Chamber announces award winners with Takeform named ‘Business of the Year’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Takeform in Medina made the letters along the edge of Medina’s Rotary Park with Christmas messages during last year's holiday season. The company has been adding employees, putting on additions and contributing to the community.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2021 at 12:01 pm

The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce has announced its annual award winners with Takeform in Medina to receive the Business of the Year during a banquet on Oct. 21 at the White Birch in Lyndonville.

Takeform has been expanding in recent years and currently has about 200 employees. The company on Maple Ridge Road in Medina stresses community service for its employees and strives to take care of its employees, said Darlene Hartway, Chamber executive director.

Takeform also adapted quickly during the Covid-19 pandemic and assisted many businesses with signage and partitions to meet state regulations for keeping businesses open to the public. The company retooled to offer floor markers, protective shields, sanitizer/PPE stations and other products during the pandemic.

Takeform has been an active participant in Medina’s Parade of Lights, either by building elaborate floats or helping to dress up Rotary Park in the holiday spirit.

Many Takeform employees also join in the United Way’s Day of Caring, Hartway said.

Other Chamber award winners include:

Lifetime achievement: Lance Mark – The Medina attorney has been a long-time supporter of the Chamber, serving on numerous committees and as a sponsor of events. He also has served on other community boards, including Orleans Community health (Medina Memorial Hospital).

Jim Nowaczewski opened HeBrews 5:9 in Albion late November and last week opened a second HeBrews shop in Medina.

New Business of the Year: HeBrews 5:9 – Jim Nowaczewski opened the coffee shop in Albion on Nov. 28. The response exceeded his expectations so much that he opened a second location in Medina last week.

Nowaczewski offers more than coffee and baked goods. He takes prayer requests and encourages people to write those down on a “Prayer Wall.” He offers a space for people to socialize.

“He is more community minded than coffee minded,” Hartway said. “It’s a place to meet in the downtown. He treats people well and sets an example.”

Small Business of the Year: The Lockstone – Natasha Wasuck and her husband John Hernandez have turned a former auto repair site on North Main Street into an ice cream shop called Tinsel and a wedding and events venue, The Lockstone.

The couple also added outdoor space during the pandemic for weddings. The building also includes “The Kitchen,” a private event room used for celebrations and community meetings.

“They’ve done a great revamping that facility,” Hartway said. “They adapted to Covid regulations and added outdoor space.”

Community Service Award: Oak Orchard Health – The health care center has added sites and staff in recent years, expanding next door to its Albion location, acquiring a former doctor’s office in Lyndonville, and offering services with the Orleans County Mental Health Department.

Oak Orchard provides many services to farmworkers, but its mission is to serve the entire community. During the pandemic it has offered Covid testing and vaccines.

Rob and Rachel Kaiser have turned the Wildwood KOA into a big destination for Orleans County. They are shown with a fire truck they keep at the campground. They give kids rides on the fire truck and host a fire truck parade with many local fire departments participating.

Hidden Gem: The Wildwood KOA – The campground in Ridgeway has had its busiest years during the pandemic with more people looking for getaways without travelling too far.

Rob and Rachel Kaiser have owned the campground north of Ridge Road on Countyline Road for 18 years. They have nearly 350 sites at the campground and have two heated swimming pools, a jumping pillow, game room, on-site winery, peddle boats, a water slide and lots of other activities. On many days there are 1,300 or more people on site.

“It’s good family bonding here,” Mr. Kaiser said. “We create memories.”

Business Person of the Year: Robert Batt – The executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension was able to pull off a very successful Orleans County 4-H Fair in late July, despite shifting regulations and uncertainty due to the Covid pandemic.

He also welcomed other events to the fairgrounds, and used the space for frequent food distributions and Covid testing clinics.

The Bent’s Opera House has been given a stunning new look and restoration at one of Medina’s most dominant structures on Main Street.

Phoenix Award: Bent’s Opera House – Roger Hungerford and Talis Equity worked for three years to restore the Bent’s Opera House, a long dormant structure on Main Street. The site reopened in June with a farm-to-table Harvest Restaurant on the first floor. Bent’s also has boutique hotel rooms on the second floor and an events center on the third floor with a stage.

The building was constructed in 1864-1865, opening during the Civil War. It is one of the oldest surviving opera houses in the United States.

“They took an old building and redid it,” Hartway said. “They’ve done a great job. It’s a nice asset for our county to have something of that level.”

Lora Partyka is pictured with her sons, Steve and Scott, in this photo from August 2014. The sons are partners in the business with their mother and father, Jeff.

Agricultural Business of the Year: Partyka Farms – The Partyka family runs a fruit farm, farm market, restaurant and gift shop. The family sponsors numerous events in the Kendall community. They have been a mainstay in the Kendall community.

2 special recognition awards: The Chamber will also recognize Ken DeRoller and John DeFilipps, two Orleans County legislators who are retiring on Dec. 31. Both have been very engaged elected officials, pushing along projects in the county and being effective advocates for the community.