Chamber honors businesses, dedicated residents for bettering community
LYNDONVILLE – The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce presented its an annual to business owners and residents who have stepped up in big ways to improve the community.
Mariachi De Oro won the award for Business of the Year. The Rosario family opened the Mexican restaurant on Maple Ridge Road six years ago and has expanded the building, adding a bar and bathrooms. The Rosarios also put in an outdoor patio, expanded the parking lot and continue to tweak the menu. The restaurant draws many out-of-towners to Medina for authentic Mexican food and culture.
Leonel Rosario, co-owner of Mariachi and the head cook and manager, thanked Mariachi’s customers for embracing the restaurant.
“Thank you for letting us be part of the community,” Rosario told about 150 people at the annual awards dinner at the White Birch Golf Course. “Thank you for loving our food.”
He also thanked his wife Dolores for her dedication to Mariachi and his mother Lucha for her support and sacrifice in raising her 12 children.
Rosario said the village officials, including Code Enforcement Officer Marty Busch, have been helpful as the Rosarios worked to upgrade the property and overcome potential setbacks through the years.
Seeing customers have a good experience at Mariachi has been the biggest encouragement, Rosario said. “That fills my heart with more energy and passion,” he said.
Other award winners include:
Lifetime Achievement: Bruce Landis
The Albion photographer has been working locally since 1974. He has won numerous state, national and international awards, and is a past president of the Albion Rotary Club and Greater Rochester Professional Photographers. Gabrielle Barone, last year’s lifetime achievement winner, said Landis has distinguished himself with his professional career and community service.
Landis thanked his parents for instilling in him a work ethic, and for teaching him how to fix things and work with his hands. His brother also helped him set up his first darkroom, and launched Landis’s passion for pictures.
Landis also thanked his wife, Sue, and his family for their sacrifices while he often worked on weekends and weeknights.
Agricultural Business of the Year: Kludt Farms in Kendall
Kludt Brothers Farm has shown the family and its employees work hard, take initiative and give back to the community the past century, said Robin Root, a Barre farmer and co-owner of the Root Brothers Farm.
Kludt Brothers has embraced new technology and updated field practices and production steps. The farm has been a backbone of the Kendall community for many years.
“They are a great family known for helping everyone in their community,” Root said.
Rudy Kludt said the farm works well together.
“We all put our heads together and we try,” he said.
Small Business of the Year: Canalside Tattoo in Medina
The Chamber recognized Shawn Ramsey for the growth in his business and for renovating the former Curvin’s News on Main Street.
Ramsey, 41, took a chance on his hometown in 2015. After two decades in Pittsburgh, he came home to open Canalside Tattoo Company on East Center Street. It proved popular. In March, he moved to a bigger location at the former Curvin’s News.
Ramsey said he went to Curvin’s as a kid to buy comic books. Reading those helped inspire a love of art.
Moving to Curvin’s increased Canalside Tattoo’s space from 750 to 2,500 square feet. Ramsey also added two tattoo artists: Tyler Vercruysse and Joshua Schutrum.
Ramsey has a degree from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He started his career with a sign company and then worked in web design and software development. For the past 12 years, he has also been a tattoo artist.
Tattoos have become more accepted by society. He works with customers who want tattoos to celebrate the birth of a child and other milestones. Many customers also are deep in grief and want a tattoo to honor a loved one.
“Our customers literally trust us with their bodies,” he said.
Business Person of the Year – Deborah London (Bloom’s Florist) in Albion
Debbie London has kept Bloom’s Flower Shop going despite a disruptive road reconstruction on Main Street about a decade ago, the emergence of Walmart and Tops in Albion, the recession in 2008-09, and other challenges.
She has adapted to the changing marketplace, selling more flowers through her web site. London said customer service has stayed a priority for Bloom’s, which is now in its 82nd year. She is the fourth owner.
She was working in the banking industry when her job was eliminated about 17 1/2 years ago. She was friends with Gary and Lorraine Oakley. They were looking for a buyer for Bloom’s and London decided to go for it.
“When one door closes, another opens,” she said.
She does the bookkeeping and payroll for Bloom’s, and also for her husband Brian’s two businesses. Brian is an electrician and also a fly fishing guide.
Phoenix Award: Fitzgibbons in Medina
It took eight years of painstaking renovations at the former Silver Dollar before Fitzgibbons Public House opened in January. The site has become a destination, a world-class place with an awesome atmosphere, the Chamber said.
