SOUTHINGTON - Those who attended the Southington Chamber of Commerceâ€™s â€™90s themed 81st annual dinner came dressed in â€śradicalâ€ť attire to honor some â€śrighteousâ€ť volunteers and members of the business community.
Bright colors, denim jackets and overalls and flannel shirts could be seen between people wearing suits at several tables as town leaders and members of the business community gathered to celebrate their outstanding peers. Hits of the â€™90s played as they filtered in and took their seats, where they found glow-stick bracelets to snap on.
Taylor Crofton, executive director of the Southington Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the guests and award winners. She encouraged all those who put the night together to stand and be applauded and thanked the eventâ€™s sponsors.
The Riccio Brothers Business Person of the Year Award, which goes to an outstanding business person who has demonstrated a sound commitment to the community as an owner or volunteer, was presented to James Garstang of Six Point Wealth Advisors. A long-time member of the Chamberâ€™s economic development committee, he was also a past chair of the Board of Directors.
â€śItâ€™s an honor to be recognized in the community,â€ť he said. â€śI feel the Chamber has been so successful over the years because it is small businesses supporting small businesses and doing business with our neighbors. We get leverage by doing business with local providers.â€ť
The 2019 Employee of the Year award recipient was Missy Cipriano of Bread for Life. This award is presented to an individual who exemplifies the ethics and spirit of Southington. Cipriano was nominated by the Board of Bread for Life for her work behind the scenes at the nonprofit.
â€śBeing honored tonight feels a bit overwhelming,â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™m just glad that myself and the others are being recognized for their efforts.â€ť
Cipriano said she is the director of operations and client services director at Bread for Life. She assists with daily operations and ensures that applications for assistance are addressed.
The Gail DePaolo Community Spirit Award is presented to a person, group of persons or organization who has succeeded in bringing together a diversity of people for the good of a common cause. Dave Pestillo of Emendee Technologies, a past Chamber president, took the award home.
â€śIt had been a great nine years with the Chamber,â€ť said Pestillo. â€śIt has definitely been well worth it. Iâ€™ve made a lot of friends and a lot of business contacts and even though Iâ€™m getting ready to move to Tennessee, Iâ€™ll still come back for events. Itâ€™s a great town, just cold weather.â€ť
The Chamber Woman of the Year award was given to Anneliese Dadras of Bradley Mountain Farms, who frequently appears along with her goats at community events. She was also recognized for restoring the historic Ichabod Bradley House on the farm property. Dadras brought two goats along to the dinner with her and a goat farm staff member. They were soon surrounded by people eager to pet the well-behaved goats, Hope and Kalimba.
â€śItâ€™s great to receive this honor,â€ť said Dadras. â€śA lot of people from the Chamber helped us to get where we are so we like to help them.â€ť
Dadras said some programs she plans to start soon at the farm include â€ścuddle therapyâ€ť and â€śfairy goat mothersâ€ť where participants can pick out a goat for a play-date.
Beautification Awards were also presented to developers or commercial property owners who have constructed new or made upgrades and improvements to building facades in an effort to improve the overall appearance of the community. The following eight local businesses will be honored this year:
n Courtyard by Marriott â€“ For its new building at 1081 West Street.
n Que Whiskey Kitchen â€“ For renovating its building.
n AAA â€“ For constructing a new location in Southington from the ground up.
n Calendar House â€“ For building a new and expanded senior center.
n Board & Brush â€“ For renovating its building.
n 75 Center â€“ For taking over the former Machiavelliâ€™s location.
n Nataz â€“ For interior renovations to its building.
n Chick-fil-A â€“ For building a new building from the ground up.