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Chamber of Commerce News Web Page 2015
Grand Island, NY, Chamber of Commerce Website

President Eric Fiebelkorn
First Vice President Jim Sharpe
Secretary - Dr. Sherry Bradford
Second Vice President Fahim Mojawalla
Treasurer Robert Ratajczak

Previous News

Chamber Office: 2257 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island, NY 14072
Phone: (716)773-3651 Fax: (716)773-3316

This Chamber is organized for the purpose of advancing the economic, industrial, professional, cultural and civic welfare of Grand Island; to encourage the growth of existing industries and business, while giving all proper asssistance to any new firms or individuals seeking to locate in Grand Island; to support all these activities believed to be beneficial to the community and area, and in general to promote the welfare of all area citizens following always those policies intended to accomplish the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

Brochures, Maps, Videos and Post Cards (viewed on opening page of website) available through the Chamber Office. Feel free to email us and we will forward your request to the Chamber Office or call (716)773-3651.
Thank you for your interest in Grand Island.

Light Up The Boulevard Winners - December2015

From left: Best Parade float: Cross Contol & Electric owners Laurie & Don Benoit and Chamber member Liz Wilbert.

    The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce & Light Up the Boulevard Committee and Grand Island Recreation Department would like to thank all of this year's parade participants, volunteers, and the Grand Island community for coming and making this event such a great success! We would like to congratulate the following winners of this year's event:
Best Festive Group: Step in Time Dance Studio
Runner up for Best Festive Group: McCarthy's School of Irish Dance
Best Float: Cross Control & Electric
Runner up for Best Float: Casxteriors, Inc.
Light Contest winners are:
Business winner is: Ace Hardware
Business runner up is: Re/Max North
Residential Classic:
1st place is 2005 Stony Point
2nd place is 159 Jamestown
Residential Contemporary:
1st place is 1688 Broadway
2nd place is 544 Baseline
3rd place is 3348 East River
If you would like to check out the other entries houses: 1987 Broadway, 37 Cottagewood Lane and 47 Island Park Dr.

Light Up The Boulevard Electric Light Parade & Festival - November 2015

    The Chamber of Commerce is again hosting the "Light Up The Boulevard Electric Light Parade & Festival" on Saturday, November 21st at the Town Hall. A festival will be in the parking lot from 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. and Santa visiting hours 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. A 1k Fun Run will begin at 5:00 p.m., and the light parade will follow. See flyer. If you would like to help sponsor the event click here. Parade Application - Run Application - Light Display Application.

19th Annual KidBiz Sidewalk Sale - June 2015

   The 19th annual KidBiz Sidewalk Sale will be held Saturday, June 27th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Grand Island Town Commons. Come out and purchase from the young entrepreneurs who have learned various aspects of running a business with topics such as pricing, marketing and customer service. Each young business owner had to pay a rental space fee and received a "license" to be eligible to sell at the KidBiz Sidewalk Sale. KidBiz is an excellent opportunity for children to engage in a real-life business experience. For more information contact the Chamber office at 773-3651or www.gichamber.org.
   The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce KidBiz Committee would like to thank all of the 2015 KidBiz Sponsors. Without their support they would not be able to put together these special community programs that make our town a unique place to live, work & play! Also, special thanks go out to Theodore's Original Red Hots for donating hot dogs that will be sold at KidBiz for the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Program.

Platinum Sponsor:
Financial Trust Federal Credit Union
2015 - Democratic Slate: Todd Potter for Eric Count Legislature; Cyndy Montana for Grand Island Town Council; Sybil Kennedy for Grand Island Town Justice; Beverly Kinney for Grand Island Town Council; Nathan McMurray for Grand Island Town Supervisor.

Silver Sponsor:
Dan Drexelius - Double D Construction, Fahim Mojawalla - Island Ship Center, Jim Maloney - River Oaks Marina, Tom Kanaley - Paddock Chevrolet, Danielle DelMonte - Prepstart Consulting.

Bronze Sponsors:
Block, Longo & LaMarca, P.C./Joy LaMarca, Esq.,Citizens Bank, Grand Island Optical, Mark Nemeth, Mary Cooke, Mr. Best Wrench, Piatek Insurance Agency, Inc., 2015 - Republican Slate, Robert M. Ratajczak, Jr. P.C., The Keller Group.

