11/09/13 8:00am
11/09/2013 8:00 AM
Pickersgill's Robert James salon

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO| Downtown Riverhead looking west from the second floor above Robert James Salon.

The Riverhead Chamber of Commerce will recognize select businesses, individuals and organizations that have made a considerable impact and notable contribution to the community throughout the year at its annual awards dinner on Thursday, Dec. 5.

The public is invited to attend the dinner, which will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead. Tickets are $65 per person and can be obtained from Mary Hughes at (631) 727-7600 or by emailing info@riverheadchamber.com.

This year’s award recipients include:

• 2013 Persons of the Year: Dianne and Bob Castaldi of the Suffolk Theater
• 2013 Business of the Year: Island International Industries, Inc.
• 2013 Agricultural Achievement Award: John Condzella of Condzella Hops
• 2013 Gold Key Award: Lisa and Richard Israel of Richmond Realty
• 2013 Entrepreneurial Achievement Award: Stony Brook University’s Incubator at Calverton
• 2013 Spirit of Riverhead Award: Riverhead Local
• 2013 Community Appreciation Award: Denise Lucas of Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter
• 2013 Director of the Year: Debra Schmitt, member of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

09/02/13 12:00pm
09/02/2013 12:00 PM

East End Arts will present ‘Art Means Business,’ a seminar and networking party, from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead. Business owners, artists, government officials, arts and nonprofit organizations and the public are invited to attend.

The keynote speaker is Michelle Isabelle-Stark, director of film and cultural affairs for the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development. She’ll talk about “Destination Downtown,” the county’s marketing campaign aimed at promoting small businesses, business districts and historic downtowns.

A panel discussion on ways for small businesses to partner with the arts will be moderated by Citibank business banker Jim Cairo. Panelists will include Baiting Hollow Vineyard owner Paula Geonie; Michael Mahon, owner of 73 Main in Riverhead; The Riverhead Project owner Dennis McDermott ; Ron Rothman, owner of Rothman’s Department Store in Southold; and Ann Vandenburgh, co-owner and art curator of Greenport Harbor Brewing Company.

Tickets are $25 in advance for East End Arts and Riverhead Chamber of Commerce members; $30 in advance for nonmembers; and $35 at the door.

12/06/12 10:41pm
12/06/2012 10:41 PM

The Riverhead Chamber of Commerce honored its 2012 “People of the Year” during its annual holiday party Thursday night. The event was held at Vineyard Caterers in Aquebogue.

Here’s what the chamber has to say about this year’s honorees:

Person of the Year

Ray Maynard, Skydive Long Island

“It’s not unusual for Ray to take a leap of faith,” said presenter Tracy Stark James of the Riverhead IDA, the chamber’s treasurer. “So he jumped into Riverhead … and off he flew.”

Business of the Year

Riverhead Raceway, Barbara and Jim Cromarty

“Their business helps drive business to the Town of Riverhead,” said presenter Robert Bugdin of American Tent Company, a chamber board member.

The Cromartys could not attend the dinner since they were traveling to a Nascar event. They did appear via Skype and announced the iconic Indian statue, damaged during Superstorm Sandy, “will be up by Christmas.”

Gold Key Award

Star Confectionery, The Meras Family

“They are a true reflection of the town,” said presenter Tom Lennon of Pine Barrens Printing, chamber director at large.

Brian Stark, who delivered a bit of a roast to the Meras’ said: “The nice thing about Papa Nicks is that you always feel like you’re at home.”

“My parents taught me … you take an interest in your customer,” said Anthony Meras, who then rattled off the regular breakfast, lunch and ice cream orders of a few of the guests at the event.

Agricultural Achievement Award

Long Island Cauliflower Association

“The officers, directors and management of the Long Island Cauliflower Association, some of whom are descendants of its founders, are still committed to the success of the Long Island Cauliflower association and to serving the growers of Long Island,” the Chamber wrote in its program. Chamber executive director Mary Hughes presented the award.

Director of the Year

Carmela DiTalia 

“While always the consummate professional, she always has a fun personality,” said presenter Robert Kern of 2XS Consulting, a chamber board member. Ms. DiTalia is an attorney with Esseks, Hefter & Angel LLP of Riverhead and the secretary of the chamber.

