Each year, the Sleepy Hollow-Tarrytown Chamber of Commerce celebrates exceptional local businesses by awarding them plaques, a proclamation from the village—and this year—a proclamation from Congresswoman Nita Lowey. The 2010 Annual Awards Breakfast will be held on Thursday, March 18th at Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill Mansion from 8 – 10 a.m.
The five recipients are:
Outstanding Member of the Year – Linda Rey of Rey Insurance
Organization of the Year – Make-A-Wish Foundation
Restaurant of the Year – Santa Fe Restaurant
New Member of the Year – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
President's Award – Que Chula es Puebla Restaurant
John Sardy, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, says the Chamber has formally recognized local businesses for being "active in the chamber and in the community" since 1942.
Winners for the various categories are nominated and then voted upon by a committee within the Chamber, and are then approved by the Chamber's board of directors.
Make-A-Wish Foundation is an international charity that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Though locals may recognize the name of the organization, few may know Tarrytown is home to the Hudson Valley chapter.
"Being recognized is truly tremendous and we're very appreciative," said Thomas Conklin, president and chief executive officer of the Tarrytown branch.
Conklin, who will be accepting the award on Thursday, added that Tarrytown was the first Make-A-Wish chapter to start an alumni group, where former wish recipients can come back and work with the organization to make new wishes come true.
Linda Rey of Rey Insurance, has quite a history with the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, she served as president of the Chamber from 2004-2006, as well as vice president the two years prior. She said 2010 is her first year not serving on its board of directors.
In 2003, Rey, who is "not a morning person," thought other local professionals, residents and chamber members might benefit from evening networking events. So, she pitched the idea for "New Member Appreciation Nights." The first meeting was held October of 2003 at J.P. Doyle's and had 25 people in attendance. This past January, 150 locals made an appearance.
However, attendees weren't limited to the Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow area. Rey says since 2003, the meetings have become "multi-chamber" networking events and involve 10 other nearby chambers as well.
"I just have felt extremely fortunate to have had such a great experience working with other businesses in the community," Rey said. "It's been an extremely worthwhile experience for me and I'm very grateful for that."
Laura Lindsay, associate director of corporate communications, along with colleague Monica Ko, will be attending the breakfast to accept the award for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
Lindsay said the Regeneron team was involved in several volunteer-based initiatives over the past year, including a partnership with Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla, weekends with the Food Bank for Westchester and several programs with the Tarrytown School District.
"We sponsored Sleepy Hollow High School kids by giving them $250 to purchase new clothes for the first week of school," Lindsay said. "The idea was that they would feel better about themselves and stay more engaged."
Regeneron's recognition by the Chamber stems from their participation in one of Tarrytown's Beekman Avenue street fairs this past year. There, Regeneron scientists and representatives engaged kids and parents in fun, science-related crafts they could take home, as well as taught locals more about Regeneron's work. Lindsay called the event "a major success."
"We're really, really excited and delighted to see this recognition," Lindsay said. "It helps me realize that our efforts are worthy of our time."
According to Sardy, Que Chula es Puebla, a Mexican restaurant in Sleepy Hollow, also will receive an award because of their heavy involvement local street fairs over the past year.
Additionally, Sardy noted that the Chamber wanted Santa Fe, a Tarrytown-based Mexican Restaurant, to be recognized as being a staple of the local community for 25 years.
Tickets to the breakfast are still available by calling the Sleepy Hollow-Tarrytown Chamber of Commerce at (914) 631-1705.
The Chamber will hold its next meeting on Thursday, April 15th from 8 – 9:30 a.m. at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Chapel.