By Benjamin Joe
The Town of Niagara Business & Professional Association is hosting its annual Awards Dinner for 2019 honorees on Jan. 29 at the Four Points Sheraton, 7001 Buffalo Ave. in Niagara Falls. All proceeds will go to the TNBPA Scholarship fund to help families offset the cost of college.
The TNBPA was started in 1996 by businesses in the Town of Niagara who were trying to mutually help one another by developing, promoting and improving the business climate in the town. At its annual Awards Dinner, the group seeks to honor businesses and individuals who’ve done just that.
“We accept recommendations from all our members, as well as the board voting on them. We want to make a good fit and make sure we recognize the people that really step up and help out the community, as well as their fellow business owners in the town,” said TNBPA co-President Christopher Woods. “Those that provide excellent customer service, whether it be our Employee of the Year, Dennis Carroll, or helping the community, and giving back to the less fortunate like the Citizen of the Year, Al Pogel, has done.”
The group will be giving out awards in six categories: Business Person of the Year – Pete Murray of Swimmin’ with the Fishes; Business of the Year – Halleen’s Automotive; Employer of the Year – Merani Hotel Group; Employee of the Year – Dennis Carroll of Supermarket Liquors; Citizen of the Year – Al Pogel; and Legacy Award – Viola’s Subs.
Woods said, “Pete Murray of Swimmin’ with the Fishes, he’s been a great supporter of local business and a great businessperson in the area. As far as the TNBPA is concerned, he’s always willing to donate his time, energy, and never says, ‘No,’ to me. Whether providing a foursome for a golf tournament that we have for our scholarship program for the TNBPA, or helping out with our scavenger hunt that we did this year – he’s always there to help and he never says, ‘No.’ ”
“Pete’s business is heating and cooling and he does all the work with pools. He’s HVAC and pools. I came home in November to a water heater going off and I had a couple of inches of water in my basement. I called him on a Sunday, in a snowstorm, and he was there about an hour later. He helped fix the problem, was able to get me back on track and get everything going with as minimal damage as possible.”
Woods said Halleen’s Automotive has been a staple in the Town of Niagara since before he was born.
“Rich (Halleen) and his family have been running the business for many years in the Town of Niagara, and giving back, as well. Whether it be with the scavenger hunt that we did, or helping out in the local community,” Woods said. “We wanted to make sure that they were recognized for their hard work and dedication to not only the Town of Niagara, but all their customers, as well.”
Another hard-working business is the recipient of the Legacy Award. Woods explained why Viola’s was chosen and what it means to receive such an award.
“With our Legacy Award that we’re giving to Viola’s, they’ve been a staple in this community, again before I was born. They’re a great family, a family of six, who help run the restaurant. Even when I lived out of town, I would come back to visit, the first place I would want to go is to get a Viola sub. They’re at the ‘Music Mania Mondays’ that are put on by the Town of Niagara. Viola’s Subs has one of the tents where they’re serving up the food every week. It’s great to have the community come out and support them. They’ve given back through their long duration.”
Cocktails and appetizers will be served by 6 p.m. at the event followed by the ceremony and dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.TNBPA.com/annual-dinner or by calling Suzanne Kennedy at 716-479-1843. The cost is $55 per person or $400 per table.
Interested businesses may participate by donating a gift basket with a minimum value of $35 to be dropped off at KeyBank, 2429 Military Road, Niagara Falls. Contact Jennifer Montie at 716-579-7830 or email [email protected] with any questions.