Spirit of Riverhead Award

2012 RHS Girls Basketball Team

“In 2012, we were dazzled by a group of smart and unstoppable girls,” said presenter Janine Nebons of Tanger Outlet Center, the chamber’s president. Accepting for the Blue Waves was coach Dave Spinella, and players Marta Czaplak, Jocelyn Zaneski and Katie McKillop.

Lifetime Service Award

Jesse Goodale, Sr.

“He has lived a life of honesty, integrity and community and it shows,” said presenter Pat Snyder, executive director of East End Arts, a chamber board member. “Riverhead Building Supply is a reflection of its founder.”

11/12/12 3:28pm
11/12/2012 3:28 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Skydive Long Island owner Ray Maynard in a 2007 News-Review photo.

The Riverhead Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of its annual awards for 2012, according to a statement from the chamber.

The chamber chose Skydive Long Island founder Ray Maynard as their Person of the Year. Mr. Maynard, a former U.S. National Parachute Team member and silver-medalist in the 2001 U.S. Nationals, established the Calverton business in 1986. He was named the Times Review’s Business Person of the Year in 2007.

The Spirit of Riverhead award will go to the 2012 Riverhead High School Girls Basketball Team, which won the county title last school year.

Riverhead Raceway will be awarded Business of the Year by the chamber, which will also give the Gold Key Award to the Meras Family who run the Star Confectionary on East Main Street.

The agriculture award will be given to the Long Island Cauliflower Association, according to the chamber. Carmen DiTalia will win the Director of the Year award, while the lifetime achievement award will go to Jesse Goodale Sr.

The awards will be presented at the chamber’s annual awards dinner at The Vineyards on Main Road in Aquebogue on Dec. 6. The event will last from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will cost $65 per person or $115 per couple.

12/10/11 11:36am
12/10/2011 11:36 AM
Hyatt Place East End

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | Robert Bugdin presents Vincent "Governor" Golembeski with the Lifetime Service Award.

“Community” was the word of the night at Friday’s Riverhead Chamber of Commerce 2011 Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Place East End.

Nearly each and every awards recipient Friday said they do what they do to make Riverhead a better place, and they couldn’t do any of it without the support of the surrounding business community.

“It’s the people that make Riverhead work,” said Chamber president Janine Nebons.

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The following is a list of those honored Friday:

Person of the Year — Dennis McDermott

Dennis McDermott opened The Riverhead Project, his third restaurant and first in Riverhead, this spring to rave reviews from a long list of media outlets, which included the New York Times.

But it’s the way he opened his business — quickly and creatively — that caught the eye of Riverhead’s Chamber of Commerce.

“The chamber couldn’t help but notice how one man in five months took the corner of Maple and Main and brought it back to life,” said Tracy Stark-James, executive director of the Riverhead IDA and treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. McDermott, who recently sat down for a Q&A with our Long Island Wine Press, said Friday night that he was flattered to be recognized.

“When I first heard I was the person of the year I thought, ‘Why me?’” he said. “It’s not what I’m doing, it’s what Riverhead’s doing. I’m just happy to be a pretty face.”

Agritourism Award — Long Island Wine Council

Jamesport Vineyards owner and Wine Council president Ron Goerler remembers a time when there was just five grape growers producing wine on the North Fork.

Today we have a wine region here, with 49 wine producers belonging to the Long Island Wine Council. Over the past seven years, Long Island wine region tourism has grown from 500,000 visitors a year to 1.3 million.

No organization has helped grow Long Island Wine Country more than the Long Island Wine Council, which was founded in 1989.

But both Mr. Goerler and Wine Council executive director Steve Bate pointed out Friday that it’s the help wineries receive from other businesses in the area that means the most to them.

“What’s great about Riverhead is people coming together,” Mr. Goerler said. “It’s the vision of this community.”

Businesspersons of the Year — Matt and Gail Kar

If you live on the North Fork and you like food, it’s hard not to know who Matt and Gail Kar are. And it’s impossible to have never heard of their three businesses.

