Downtown group bestows 10 awards to businesses, volunteers

LANA MUTHLER/THE EXPRESS Downtown Lock Haven Inc. award winners honored Thursday night are, from left, seated, Andy Conner, Mark Wertz and Mike Yocum of Denney Electric Supply, Cornerstone Award; second row, Mike Flanagan of Clinton County Economic Partnership, Promotion Award; “Volunteers of the Year” Dave Harger, Jim Russo, Jennifer Hagaman and Bill Bechdel; Tom Keiffer of Small Business Development Center, Community Partnership Award; Tom Myers of Bald Eagle Beer Distributors, for economic restructuring; Jessica Baney of Addies Inc., for exterior design-visual merchandising, and Tamy Lamey of Emma’s Primitives, for interior design-visual merchandising.

­­­From Staff Reports

LOCK HAVEN – Surprises and congratulations for hard work, investment and making a living downtown were the themes to Thursday night’s awards ceremony sponsored by Downtown Lock Haven Inc.

The business district merchants’ group hosted a Time Out business networking event at the historic Masonic Temple on Main Street as sponsored by the Clinton County Economic Partnership.

More than 170 people registered for the event and the crowd pretty certainly reflected that number.

Krisy Meeker, a Downtown Lock Haven board member, was master of ceremonies, doling out 10 awards to businesses and individuals. She was assisted by Samantha Eisenhart, downtown manager, and Elizabeth Haubrick, a student at Lock Haven University working as an intern at the downtown office.

Downtown Lock Haven is a nonprofit, 501(c)3.

It has nearly 80 business members in the city business district with an office at 205 E. Main St.

DLH is an independent business membership agency that promotes economic and community development and is funded primarily by the City of Lock Haven, Clinton County and Lock Haven University.

Meeker herself was an award recipient in 2009 and said she was grateful for “the privilege to recognize some pretty outstanding people in our community.”

She also lauded the work of Eisenhart, an LHU graduate.

“Samantha came to us fresh out of LHU and when I say fresh – I mean fresh. She graduated on a Saturday and started employment with us the following week,” Meeker said. Her speech last night was as follows:

Community Partnership – This award is presented to an organization that has forged innovative and mutually beneficial relations with Downtown Lock Haven Inc. It is being presented to Lock Haven University’s Small Business Development Center. The SBDC does so much to sustain and grow the entrepreneurial spirit in the region and has been an integral partner with DLH Inc. The SBDC and DLH Inc. collaborate on many different endeavors – but one of the most recent successes has been developing a strong Small Business Saturday event during the holiday season. Small Business Saturday is an event to advocate people shop local! This event has grown significantly since it started a few years back and that has to do a lot with the collaboration we have with the SBDC. But most recently the LHU SBDC wrote a Neighborhood Assistant Program grant, which included DLH Inc. as a partner. Fortunately, the grant was awarded and will significantly impact our downtown. This is just one of the reasons why this community partner is so important. We are so very thankful for their continued support of our program and look forward to a bright future ahead with the Small Business Development Center. Accepting this award is Tim Keohane, director of the LHU SBDC.

Interior Design-Visual Merchanding – Emma’s Primitives is being honored for its beautiful interior of quaint little business located at 8 Bellefonte Ave. This award is designed to recognize retail businesses that demonstrate a commitment to good visual merchandising. Because it is so hard to pick just one recipient for and award such as this – we decided to break this into two categories. One is for Interior Design and the other is for Exterior Design. They have a little bit of everything in their beautiful store, from small furniture, decorative household items, lamps, wall hangings, kitchen items AND ………..coffee and ice cream! What more could you want in a shopping experience. Accepting this award is Tamy Lamey, Owner of Emma’s Primitives.

Exterior Design-Visual Merchandising – is being presented to Addie’s, Inc., which has evolved into jewelry and watch sales – as well as custom designed pieces and jewelry repair. As you are aware this award is designated to recognize retail businesses that demonstrate a commitment to good visual merchandising. We are recognizing Addie’s Inc. for their beautiful exterior window designs. The window displays are always well maintained, seasonal, and displays some of their beautiful creations in a very aesthetically pleasing way. Congratulations Addie’s – accepting this award is Jessica Baney, Manager of Addie’s Inc.

Promotions – This award is given to a member business that actively participates in downtown promotions. Hands down, the Clinton County Economic Partnership, hands down, emulates what we intended this award to be. Weekly, monthly and annually they diligently update their membership on events in our local area. DLH Inc.’s relationship with the Economic Partnership is critical and on behalf of the Board of DLH Inc. I sincerely thank you for all the support and recognition you provide to our organization. Accepting this award is Mike Flanagan, CEO of the Clinton County Economic Partnership.

Economic Restructuring – This award recognizes the private investment made by a business or property owner. It is based on business investment figures and the extent of renovations. Keeping our business district looking good is critical to the betterment of Lock Haven. Again, it was difficult to chose just one recipient for this award – so……we picked two!

