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The Neighborhood Achievement Awards annually honor the individuals, businesses and groups who share SBS's commitment to building neighborhoods, creating jobs, and opening opportunities for New Yorkers.

The Small Business of the Year Award
The Adaptive Reuse/Preservation Award
The Cultural Award
The Leadership Award
The M/WBE Advocate of the Year Award
The Norman Buchbinder Placemaking Award
The Partnership Award
The Workforce Innovation Award

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Small Business of the Year

The Small Business of the Year Award honors an entrepreneur whose business has significantly improved its neighborhood or demonstrated outstanding commitment to the community through offering new or enhanced products and services, generating new activity on a commercial strip, attracting new businesses to the area, or providing exceptional employment opportunities.

Saxelby Cheesmongers

Saxelby Cheesemongers

  "Saxelby Cheesemongers is thrilled to be among the award winners this year!  We hope to continue delighting our New York City neighbors with artisan, farmstead cheese, and strengthening the relationships of talented cheesemakers and enthusiastic consumers."
Founded in 2006 by Anne Saxelby, Saxelby Cheesemongers has become an important part of the exciting, Lower East Side food scene. Since its inception, Saxelby has been critical in revitalizing the Essex Street Market, which was in disarray and almost entirely vacant several years ago. Today, the market houses several high quality food stalls and specialty shops, largely as a result of Saxelby’s influence. Saxelby has been at the forefront of educating New Yorkers about sustainable cheese practices, as well as raising the profile of American cheeses. The store primarily sells products from small scale cheese makers in the northeastern United States, sourcing its cheeses from roughly 30 dairies. Supporting these local small businesses and building strong relationships between farmers and consumers have been vital components of Saxelby’s mission and, ultimately, its success. This past year, Saxelby expanded with a new space in Red Hook that will serve as a home office and a facility that includes a cheese “cave” (temperature-controlled room set to ideal cheese-aging conditions). Saxelby will also be curating and supplying the cheese selection at Épicerie Boulud, the new fancy food shop from Chef Daniel Boulud, opening on West 64th Street this month.
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Cheryl’s Global Soul

Cheryl’s Global Soul

  "While it is great to receive this recognition the best part of going to work every day is not just doing what I enjoy, but seeing the familiar faces of the neighbors and regulars, some of which are 4 and 5 years old, about the same age as Cheryl’s, who are growing along with us. Cheryl's staff is as diverse, global, and warm as the community it embraces. The success of achieving what I set out to be—that comfortable place for any time of day—is what is most rewarding to me."
Cheryl Smith opened Cheryl’s Global Soul in Prospect Heights in 2006 to fulfill her dream of opening a restaurant that “would be a staple in the community, a haven for artists and writers, and contribute to the vitality and prosperity of the neighborhood.” Before she opened her restaurant’s doors, there were few venues for the creative patrons of the Brooklyn Public Library and visitors to the Brooklyn Museum to dine. With the restaurant’s addition came a warm, welcoming space in the community that features global, home-style comfort food, reminiscent of Smith’s Jamaican heritage and serves as a gallery for local artists to showcase their work. The restaurant employs 17 people and is part of the Washington Avenue Merchant’s Association, an organization that seeks to engage in community-building activities in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights. In addition to running Cheryl’s Global Soul, Smith also hosted a show on the Food Network, Melting Pot, and works with ACCION USA, a microfinance organization, and the Tory Burch Foundation, where she mentors small business owners. Smith plans on opening a second restaurant in Brooklyn and is also working on entering the retail market to be able to sell her food to people around the country.
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Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop

Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop

  "Our community is truly what has made us so successful. For seventy-eight years, we have grown with the families of our neighborhood and watched each generation continue to bring their cars in for care and repair. We adapt to the changes in the neighborhood while maintaining the integrity and mission of our business. No customer is just a number at the Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop—everyone is a member of our family and our community."
Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop was founded in 1933 and has been a landmark in the Flushing community ever since. Since 2007, the shop has been run by Audra Fordin, the fourth generation to operate the business and the first female to hold this position. Fordin has renewed her commitment to serving the Flushing community’s auto needs with an emphasis on continuing the family tradition of business excellence and providing innovative programs in education and job training. Along these lines, Fordin created a monthly community clinic for women (it’s open to men too) called “What Women Auto Know” to teach women about maintaining a car so that it has a longer life with less repairs. To date, more than 125 people have participated in the free workshop. Fordin also fixes the cars of members of her community who cannot always pay the full amount or, sometimes, anything. In the future, Fordin hopes to embrace new technology by hosting a charging station for hybrid and electric cars. She is also in the midst of developing a program to encourage young women in foster care who are aging out of the system to consider a career in auto repair.
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Gourmet Guru