Want a great lunch on Route 25 in Jamesport? You likely go to the Jamesport Country Kitchen, which the Kars purchased nearly 25 years ago. Looking to class it up a bit at dinner time? Odds are you’ve seen the beautiful Jamesport Manor Inn. And most everyone recognizes the Kars’ Christopher Michael Catering as among the best the East End has to offer.

But it’s not just the quality of the Kars’ businesses that the chamber recognized Friday, but also the way the couple does its business.

“Matt and Gail clearly understand a business can do more for its community,” said East End Arts executive director Pat Snyder.

Like many of Friday night’s recipients, Mr. Kar acknowledged his surrounding businesses in his speech.

“It’s like Ron [Goerler] said, together as a team we can do better,” the longtime North Fork resident said.

Director of the Year — Robert Kern

When you belong to a Chamber of Commerce or any other community service group, it’s easy to butt heads from time to time with the other directors. You aren’t always going to see eye to eye, so sometimes it’s best to just speak your mind.

The CEO of the marketing company 2XS and the longtime general manager of Martha Clara Vineyards, Bob Kern has never had a problem speaking his mind at a Riverhead Chamber of Commerce meeting.

And that’s a big reason he was named Director of the Year Friday, members said.

“He hardly ever misses a meeting and he never holds back,” Ms. Nebons said.

Mr. Kern called the award and his service a “humbling experience.”

“I love the sense of community here,” he said in accepting his award. “Riverhead should be the model for other parts of Long Island. We are doing well in Riverhead.”

Gold Key Award — Riverhead Business Improvement District

The focus of many in Riverhead for years has been about the revitalization of downtown Riverhead.

One group charged with making this happen is the Riverhead BID’s 12-member board of directors, which oversees 322 parcels in the downtown district.

It’s not every year that the BID can look back in December and say the previous year has been a success. But in 2011, few would argue downtown Riverhead isn’t feeling a little more revitalized.

The chamber pointed to the BID’s efforts to host a Mardi Gras festival and its annual Cardboard Boat Race as creative ways the BID has brought consumers to downtown Riverhead.

For their efforts, the Riverhead BID was honored with the Gold Key Award Friday night.

Accepting the award was BID president Ray Pickersgill and directors Bill Allen and Tony Coates.

Mr. Coates told a story of being a bit scared of downtown Riverhead while visiting it as a kid, but how he’s grown to love his adopted hometown, which he’s seen make great strides in recent years.

“We ain’t where we want to be,” he said in his acceptance speech. “But we ain’t where we used to be either.”

Spirit of Riverhead Award — Riverhead NJROTC

For more than 35 years, the Riverhead High students who serve as NJROTC members have been doing good in the community.

The organization promotes leadership development, self discipline, physical fitness, teamwork and community service. It’s the latter that got it recognized by the Chamber of Commerce.

“These students manage to stop what they’re doing at any time, including the holidays, to attend events where they lead prayers and the pledge of allegiance,” said Ms. Nebons, who presented the NJROTC with its award.

Many of the members will go on to serve in the military, others said they have plans to attend four-year universities.

“The unit is really honored,” said commander Matthew Mulvaney, who will attend the University of Maine next year on what he hopes will be a Marine Corps. scholarship. “We take a lot of pride in our community service.”

Lifetime Service Award — Vincent ‘Governor’ Golembeski

Some people would be happy to live 67 years. For Vincent Golembeski, that’s just how long he’s served as a volunteer fireman.

The 86-year-old Polish Town resident has been awarded the department’s Top Responder award so many times, Friday night’s presenter and fellow firefighter Bobby Bugdin joked that other members of the department once took a hit out on his life.

Mr. Bugdin told a story of one time when Mr. Golembeski was responding to a call and his leg was run over by a fire truck.

“He didn’t say a word because he didn’t want to get in the way, knowing someone’s life could be on the line,” Mr. Bugdin said. So Mr. Golembeski hopped in the truck and went to the scene of the emergency.

But his injury would prevent him from winning the Top Responder award that year.

“It took him getting run over by a truck,” Mr. Bugdin joked.

When it came time to accept his award, Mr. Golembeski said just six words. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Said Mr. McDermott: “That was the best speech of the night.”