• 2021 Small Business of the Year Winner


    CHAMPAIGN, IL (October 22, 2021) —The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce announces Papa Del's Pizza as the 2021 Small Business of the Year winner. Papa Del's owner, Robert Monti, was presented the coveted award at the 2021 Chamber Annual Meeting held at Flightstar in Savoy on October 21.

    The Small Business of the Year Award is given to an outstanding small business with significant contributions to the local community and economy. The award recognizes a successful, growing company that has achieved its status through ingenuity and hard work. The Chamber has been honoring local businesses with this award for 29 years.

    Papa Del's has been in business since 1970. They have bought and rejuvenated two local buildings that are 100+ years old. Their current location, the Coca-Cola building in Champaign, is now considered an official landmark by the city of Champaign. The renovation of both buildings has improved the neighborhoods where they are located. In recognition of their work to restore the Coca-Cola building, Papa Del's received the Heritage Award from the Preservation and Conservation Association (PACA).

    Like their restaurant peers, the business took a financial hit with COVID-19 mitigations. However, they were able to pivot and grow their frozen food business by almost 58 percent over the last year. In addition, they actively donate 10 to 30 pizzas a week to the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen and other local organizations.

    The food industry can tend to produce much waste, but at Papa Del's, they focus on being environmentally friendly by recycling everything they can — plastic, cans, aluminum and cardboard.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused hiring challenges for businesses across all industries. Despite these challenges, they have maintained 50-80 employees depending on the time of year. They often work with Developmental Services Center to help people find jobs.

    Over the years, Papa Del's has received countless awards for their pizza including: Chambana Mom's Best Pizza in Champaign-Urbana, Visit Champaign County Best Pizza Road Trip Round Up, Daily Illini Best of CU, USA Today 10 Best Chicago Style Pizzas, Smile Politely and Illinois Office of Tourism Delicious Destination, 2019 People's Choice Award (News-Gazette). They have also been featured on Chicago's best, Big Ten Network and Campus Eats: Big Ten Edition.

    For additional information, visit the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce website at www.champaigncounty.org.

    The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce is a member-focused business association that facilitates business growth and improves the quality of life while building an economically thriving community. The Chamber represents the interests of nearly 1,000 local businesses, employing over 59,000 workers. More information is available at www.champaigncounty.org.