The Torch Award was created to honor businesses that demonstrate their commitment to trust and marketplace ethics. This award embodies BBB’s mission to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust and is presented to for-profit businesses that strive to go above and beyond in their dealings with customers, employees, vendors, and the community. BBB received dozens of entries from various industries.

BBB Serving New Hampshire is proud to announce the winners of the 2017 Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics:

From left to right: Howard Brodsky, BBB Board Chair, Buddy Phaneuf, President of Phaneuf Funeral Homes, Mel Burton, Guest Relations Manager at CruCon Cruise Outlet, Kristen Madden, Vice President and COO at Financial Focus, Inc. and Robert Shomphe, BBB President/CEO


Small Category (1-10 Employees): Financial Focus, Inc.

Financial Focus, Inc. offers comprehensive financial planning and believes that both client and staff education should be a key focus within their business. Every year, each staff member sets an educational goal in addition to their continuing education requirements for their different credentials. Financial Focus offers pro-bono asset management and financial planning services to small non-profit organizations so they can focus on the mission of their organizations. President & CEO, Susan MacMichael John sits on the Board of the Visiting Nurse Association as well as the CFP Board. Financial Focus staff members participate in the community as well, with memberships such as the Estate Planning Council and Toastmasters International for New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Canadian Maritimes, Kingswood Regional High School Booster Club Secretary, and they support LIFE Ministries Food Pantry with an annual fundraiser during the holidays and a donation link on their website.


Medium Category (11-49 Employees): Phaneuf Funeral Homes

Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium has been serving New Hampshire families in their time of need for more than 110 years. They are a fourth-generation family business built on integrity and ethics. Phaneuf has built a specific process around communicating with their customers called the "Voice of the Customer." They analyze all feedback from customers and any negative feedback received is sent directly to the company's President for follow up. They will then research to determine 1.) How it happened, 2.) How it can be resolved, and 3.) How it can be prevented in the future. Phaneuf has created a non-profit program called Social Services Program, which offers impoverished and underserved families in the community access to dignified end-of-life services. They also participate in programs surrounding the heroin epidemic and help family members who have lost loved ones to the epidemic to find financial assistance to cover services or find low-cost options for manageable payments. They support 12+ hospice organizations, The Easter Seals, 15+ churches, The Knights of Columbus, the Historical Society and more. 


Large Category (50+ Employees): CruCon Cruise Outlet

CruCon Cruise Outlet began in 1995 in CEO/Founder Sandra Cleary's mother's basement. They now employ over 150 employees and are headquartered in Moultonborough, NH. Their office includes a gym with locker rooms, employee relaxation lounges, and a family style kitchen for staff to enjoy complimentary breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared by a full-time chef. Cleary believes, "It's important for companies to realize that your community is what defines your business. Even if your market is elsewhere, you still have to care for your employees and members of the community who could be your employees of tomorrow." Giving back to employees is not the only way Sandra Cleary has helped impact those around her. CruCon has donated $100,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Laconia for refurbishment, they have sponsored numerous fundraisers for organizations such as CASA NH, Lakes Region Children's Auction and have donated $50,0000 to Sandwich Children's Center for renovations, given financial support to Children's Cancer Caring Center, and recently hosted an emergency blood drive for the NH Red Cross.

"Torch Awards winners demonstrate the highest ethical standards of trust toward customers, employees and the communities in which they do business," said Robert Shomphe, President and CEO of BBB Serving New Hampshire. “We are proud to present this prestigious award to these deserving businesses.”

Each business submitted an application that illustrated its commitment to ethics and community leadership. They were judged by an independent panel of judges. Judging criteria included leadership, commitment to ethical practices, communication, performance management practices, human resource practices and commitment to the community.BBB also recognized finalists in each of the size categories. Small finalists: Wheelchair Escapes and IndoorDoctor, LLC. Medium Finalists: Belknap Dental Associates, Blackdog Build/Design/Remodel. Large Finalists: Palmer Gas and Oil, Single Digits, Inc. 

BBB also recognized finalists in each of the size categories. Small finalists: Wheelchair Escapes and IndoorDoctor, LLC. Medium Finalists: Belknap Dental Associates and Blackdog Build/Design/Remodel. Large Finalists: Palmer Gas and Oil and Single Digits, Inc. 

In conjunction with the Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics, BBB recognized the five recipients of BBB's Student Ethics Scholarship. Each recipient will receive $2,000 to help further their education at a four-year college/university. The 2017 scholarship recipients include: Adam Clark, University of Southern Maine; Emily Choate, Dartmouth College; Ava Rohacek, University of New Hampshire; Jeffrey Simpson, Ave Maria University; and Kristopher Hewes, Wentworth Institute of Technology. 


What are the “BBB Torch Awards?

The mission of your BBB is to promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between businesses and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence. In this spirit, your BBB conducts an annual awards program to gain public recognition for businesses and organizations that maintain a solid commitment to conducting their business practices in an ethical fashion. Each year, three companies of different sizes are selected to receive a Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

The Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics is designed to promote the importance of ethical business practices and the willingness and efforts made by outstanding businesses to ensure that our marketplace remains fair and honorable. Every winner and finalist of a BBB Torch Award has an unprecedented opportunity for public recognition and well-deserved visibility.