Amherst Chamber of CommerceAmherst Chamber of Commerce

  Small Business Awards Luncheon Honorees:

The term small business is not only a buzzword around the Chamber office; it is concept that has been woven into our national dialogue.  Its universal acceptance as a driver of economic development pervades political parties, media outlets, state boundaries and all levels of government. Everyone from presidential candidates to local leaders is quick to tout its benefits and encourage its success - and for good reason, the economic impact of small business is overwhelmingly positive. 

While it's important to endorse small business in the general sense, it's also important take the time to examine exceptional representations of these businesses.  The Amherst Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards Luncheon does just that.  It puts faces and meaning behind the two words that make up the backbone of our economy.


The seven 2012 honorees are no doubt successful.  They provide valuable products and services and employ Western New Yorkresidents.  It's clear these businesses add to the regional economy.  But they also add something else.  They enhance the character of the Western New York community.  From a century-old hardware store to a three-year old social media agency, the featured companies are original, diverse and inherently charming.  Their storied rise to success reminds us why we will always root for small business.

The 2012 Small Business Showcase and Awards Luncheon takes place on Friday, May 18, 2012 at Samuel's Grande Manor.  The Small Business Showcase begins at 10:30 a.m.  The Awards Luncheon begins promptly at noon. Plan to arrive early to register for the luncheon and visit our showcase vendors.  A ticket to the event includes admission into the showcase and luncheon. Click here to reserve your spot today! 

Small Business of the Year Mischler's Florist and Greenhouses began in 1944 when Frank and June Mischler decided to purchase greenhouses along South Forest Road.  The new business got its start pedaling freshly cut flowers grown in the greenhouses.  Today the business has transformed into a highly successful retail garden center.  The company added a storefront and altered its business model to accomdate the growing demand for annuals, perennials, garden plants and holiday flowering plants. Currently, three children and one grandchild of Frank and June work at Mischler's.  In total, the greenhouses and floristry operations are enough to keep 25 full-time and part-time staffers employed year round.  Mischler's has supported the Amherst Symphony Orchestra through an annual plant sale for over 50 years.  The family also holds a Hospice Spring Bouquet Sale and donates garden plants to local churches and community gardens on a regular basis.

President's Award honoree, The Mac Groups, Inc., was launched in 2009 by founder Sean Macaluso - a Facebook expert who got his start as a social media freelancer.  By anticipating the next trend in digital and social media marketing, Sean filled a niche in theBuffalo area, growing the Mac Groups into a full service agency.  Sean and his staff of five build Facebook applications for businesses while managing the day-to-day upkeep of their social media pages.  To date, the Mac Groups have taken on upwards of 100 clients, including the Buffalo Sabres, The Walden Galleria, Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., and most recently, Wahlburgers, a restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts owned by actor Mark Wahlberg and his family.

The Community Stewardship awardee, Urban Valet, began in 1995. About four years later, owner Eric Payne expanded the business to incorporate more dry cleaning services. Urban Valet Dry Cleaners was born.  The company now has three divisions including its three retail stores, seven home/office delivery routes, and its textile restorationdepartment to help those who experienced fire or water damage to their home. Urban Valet Dry Cleaners play an active role in the community, organizing an annual coat drive, prom dress drive and charity coat checks.  In addition to keeping wardrobes clean. the company makes sure they keep the environment clean as well. Urban Valet uses "Green Clean" initiatives like hanger reycling, paperless billing, professional wet-cleaning and the use of reusable garment bags.

Award for Excellence recipient, the Anthone Eye Center, was founded in 1981, by owner Dr. Kenneth Anothone, M.D.  The practice quickly gained national recognition when Dr. Anthone pioneered the "Crack and Stack" approach to cataract surgery as well as the "Anthone Enabler," an instrument he developed to use during the surgery.  Dr. Anthone treats his own patients with the cutting-edge procedure and has also gone on to teach it to surgeons throughout Europe, South America and China. He even performed eye surgery on Yogi the Gorilla and Mota the White Tiger at the Buffalo Zoo.  In 2009 Dr. Anthone launched his Eyes on America Foundation, a non-profit agency that sponsors "Mission Cataract Day."  On this day he provides free cataract surgery for the WNY region's uninsured.

Denton, Cottier & Daniels, the Family Owned Business honoree, was established in 1827 and has upheld a tradition of quality and excellence in music delivery ever since.  In addition to selling and servicing pianos, organs and keyboards, the store offers music lessons through community partnerships.   Current owner James Trimper Sr bought the shop in 1983 and now runs it with his children James Trimper Jr. and Michelle Wlosinski.  James and his family believe in the power of music and dedicate their life's work to cultivating it. Aside from providing memorable musical experiences for their customers, the Trimper family and staff organizes charity concerts and hosts numerous piano festivals, recitals and clinics at their location.

At Your Service awardee Ed Young's TrueValue Hardware evolved from the Young family's original hardware business, Miller Bros., which opened in 1919. These days, Ed Young's TrueValue Hardware is in the hands of Ted and Thomas Young.  Although Ed Young's TrueValue changed hands, name and location over the years, the principles on which it was founded remain ingrained in the company's culture almost a century later.  The mission of Ed Young's is to make the customer's job as easy and convenient as possible. Sales personnel pride themselves on being courteous, helpful and knowledgeable about all products and services in the store. Whether it's making a suggestion about a"do-it-yourself" project or traveling to a local home to perform an installation, the staff is eager to offer assistance.

Artpark, recipient of the Sponsor's Award presented by First Niagara, has been Western New York's premiere summer destination for the arts for almost 40 years.  The Earl W. Brydes Artpark is located on 150 scenic acres on the Niagara River Gorge in historic Lewiston, New York. Artpark presents a summer-long schedule of theater, visual and performing arts and a one-of-a-kind blend of nature and art. It is a non-profit arts and education organization which serves the people of Western New York andSouthern Ontario. Its 2,400-seat Mainstage Theater is home to area high school graduations, philharmonic concerts, Broadway musical productions and the popular "Tuesday in the Park presented by First Niagara" and "Coors Light Wednesdays"

These small businesses have made big contributions to the area, the Chamber and our local economy.  Help celebrate their achievements at the Chamber's awards luncheon.

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