Our first recipient of this award is Bald Eagle Distributors Inc. owned by Tom Myers and Joe Dicello Jr. Anyone who buys their beverages at the location on North Grove Street will notice big changes to their 1958 retail warehouse. It now includes a remodeled retail area that has created a unique and pleasant shopping environment with everyone’s favorite brands. I would like to thank Bald Eagle Distributors for investing in our community. Accepting this award is Tom Myers, co-owner of Bald Eagle Distributors Inc. Applause

Our second recipient unfortunately could not be with us this evening, but we still want to honor Masorti Enterprises, Inc. Mastori’s is well known in the region for their significant investment in their properties and businesses. They do it all from providing quality residential and commercial rentals; auto repairs, and now a new arcade. Quality residential and commercial rentals are key to the betterment of our region. Thank you, Masorti family, for your continued investment in our community, it has not gone unnoticed.

Volunteers of the Year – This next award means a lot to me because in 2009 I was fortunate enough to be presented this award and it still sits very proudly in my office. It is the Volunteer of the Year award. As I am sure most of you are aware, we recently completed our 8th Annual Hometown Hero banner program. This program has become a staple in our community, but a program that has displayed and honored over 2,200 banners cannot come together without the help of MANY very dedicated volunteers. So ….. at this time, I would like to individually honor a few of these dedicated volunteers that served on the 2019 Hometown Hero Committee.

Bill Bechdel – Bill has lived in the area most of his life and has been a leading advocate for veteran affairs throughout the region. He served as a Combat Engineer in the US Army from 1981-1984 and was stationed in Fort Polk Louisiana. Bill was the Director of Clinton County Veterans Affairs for many years and has been an essential part of the Hometown Heroes ceremonies. Bill’s guidance and expertise have been essential in the planning and execution of this important Downtown Lock Haven event which takes place every two years. In addition to his Hometown Heroes service, Bill has committed countless hours volunteering for many community-based organizations. He currently serves as the coordinator for Toys for Tots North Bend and is a member of VETS+ and the Beech Creek American Legion.

Jennifer Hagaman – In 2019, Jenn was named Veteran Affairs Director for Clinton County and prior to this position served as the Veterans Service Officer. Jenn is an Air Force veteran and a longtime county resident. She has volunteered thousands of hours to the community through working aid stations for various runs, building ramps for veterans, cutting firewood for veterans, helping clean homes as well as helping with home repairs, and driven thousands of hours taking veterans to Doctor appointments.This year she was in charge of the Toys for Tots program where thousands of toys are distributed to children throughout the county each December.

Dave Harger – Dave has been a fixture in veteran’s activities throughout the county for many years. His passion for veteran causes is unsurpassed and he has dedicated many hours to honor their commitment and service to this nation. He is the President and CEO of Harger Utility Contractors, chairman of the Clinton County Economic Partnership and holds the post of Quartermaster of VFW Post 1630. Dave served in the Army as a 1st Sargent and is an Iraq War veteran. He is currently leading a community volunteer group that is advocating the redesign of Veterans Park in Lock Haven.

Jim Russo – Jim is the owner of M&R Contracting and currently serving on the boards of the Clinton County Economic Partnership Board andClinton County Solid Waste Authority, plus the Advisory Board at the Keystone Central School District Career & Technology Center.

Jim is a huge advocate for veterans affair. M&R Contracting sponsors several Veteran based organizations and fundraisers every year. He and his wife Sheila have hosted retreat weekends for many Navy Seals at their home up Pine Creek for the last six years. He truly feels it is his honor and privilege to help whenever possible and has always felt a true sense of gratitude to the men and women in our military. Jim’s dedication to Clinton County is well known and he is always willing to volunteer when asked.

Cornerstone – Our final award of the evening is a legacy award honoring longstanding businesses in our downtown. We call it the Cornerstone Award. This elite award has been designed to recognize a business that continues to play a major role in downtown as a long-standing business in our community. This year’s award-winning business is Denney Electric Supply. This store has been a staple business in Lock Haven since 1990. That’s 30 years folks! It is one of nine Denney Electric stores across the region which together employ 100 people, including our local team – Mark Wertz, Andy Connor, Wes Miller, Ron Jones, Sharon Beach and Mike Yocum. I was told that this past year, the entire company, as a whole, made a historic achievement: It eclipsed the $60 million sales mark. That is certainly an achievement and we are so lucky to have them occupy a storefront in our downtown district. Please join me in inviting a few members of the staff of Denney Electric to the podium to receive their award – Mark Wertz, Andy Conner and Mike Yocum.

That concludes our award ceremony portion of the evening – I would like to thank Lodge 199, F&AM members for allowing us to hold this event in this historic building, our co-sponsor for the event the Clinton County Historic Society, Stella A’s for the delicious food, as well as The Lock Haven Express for its financial and endless support of our organization. Thank you for coming and safe travels home.