Ulster Chamber & UCEDA Announce Annual Business Awards

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October 09, 2018
The Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Ulster County Economic Development Alliance have announced the winners of their 14th Annual Business Recognition Awards.

Chamber President Ward Todd said the awards recognize Ulster County business leaders, businesses and organizations that are leaders in their sectors, have achieved outstanding results, or shown dedication and commitment to furthering business and the quality of life in Ulster County.

This year’s honorees include:
Entrepreneur of the Year—Johnny LeHane, co-founder of the Hudson Valley Startup Fund and CLUBWAKA. The Hudson Valley Startup Fund is the first managed seed capital fund in the Mid-Hudson Valley. The fund was launched in 2015 and already has invested in six different businesses. Begun twenty years ago as the World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA), the organization has exploded across the nation as CLUBWAKA, the country’s premier social club providing adult sports leagues, social activities, and events. CLUBWAKA offers a variety of sports leagues in some 50 cities and organizes events all around the country.

Business of the Year—Mother Earth’s Storehouse, Inc. Chris Schneider opened the first Mother Earth’s Storehouse in 1978 in the King’s Mall, town of Ulster, with one employee. His brother, Kevin, soon joined him and the business expanded to Saugerties and Poughkeepsie. The company is now in its 40th year and boasts 147 employees at three locations, offering wholesome, organically grown, nutritious foods and healthy supplements for the many health-conscious residents of the region.

Small Business of the Year—Home Plate Deli & Caterers/Olive’s Country Store & Cafe. Alex and Denise Stier have operated these two thriving local businesses since 2003. Not only are the Stiers committed to providing quality food and unique retail items to patrons, but they have been extremely generous to countless charitable organizations and events. Home Plate Deli & Caterers, located in the town of Ulster, and Olive’s Country Store & Café in Shokan have also catered dozens of the Chamber’s popular monthly Networking Mixers.

Emerging Young Leader—Travis Rask of Gagnon& Associates CPA’s. Rask started out four years ago as a staff accountant, but now is managing audit projects and is held in high regard by his employer and clients alike. Rask is chairman of the Ulster Chamber’s Young Ulster Professionals (YUP), where attendance has increased dramatically under his leadership. He also has made a difference in the community, coaching basketball and serving on committees from his high school alma mater, Coleman Catholic High School. He is a member of the Kingston Parks & Recreation Commission.

Tourism Business of the Year—Honor’s Haven Resort & Spa. This certified “green” Ellenville business, which opened in 2007 after taking over the former Fallsview Resort, is one of the largest employers in the region with more than 150 workers. Honor’s Haven has hosted countless large conferences, retreats, weddings and the annual Tulip Festival and Mother’s Day Celebration. The resort also features indoor and outdoor pools, tennis, basketball, volleyball, hiking trails, pedal boats and entertainment.

Commitment to the Community—Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center. The center, located in Uptown Kingston, has provided support services to the local gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community since 2007. The center also helps educate the community on the needs of the LGBTQ community and is known as a safe space. The not-for-profit further provides counseling services, holds social events, training sessions and educational activities for the LGBTQ community.

The Heritage Award—Lowe Plumbing Heating & AC. The company under fourth-generation owner Jeff Lowe employs 30 people and has a long and rich history in Kingston. Lowe’s great-grandfather, Ferdinand, got into the plumbing business in 1912. The business continued under Lowe’s grandfather, Ken Lowe Sr., and his father, Ken Lowe Jr. The company will continue into the future under Lowe’s son, Jason, and his son-in-law, Andrew Benjamin.

Len Cane Heart of Ulster County Award—Scott Herrington (Sav-On Party Central). Continuing the tradition of honoring a local business leader with a big heart, Sav-On Party Central owner Scott Herrington was chosen for this award by the Ulster Chamber and UCEDA. Not only is Scott a great local businessman, but he has shown his commitment to a host of local not for profit organizations over the years. He is currently an active board member at the Center for Spectrum Services. He is a former member of The Arc of Ulster-Greene Foundation Board of Directors and also served six years on the Board of the Ulster Chamber of Commerce. Scott is a leader in our community, always striving to make Ulster County a better place to live and work.

“The Chamber would like to congratulate the recipients and offer special thanks to those who provided the nominations and the independent panel for the final selections,” said Todd. “These Best of Ulster County awards are peer-driven and an excellent way for the business community to recognize outstanding efforts.”

The award recipients will be honored at a dinner Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Wiltwyck Golf Club, 404 Steward Lane in Kingston. Tickets are $100 each and the dinner begins with cocktails at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the Chamber website at www.UlsterChamber.org. To be a sponsor, contact Bob Hirsch at (845) 338-5100 or Bob@UlsterChamber.org.

Ward Todd, President/CEO
(845) 338-5100