Patron Sponsors:
Chris Aronica, Linda Kutzbach, Grand Island Fun Center.

19th Annual KidBiz Sidewalk Sale - May 2015

One of last years vendors.

    The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce will host the 19th annual KidBiz Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, June 27th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. A training session will take place on Tuesday, June 2nd from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Grand Island Middle School Little Theatre. Young entrepreneurs will learn various aspects of running a business. Topics such as pricing, marketing and customer service are covered at the training event.
    KidBiz, developed by the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College and Forever Elmwood, was launched in 1996. It was designed to give children in the second through eighth grade the experience and excitement of running their own business. KidBiz made its debut on Grand Island in 1997 as part of the "Plaza Happening". Last year the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce coordinated the event with over 125 children selling their products in the Grand Island Town Park, located next to Town Hall. Articles sold last year included old books, toys, crafts, baked goods, and a whole lot more. The young business owners particularly got a sense of running a business as they had to pay a rental space fee and received a "license" to sell at the site. KidBiz is an excellent opportunity for children to engage in a real-life business experience. For more information contact the Chamber office at 773-3651 or www.gichamber.org.

2015-2016 Youth Ambassadors - May 2015


Left: MaryElisabeth Rustowicz, right: Tom Stedman

   The Chamber of Commerce Youth Ambassador selection committee is pleased to announce that MaryElisabeth Rustowicz and Tom Stedman have been selected as the 2015-2016 Youth Ambassadors. Outgoing 2014-2015 Youth Ambassadors are Maggie Rustowicz (GIHS 2015) and Cole Kline (GIHS 2015).

2014 Citizen of the Year Awards - April 2015

Community Service - Dan Drexelius

   In 1966, at the age of 9, I moved to Grand Island with my family. My grandfather owned land, and we decided to build a home for my large, loving family. My father taught me to be a humble man, to help those in need, and to give of yourself and others in the community. In 1979, I started Double D Construction Company. My company has employed many Grand Island residents over the many years. Being in business for yourself, you get to meet a lot of nice people. I have had the pleasure to learn from others what a great community Grand Island has become.
   When my niece Meaghan Grotz, who was born with Cystic Fibrosis, needed a double lung transplant at age 18, I truly found out how great the community of Grand Island really is. The town people were awesome, volunteering in so may ways to help with a fundraiser, and show support to the family in so many ways. This was very dear to my heart. When the Miracle League ball field and playground started, I knew that I had to help, and giveback to this worthy cause. So many people wanted to make this dream come true for the parents and children; it was totally the most rewarding project in my life so far. The Grand Island Community is a Great Place to live!

Business of the Year - Flower A Day

   Susan Berger purchased Flower A Day approximately 13 years ago and hasn’t looked back! The business was located on Whitehaven Road; with the help of the Flower A Day Team, business started growing! Lani came from Connecticut, where she had her own design business. Maria traveled extensively before working with Flower A Day, and is a graduate of the Fashion Institute.
   In 2009, Susan's husband, Eric, suggested moving around the corner to 2119 Grand Island Blvd. for more traffic and greater visibility. The new space is bright and colorful; their customers just love the new space. The staff has grown to 3 designers - Lani, Maria and Brian, who came to them by way of Washington DC and New York City (with a few stops in between). The delivery staff, Bud and Bill, along with other fill-ins, truly help to keep things moving.
   Flower A Day is truly fortunate to have a wonderful customer base and new people that just stop in to "take a look" regularly. Speaking of which, when you stop in and visit Flower A Day, everyone endeavors to make you welcome, and be treated as they, themselves, would like to be treated. They want to be your flower and gift destination, so do stop by to say "hello" and check them out, if you haven’t already. Jewels, is out-front/counter/greeter and always ready to help you find that special something. Flower A Day is an integral part of our Grand Island community, and has helped to support the following organizations over the past 13 years: Relay for Life, Make A Wish, Grand Island Zonta Club, and many other fundraising endeavors.

