Commerce Chenango announces 2011 Small Business Award Winners

NORWICH – Commerce Chenango will present its Small Business of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year, and Small Business Gem Awards to area businesses at the Chamber’s Annual Salute to Small Business Dinner at The River Club in Afton on Nov. 29. The recipients are nominated and chosen by their colleagues, employees, and/or chamber members.

The Small Business of the Year award will be presented to Tri County Collision. Owner Barry Stephens has been in the automotive business for over 20 years, and at his current location in Greene since 2004. Tri County specializes in auto body repair and offers a car rental component as well as used auto sales. Barry believes in his team and is quick to credit them with their growth and success. He continues to grow and develop his employees, and most importantly, builds an outstanding business reputation. Today, they have eleven employees and actively support the Greene Cruise-In Nights, the Northeast Classic Car Museum Casino Night, Greene Central School’s “Mock Car Crash,” Dollars for Scholars and most recently, Floodfest 2011.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award (The Sam Golden Award “The Sammy” – sponsored by Golden Artist Colors, New Berlin) will be presented to Roger Connelly, owner, Chenango Carpet and Furniture and Roger’s Auto Body. Originally from Long Island, Roger & his wife, Holly, purchased the Smithville property that the Auto Body Shop and the Furniture business currently sit on in 1976. They started growing the Auto Body Shop first, which will be celebrating its 35th year in 2011. Roger began selling carpet remnants out of his auto shop before the idea of the Carpet and Furniture business became a reality. The old highway garage sat on the Connelly’s property and was used mostly for storage. In 1985, after he began renovating it for residential use, they decided to start selling carpeting out of the structure. In 1988, they felt adding furniture to the retail store was a natural progression. Twenty-six years later, the Furniture business has grown and continues to thrive due to a warm cozy atmosphere and customer satisfaction. Roger is a graduate of the 2010 Leadership Chenango class, is on the Smithville Town Board and the CHIP board, and remains an active member of the Greene Lions Club.

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