The city of St. Paul celebrated its inaugural business awards program this week, an effort to recognize and build relationships with local business owners.

Some of those relationships have frayed as the city has instituted workplace regulations. City Council members have been trying to combat the idea that the city is difficult to work with through a new "Open for Business" initiative, launching the awards program as part of that effort.

"Part of building the strongest possible business climate in St. Paul is recognizing the amazing work already being done," said Council Member Rebecca Noecker.

Council members on Wednesday named the businesses that got awards in eight categories, including "large businesses excellence" for Securian Financial Group and "small business excellence," which went to Kamp's Food Market.

El Burrito Mercado was chosen as the business that showed excellence in almost all categories, and the restaurant Tongue in Cheek won the "New Kid on the Block" award.

Community members nominated businesses, and a committee of neighborhood and business association members chose the recipients.