Commerce Chenango honors local small business leaders

NORWICH – Commerce Chenango honored six local businesses for their contributions to the community at their 2010 Annual Salute to Small Business Dinner, held Tuesday night at the Canasawacta Country Club.

“Tonight is about the small businesses, their employees and the entrepreneurial spirit which leads them to start, maintain, and in many cases, expand their small business,” said Commerce Chenango Chairman Kevin Walsh, kicking off the event which recognized the 2010 recipients of the Small Business Gems, Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business Manufacturer of the Year and Small Business of the Year awards.

“We are really recognizing some of the best we have to offer in Chenango County,” New York Senator James Seward said of the award winners. The Republican was one of more than 200 people to turn out for the event, which was sponsored by NBT Bank, Mang Insurance, Frontier and Golden Artist Colors.

Seward acknowledged that, while Upstate New York is fortunate to have large employers, “the real growth is in the small business community.”

“If we are ever to build a bigger and brighter future, it is with small business,” he said. The Albany lawmaker pledged to support policy aimed at creating “the right environment” to help small businesses grow and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit so that upstate communities “cannot only survive, but thrive.”

2010 Small Business Gems

“Chenango County is very fortunate to have many small businesses that help to drive our economy and make this a place we are all proud to live and work,” said Maureen Carpenter, President and CEO of Commerce Chenango.

Commerce Chenango selects three such businesses each year to receive the prestigious Small Business Gem award. This year, the honor was awarded to B&D Pool and Spa LLC, Rapp Signs Inc. and The Silo Restaurant.

“These Gems manage their organizations with pride and achieve success in different ways,” explained Carpenter. Each of these Gems has something unique, which sets them apart and makes them true treasures in the community, the chamber executive said.

The night’s first award recipient, B&D Pool and Spa, was started in 1976 by Don and Beth Osterhout. Originally, they offered only pool supplies, but over the years the business has expanded.

“From new installations, to repair and maintenance, they offer the region’s top expertise in all things pool and spa,” Carpenter said.

After more than 30 years in business, the venture remains a family affair. It operates two locations – its headquarters in Norwich and a second location in Sidney – and serves customers throughout Chenango as well as in neighboring Broome, Otsego and Delaware Counties. Their offerings now also include RV parking, U-Haul rental and self-storage at their Norwich location.

“B&D provides quality pool and spa products with a commitment to specialized customer service and after-sales support. Their mantra is ‘making backyard memories,’” said Carpenter.

Dee Osterhout accepted the award on behalf of the business.

“It’s nice to be recognized for the work you do,” he said, attributing B&D’s success to two guiding principles. The first, he explained, is “you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but you have to try.” The second, is the golden rule: treat others how you would like to be treated.

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