Business Person of the Year - Mike Ludwig

    Mike's family moved from Amherst to Grand Island in 1970. Mike grew up and attended Grand Island schools. His father owned his own drywall construction company and would take him to work on the weekends. He learned the drywall construction business at a very young age. When he was 16 years old he started working for his father every summer until he was ready for a full time position. He learned the business from the ground up starting with the worst types of jobs and slowly working his way up to a drywall finisher. He continued in this position for many years finishing houses for Grand Island builders.
   In 1991, Mike and his brother Rob started their own drywall construction business and they have been working together ever since. Mike has had a passion for dogs starting at a very young age when he used to observe his father go on pheasant hunting trips. It was these pheasant hunting trips that sparked his passion to work with dogs. He dreamed of the day that he would be able to open a dog boarding kennel and training facility. In 2011, Mike and his wife Kim purchased the Island Garden Center. Short of tearing the building down, they remodeled and built a brand new dog boarding facility. The Island Pet Lodge works closely with the SPCA as an offsite adoption site, in which they have adopted over 100 cats. The Lodge has also worked with numerous pet rescue groups to aid in finding homes for dogs. Mike also works as the Grand Island Dog Control Officer. He is always available to help reunite lost dogs with their families.

Civic Person of the Year - Paul Robinson

    Born the son of a Methodist pastor, Paul Edward Robinson grew up curious and passionate about all things pertaining to the Spirit, juman beings, and the apparent capriciousness of the world's pain and suffering which continued to perplex and even burdened him. Paul grew up in the central new York and northern Pennsylvania area, graduated from Lycoming college and Wesley Theological Seminary, and continued to wonder about both the Spirit and humanity's continued struggles both to understand things spiritual and to survive the harsh realities of life on this Good Earth.
   These issues have contined to guide and stretch Pauls life and ministry, both professionally as pastor of Churches in Basel, Switzerland, Bemus Point, Olean and Grand Island, and in the communities where he has lived. Much of his energy outside his church leadership, particularly in Olean and Grand Island, has been poured into leading CROP Walks for Hunger, a Church World Service effort to raise funds to help eradicate hunger and poverty around the world. These efforts have led to many fruitful conversations with business people which ahve enriched his life and given a sense of being grounded in the search for Spiritual depth and concrete ways of touching the lives of people here and around the world for good.

Educator of the Year - Mark Gorton

    Mark Gorton was a huge Bills and Sabres fan at an early age, and always dreamed of being a sports broadcaster someday. As a senior at Grand Island High School, Mark did the public address announcing for all the Vikings varsity football and boys basketball games. Mark graduated from Buffalo State College graduating summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications. He joined WBNY as a radio disc jockey, eventually calling the play-by-play for Buffalo State Bengals football and basketball games, then later was a part-time television sports producer at Channel 7, then he became a polished video editor and producer for the Empire Sports Network,, worked a season with the Buffalo Sabres, and worked in Software Licensing Sales at Ingram Micro.
   Since 2005, Mark has been with the Grand Island Central School district, as their Audio-Visual Technician, giving Mark opportunities to interact, teach, and learn with people of all ages throughout the district. Mark works closely with the Senior Class each year, attending and recording most of their events, while editing their Senior Class video, which has blossomed from a little 20-minute video when he first started working at GI, to a 90-minute motion picture today. Since 2006, he has been a board member with GISBA, the Grand Island School and Business Alliance, and is the school co-chair of the GISBA Corporate Bowl Academic Challenge, which just concluded its 17th annual event last month.
    In January of 2010, Mark realized his goal of bringing a TV station to Grand Island High School with the launching of Viking Vision News. As the advisor to this extracurricular club, Viking Vision has been on the air for six seasons and close to 400 episodes, offering GI High School students the ability to become television anchors and reporters, providing information, news, features, event highlights, art, sports, music, and so much more to the school district, and the community. Many of the students who have graduated through the Viking Vision program have gone on to major or minor in broadcast productions, public relations, journalism, media studies, and communications in college.
    Mark has returned to his announcing roots as the "Voice of the Vikings", once again providing the call for Grand Island High School Football and Basketball games, loving every chance he gets to boast about the fine programs and students GI has to offer. He was named Commencement Speaker for the 2013 GIHS Graduation Ceremony by the Class of 2013, and has emceed the Grand Island Relay for Life Kickoff Event twice. Mark lives with his wife Debbie, and their two daughters, Sara, an 8th Grader at Connor Middle School, and Jenna, a 3rd Grader at Huth Road Elementary. He is so thankful to call Grand Island his home, and is so appreciative and honored to work with all the amazing adults and students in the Grand Island Central School District.