Amy Cifelli and her husband Kevin bought the badly deteriorated site about a decade ago. They gutted and strengthened the building but didn’t want it to feel “new.” Mr. Cifelli, a software engineer, also is a woodworking artist and created the railings and other pieces that adorn the interior.
Tony McMurtie, owner of The Pillars in Albion, joined the effort and helped develop the Celtic menu with its range of beers.
Cifelli said she and her husband initially wanted to open a place where people could get “a beer and a burger.” Fitzgibbon’s became much more than that.
New Business of the Year: Orleans Millworks in Kendall
Karl Driesel last year opened Orleans Millworks in his hometown. Driesel had a woodworking business since 2009. He was working out of his home until committing to building a new 5,884-square-foot shop and showroom at 1750 Kendall Rd.
Diesel specializes in moulding. He enjoys taken a rough piece of lumber and turning it into railings, mouldings, hardwood floorings, and other useful purposes.
Driesel wanted the new building to blend in with the town. The building is green and tan, and inside the showroom features many different types of wood species. Driesel works with about 20 different types of wood.
Driesel works with customers mainly between Buffalo and Rochester, serving residential, commercial, and wholesale markets often working directly with homeowners and contractors.
The site in Kendall proved ideally located between the two major markets, and Driesel also wanted to be be close to his house and help his hometown.
Driesel graduated from Morrisville State College, earning degrees in wood products technology and business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship. For three years he was teaching at Morrisville, making a 2 ½-hour trip two to three times a week. He taught in the wood science department and showed students how to make cabinets.
Diesel in 2016 decided to focus solely on his own business. He purchased Medina Millworks from the Graber family – Jerome, Matthew, Stephen and Phillip. That acquisition has boosted Driesel’s business, expanding his customer base and giving him more access to modern woodworking equipment.
“There is a saying, ‘It takes a village or a city to raise a child,'” he told the crowd at the Chamber dinner. “I am the child and I thank you.”
Entrepreneurial Excellence: The Missing Peace in Medina
The Chamber recognized Anna Chichocki, owner of The Missing Peace, for entrepreneurial excellence for demonstrating a unique approach to business that has resulted in a strategic advantage in her business. Chichocki developed a team with many wellness programs under one roof.
Cichocki sells non-toxic personal care products at 510 Orient St., in a former Medina sandstone warehouse. The building has been repainted and decorated to facilitate feelings of calmness.
She wanted The Missing Peace to offer more holistic wellness options for the community and reached out to people with other skills and services.
Cichocki sells soy-scented candles, Shakeology by Beachbody (nutrition supplements), Richway BioMats, and Pure Haven Essentials – safe, non-toxic personal care products. She also does astrology card readings.
Sharon Houseknecht has been working in holistic health for three decades. She does nutritional consultations, Reiki, ear coning, foot spa detoxifications and energy balances. She also offers smoking cessation services to help people with their addiction to nicotine. She is certified as a natural health professional, Reiki master and as a herbalist.
Beth Joy is a personal trainer who runs pilates and PiYo classes. She offers nutrition advice and leads fitness classes. She is a personal trainer and Beachbody coach.
Katie Crooks is a licensed massage therapist who offers Swedish massage, medical massage, pregnancy massage, hot stone massage, and Young Living Essential Oils.
Cichocki became more interested in natural health after her youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism. Cichcocki said her daughter responded to a modified diet with a focus on healthy foods. Cleansing and detoxing, which removed heavy metals from her body, also have helped her daughter.
Community Service Award: Warren Kruger, Kendall Highway Superintendent
Warren Kruger has served as Kendall’s highway superintendent the past 28 years. He has put in miles and miles of drainage, waterline and paved numbers roads.
When Lake Ontario flooding many residents backyards and homes beginning in April, Kruger organized a sand bag distribution effort to help residents preserve their property.
Kruger also plays important roles in the town’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the scarecrow festival and Homegrown Days.
He plays in the Kendall Community Band and drives a classic car in the Kendall Firemen’s Carnival Parade.
Kruger thanked the highway employees for their dedication to the job. The employees and Kendall residents “are like extended family,” he said.
Community Service Award: Jackie Mowers-Sciarabba, Geneses-Orleans Ministry of Concern
Jackie Mowers-Sciarabba has played a critical role assisting many families facing shut-off notices and other emergencies in her role as a client advocate for the Geneses-Orleans Ministry of Concern.
She also manages the Just Friends E-3 youth mentoring program.
The Chamber wants to recognize individuals and organizations that “improve the fabric of the community” and Mowers-Sciarabba certainly has done that in her role with the Ministry of Concern, said Adam Tabelski, a board member for the Chamber.