The Theodore Winters Award is a special honor given to someone who’s made a positive impact in town in a relatively short amount of time. For 2022, this selfless distinction belongs to Carla Wroten.
Born and raised just down the 505 in Vacaville, Wroten moved to Winters about a decade ago. Although she still runs her family’s business, CAL INC, full-time in Vacaville, Wroten yearned to do more for Winters. When an opportunity to take over Steady Eddy’s Coffee Shop presented itself, she and her husband Jamell (Mel) Wroten jumped at it.
While most would consider running two businesses a ‘full plate,’ it wasn’t enough to satiate Wroten’s ambition to improve town. That’s why she poured more of her time and effort into facilitating events like the Albariño Festival, Harvest Festival, Tractor Parade, Coffee Fest, Hot Cocoa Crawl, assisting with the marketing of Discover Winters and became the Secretary of the Winters Downtown Business Association. Whether or not she has a clone walking around to accomplish all this, on top of being a mother of three remains a mystery.
Her aforementioned efforts have not only benefitted the town but are also the reasons she’s been nominated for this award.
“This is just an honor to be recognized by my peers who I work with and work for. My role in the community is communication downtown and I’m the secretary on the board of the Winters DBA,” said Wroten. “My passion is to help other small business owners find more value when we work together to create that destination spot for Winters. On your own, it’s one way, but when you work with others that are like-minded it’s pretty powerful.”
Wroten said she works closely with Delaney Holden of Holden Events to facilitate some of the amazing, downtown experiences that have been popping up in the wake of the pandemic.
From the outside looking in, Wroten has more than enough responsibilities than most could handle. However, the hours of dedication she puts into the community aren’t just her way of giving back, it’s simply part of how she was raised. Wroten credited the award as a homage to her parents and family.
“I think this award feels extra special because it’s really a reflection of the way my parents raised us. My dad is the president of the Vacaville Boys and Girls Club, my older sister got Volunteer of the Year in 2022 and my mom is really involved with the American Cancer Society,” said Wroten. “So, these are the people I’ve looked up to in my life, and for me — when I say I go back and forth between two jobs — I see Steady Eddy’s as my passion project, and my involvement downtown is a result that I really want the best downtown possible for my kids and myself to enjoy.”
Beyond donating hours upon hours of her time, Wroten also donates dollars upon dollars to support the community. To date, Steady Eddy’s has sponsored the annual Winters PTA Poetry Jam/Slam, high school sports teams, the Winters PTA, Little League, the Boys and Girls Club, Soroptimist as well as other organizations back in Vacaville, too.
Wroten said her children are a big inspiration to do and donate so much and want to help build a strong community with thriving youth programs to take part in. After giving so much, what Wroten’s gotten in return is worth more than money could buy.
“Getting so involved has given me purpose. It’s given me inspiration and really made me love our city. I have a love for the town of Winters and I think coming from a much bigger town, it’s made me realize that the town of Winters is still at a point and time where one person can make a huge impact in town. You see the impact immediately when you get involved and that part has really given me a purpose to be part of something bigger than me,” said Wroten. “But I’m able to do all that because I have strong support at home from my husband. He makes it possible for us to dream big. He takes care of so many things around the house with our family and business.”
Wroten will formally be honored as the 2022 Theodore Winters Award recipient at the annual Toast to Winters event, planned for Friday, March 31 at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Sacramento–Winters. Tickets are $90 per person and must be purchased in advance at the Winters District Chamber of Commerce’s website www.winterschamber.com.