Chamber award winners named

By Ed Harris


The Southington Chamber of Commerce has recently released the names of its service awards recipients, who will be honored at the organization’s annual dinner next month.

The honorees include Vinny Nanfito, recipient of the Riccio Brothers Business Person of the Year, Jerry Brick, receiving the Chamber’s Gail DePaolo Community Spirit honor and the Ann Hauver Employee of the Year is Jon Stairs of Custom Coach.

“Vinny Nanfito and Jerry Brick are men that exemplify outstanding unselfish service to the community and Jon Stairs is justification that old-fashioned employee dedication still exists,” said Southington Chamber of Commerce President Art Secondo. “These Chamber awards are meant to inspire others and show that our business community is always doing its share to make Southington a better place to live and work.”

The Chamber’s nominating committee chose Nanfito from a field of nominees based on his numerous business and community involvements. Nanfito founded V. Nanfito Roofing & Siding and has operated the business for the past 48 years.

He has been an active member of the Chamber, Kiwanis Club, UNICO, Sons of Italy, Knights of Columbus and a Shriner for the past 21 years.

Nanfito also sponsors numerous athletic teams and is the business manager of the Raya Clinic and Eterna Vita Med Spa in Southington.

“I am humbled and honored to be named Greater Southington’s business person of the year,” Nanfito said. “This was totally unexpected and I am very thankful to the Chamber board and Art Secondo for giving me this award. I am grateful to be the recipient of this award.”

Riccio Brothers Business Person of the Year award is in honor of Ralph and Vito Riccio, two distinguished civic leaders who owned a downtown clothing store for many years.

Brick was selected for the community service based on his contributions to the town. The award is in honor the late Gail DePaolo, a community activist and former downtown merchant.

He became the general manager of Lake Compounce in 2004 and has played a major role in the revitalization of the park, nearly tripling its annual attendance.  He also coaches youth sports and has been active in United Way, local schools and the American Cancer Society.

“I am very humbled,” said Brick, noting that there are many other worthy recipients in towns that donate their time and effort in town. “It’s important to me that there are people in town that want to help out.”

Jon Stairs has worked at Custom Coach for the past 14 years starting as auto service specialist. He starting his career after graduating high school and is now in charge of auto installations, restorations and interior detailing.

“It’s a great honor,” Stairs said. “It’s something I wasn’t expecting.”

The award is in honor of Ann Hauver, who had retired after 27 years as the Chamber’s secretary.

Eleven Chamber Beautification Awards will also be presented, including Worldwide Liquors on Queen Street, CC Carver’s, Cork & Brew, North Main street, Spartans II Restaurant, Meriden-Waterbury Road; Richard Chevrolet, Route 10, Town Municipal Center, North Main street; UConn Health Center, West Street; Bloom Yoga, North Summitt street; Back Nine Tavern, Savage street, Raya Clinic and Eterna Vita Med Spa, Queen street and Saint’s Restaurant, Queen street.

The awards are given to business owners who have improved their overall appearance or constructed new buildings.  The developers of many of those properties, Florian Properties and Lovley Development, will also be recognized.

Secondo said that the high number of Chamber Beautification Awards is an indication that business local owners realize the importance of building improvements, from out the outside to inside.

“We’re proud to recognize their investments,” Secondo said.

The Chamber will also honor the volunteer committees of the artificial turf and drive-in theater as well as the Town for appropriating the funding for both projects.

The Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce will honor recipients of its annual service awards at its seventy-fifth  Annual Dinner/Meeting on Saturday, April 20 at the Aqua Turf Club from 6 p.m. to midnight.  The event theme is a Hawaiian Luau and will feature authentic decorations and Island dance demonstration.

Attorney Anthony Sheffy will be installed as the 2013 Chairman of the Chamber Board at the dinner succeeding Charlie Cocuzza of Omega Solutions. Melissa Ericksen of A Balanced Life will be the Chamber’s new vice chairman and a slate of new directors will be announced.

James Garstang will be honored as the chamber’s volunteer of the yea with Rosemary DeFeo as the Chamber Women’s Committee volunteer of the year.

“Rosemary Defeo helped to organize our Chamber Womens group in 2004 and has been a leader since,” Secondo said of the Chamber Women’s volunteer of the year. “She is a perfect example of being a true volunteer for good causes.”

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