CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – For one night, New Castle residents and town officials gathered to celebrate merchants who are already in town rather than butt heads over merchants that may or may not be moving into Chappaqua Crossing.
The inaugural Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce “Chamber Champs” was held Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Crabtree’s Kittle House. Chamber founder Rob Greenstein was joined by more than 100 attendees, including honored guests Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester), Legislator Michael Kaplowitz (D-Westchester) and County Executive Rob Astorino.
Voting for the awards were done through an online survey and registered more than 500 votes, Greenstein said.
Here are the 2013 Chamber Champ winners:
Business of the Year: Music in Chappaqua (owner Janet Angier)
Volunteer of the Year: Dawn Greenberg (ran and founded the Chappaqua Children's Book Festival)
New Business of the Year: Consulting for a Cause (owner Paula Barbag)
Nonprofit of the Year: Making Headway Foundation (Executive Director Catherine Lepone)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Joan Corwin (Chappaqua Transportation)
Greenstein said the ceremony was an opportunity for everyone to see how far the Chamber has come since being founded in June of 2012.
“Tonight is about acknowledging the merchants and everything they’re doing for the community,” Greenstein said. “Part of my goal for the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce was to create a strong organization with some clout. I think having the three politicians here tonight proves we have that.”
Greenstein, who is running against Town Administrator Penny Paderewski for town supervisor in the upcoming November election, said it was a night to forget about politics. Paderewski, along with running mate Councilman John Buckley, were both in attendance.
Lisa Katz, who is running alongside Greenstein on the 2013 Team New Castle slate, said it was nice to take a breather from the campaign and town issues such as Chappaqua Crossing.
“It’s great to put our differences aside with a drink and a laugh,” she said. “Tonight is all about the merchants we already do have and celebrating them with the whole community.”
Merchants and award winners were certainly appreciated, as Greenstein and the audience had fun with making the presentation of the awards feel Oscar-esque. It was quite clear business owners were flattered with the recognitions.
“When I started my business [Music in Chappaqua] 20 years ago, it was just me,” Angier said. “But the Chamber has given me a place to share my business’s voice.”
Corwin, a member of Chappaqua Transportation since 1970, gave the most emotional acceptance speech on the night.
“I’m almost speechless,” she said. “Chappaqua has been my heart – it’s been my life. It’s been a blessing.”
Astorino, who is up for re-election, closed the night by emphasizing how important town merchants are to the county as a whole.
“Small businesses are a big part of what we do here in Westchester County,” he said. “Entrepreneurs are the ones who put it all on the line. I’ve been very impressed with the rebirth of Chappaqua and Millwood, and everything that’s gone on here.”