Organization of the Year - Annual Father's Day Lawnmower Race/Kevin Doring's Memorial 5K
From left: Rick Smith, Skip Mazenauer, Kevin Cobello, Floyd Doring, Marlene Potter, John Pullano, Peter Marston Jr., Gary Roesch Eric Berger and Tom Long. Mary Dunbar-Daluisio on mower. Right: Floyd Doring

    Step back to 1978, along a stretch of West River Road between Long Road and Sunset, two neighbors, Floyd Doring and Pat Murphy, made a friendly challenge of "I think my lawn mower is faster than yours", racing from Floyd's driveway to Sunset and back. For over ten years, it became a fun annual challenge with family and friends, resulting in fundraising for good causes with local island businesses as sponsors and hot dog sales.
   In 2009, Floyd was approached to resurrect the event, and he decided to do so to benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event. Well respected in the community as a long-time Realtor, Floyd Doring pulled together a committee was formed with Gary Roesch as his co-captain, along with Eric Berger, Skip Mazenauer, Peter Marston Jr., Mary Dunbar-Daluisio, Kevin and Dawn Cobello, Jim Dinsmore, and Tom Long. Now an annual Father's Day weekend event, and with a classic car show added in recent years, they have grown this event and raised over $20,000 to fight cancer. Floyd's goal is to see a cure in our lifetime, which will be made possible only by the support and great cooperation from local government and with the generosity of sponsorships. Today the community recognizes' Floyd's contribution to this great cause and salutes his competitive spirit that began this successful racing competition. Don't miss this year's race.

2014 Citizen of the Year Awards Ceremony is on Thursday, April 23rd at Byblos Niagara, 6:00 p.m. cocktails and 7:00 dinner. Tickets are $45 for adults or $18 for children. Call the Chamber office, 773-3651 for reservations.

Dana's Stylin Pets Grand Opening - April 2015

Owner Dana Carver in center of photo.

   Dana Carver of Dana's Stylin Pets has moved from the Grand Island Plaza to 1732 Grand Island Blvd. in the Theodore's Plaza. Carver celebrated with a ribbon cutting at her Grand Opening on Monday, April 13th. Many members of the chamber and elected officials were on hand to tour the new facility which offers grooming services and a small retail area.

49th Chamber Citizen of Year Sponsors - April 2015

Platinum: Niagara Frontier Publications, Byblos Niagara
Gold: Financial Trust Federal Credit Union
Silver: Dana's Stylin' Pets, Toshiba Business Solutions, BDL PARTS
Bronze: Island Ship Center, Realty USA - Liz Wilbert, Mr. Best Wrench, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Elderwood Healthcare at Grand Island, Grand Island Optical, Sam Long's Landscaping and Excavating

Chamber Citizen of Year Nominations Wanted - March 2015

    The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce has scheduled the 49th annual Citizen of the Year awards dinner on Thursday, April 23rd at Byblos Niagara. If you would like to recognize an individual or a business that have given greatly to the community, see the nomination form. The deadline is now March 16th at 5:00 p.m. Don't miss this opportunity to nominate your friend, neighbor or family member for this honor.

COY Master of Ceremonies Announced - February 2015

    The Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year awards committee is thrilled to announce the Master of Ceremonies for this year's April 23rd event is Western New York native, Kevin Sylvester.  He is a veteran broadcaster who has worked for the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres since 2005, and its broadcast network, the Sabres Hockey Network, serving as their road play-by-play announcer. Sylvester hosts a year-round talk show called Sabres Hockey Hotline on WGR-AM in Buffalo, is a color commentator for UB Bulls men's basketball and hosts a television series, Tee 2 Green, on WGRZ. A dynamic speaker and charismatic personality, you'll want to be sure to attend this year's Citizen of the Year Awards Dinner to celebrate the honorees and to enjoy Kevin Sylvester's commentary. Sylvester and his wife, Donna, have three children, and live in Depew, N.Y.

Chamber Citizen of Year Nominations Wanted - February 2015

       The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce has scheduled the 49th annual Citizen of the Year awards dinner on Thursday, April 23rd at Byblos Niagara. If you would like to recognize an individual or a business that have given greatly to the community, see the nomination form. The deadline is March 6th.