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Chamber Awards Gala: Knead the Dough honored as Ransomville Business of the Year

Mon, Mar 9th 2015 11:00 am
Debbie Parker (owner) with her granddaughter, Elliot and Amanda Parker, Jayne Held, Sarah Woolson and the famous Savannah the Pig.
Debbie Parker (owner) with her granddaughter, Elliot and Amanda Parker, Jayne Held, Sarah Woolson and the famous Savannah the Pig.

Knead the Dough big part of Ransomville community

By Jennifer Pauly


Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce

The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce will host its annual awards gala honoring 10 area individuals and businesses Friday, May 15, at the Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston.

The program includes an evening of live music, a silent auction and hors d'oeuvres, followed by a sit-down dinner and the awards program.

The gala is open to the general public. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, call the chamber office at 716-754-9500.

The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce announced Knead the Dough as the recipient of the Ransomville Business of the Year Award. The Ransomville Business and Professional Association assists the chamber in providing a business nomination that has showed dedication and service to the Ransomville community.

Knead the Dough is more than just a great place to dine; it is a place where you feel like family from the moment you step in the door.

People come from all over the U.S. to eat at Knead the Dough. For the past 13 years, owner Debbie Parker has focused on creating an atmosphere that is a "home away from home" for customers by using fresh, quality ingredients.

A registered nurse by trade, Parker fell into starting the business by chance. It has truly grown into a family affair with daughters Sarah Woolson and Amanda Parker working by her side and her grandchildren helping out at the restaurant (their drawings are featured on the menu). Additional staff includes Hannah McGovern, Jayne Held, Ann Marie Bradley and Jennifer Henson.

Of course, there is one other important part of Knead the Dough, and that is Savannah, a pig statue that was purchased on a trip to Savannah, Georgia. She has found a place at the counter and can often be found dressed for the holidays.

Knead the Dough has been in Ransomville since Aug. 2, 2002. It began as a small diner just down the road from its current location at 3678 Ransomville Road. As time went on and business grew, it was Niagara County Legislator Clyde Burmaster who wanted Parker to take a look at the old Agway feed mill-turned-doctor's office as a new location.

Customers came and volunteered to make repairs and Parker celebrated her new location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May of 2006.

Today, the business continues to grow with word of mouth serving as the best marketing tool. Social media is also used weekly. Menu and catering information is online at www.KneadTheDough.net.

Parker's customers have become like family to her and the staff. There are a few regulars who can be seen twice a day at Knead the Dough, and then those who make it a priority to stop in when they are visiting from out of town. Many local groups have also made Knead the Dough a meeting place for weekly meetings (everyone from retired educators to the Bonds Lake crew). One of the favorite groups meeting regularly is ROMEO, which stands for "Retired Old Men Eating Out."

Feeling like part of the family makes customers feel at home; eating delicious food keeps them coming back. Knead the Dough prepares homemade bread daily and its desserts are all made by hand. In fact, everything is made fresh, from scratch, with ingredients that are sourced from local farmers and vendors.

Sweet potato pancakes made with Knead the Dough's own special batter is a favorite menu item, as are sandwiches served on fresh bread. Some of the menu items are even named after people from the community. Customers often ask how they can have a menu item named after them.

Breakfast and lunch are served six days while catering, custom orders and desserts (wedding cakes, pies, tarts and cookies) are available, too.

Knead the Dough is an important part of Ransomville. It is a place where people feel like part of the family and there is a true sense of community. One can find many great sayings serving as artwork on the walls. "Don't judge people by their relatives" puts a smile on everyone's face, as does, "This business is about everyone who works here and comes here." It is these statements that support the mission of Knead the Dough, which is having a place where there are no strangers, just friends you have yet to meet.

Parker and her staff care for their customers and enjoy supporting local activities and organizations. She was instrumental in founding the Ransomville Food Pantry after seeing a need for such a service. She also serves as a volunteer on the Town of Porter Recreation Board.

The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce and the Ransomville Business and Professional Association proudly congratulate Knead the Dough as the 2015 Ransomville Business of the Year.

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