Gourmet Guru

  "As the cities first all organic and natural retail distributor founded in 1996, Gourmet Guru is pleased to serve as an incubator for small local farmers and producers looking to go to market in the culinary capital of the world. Being located in the Bronx—which leads the city in unemployment, asthma and obesity—we are proud to be a beacon of light for better things to come in the neighborhood by helping to lead the way to reverse these numbers. We have created opportunities for 25 new jobs within the past year since we built and moved to our LEED Certified Distribution Center in July 2010 –this facility has lowered our carbon footprint by 39%. We also emphasize health and wellness both for our team members and our community by supporting healthy lifestyle initiatives including our Wellness Wednesday Program which serves up our team members a healthy lunch, our Biggest Loser Weight loss contest and education of school children on the virtues of eating healthy, and organic foods. While we still have much work to do we are proud of the progress we have made both in our neighborhood and towards our mission statement of 'helping make the world a better place to eat'."
Gourmet Guru was founded by Jeff Lichtenstein in 1997 with a focus on cutting-edge natural and organic specialty food. The company has evolved into a direct importer, producer, and marketer, with a core customer base consisting of high-end natural and gourmet food retailers and upscale restaurants. The company recently completed its new, state-of-the-art facility, which adheres to U.S. Buildings Council and Leadership (USGBC) in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards. Despite the extra costs that “green” building involves, Lichtenstein felt it important to incorporate these environmentally-friendly measures. Gourmet Guru employs about 50 people and regularly hosts events for employees and area residents to teach about the benefits of eating healthy, such as company-paid-for Wednesday Wellness Luncheons.
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CLR Printing, Plus

CLR Printing, Plus

  "We believe in reaching out to the small business owner or new entrepreneur in our community to help grow their business. We try to connect them with our High school students looking for work in hope they will be our future entrepreneurs. At CLR Printing plus we are proud to receive this award."
CLR Printing, Plus is a full-service print distributor located in the Dongan Hills neighborhood of Staten Island. The company works from start to finish on client projects, from helping them choose paper stock and finishing options for the most effective way to complete a job to offering an in-house design service to help clients operate at their full potential. Carol DiMarco founded CLR Printing, Plus about three years ago and registered the business as a certified M/WBE. She is an active member of the Staten Island business community, joining the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and developing strong relationships with the Business Outreach Center and the West Brighton Community Local Development Corporation. DiMarco also started “Career Coaches Student Mentoring Program,” which assists high school students at McKee High School on Staten Island with the job search process. The program has been so successful in its two years of operation that she plans on expanding it to other local high schools. In addition, DiMarco started the Dongan Hills Merchant Society, bringing together businesses in her area. This has led to increased business, with members using local businesses for their specific business needs.
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Adaptive Reuse/Preservation Award

The Adaptive Reuse/Preservation Award honors a business or organization that has transformed, preserved or restored an underutilized space into a vibrant re-adapted development, serving the diverse needs of the local community, delivering tangible benefits for the neighborhood or contributing to the overall identity of the neighborhood.

Red Hook Winery

Red Hook Winery

  "The goal of The Red Hook Winery is to inspire New Yorkers to create something that they can share with their community. We hope to remind the world of the great spirit and rich creative energy New York has always had and should never lose, while spotlighting, and creating easy access to, our local Wine Grape growing region: Long Island."
The Red Hook Winery, located in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, makes wine exclusively from grapes grown in New York. Owner Mark Snyder, a lifelong Brooklyn resident, envisioned the winery as a place that would draw attention to the Red Hook neighborhood, to local wines, the local growing region, and to Brooklyn's history of winemaking. All aspects of the winemaking process take place in Red Hook, from destemming and crushing the fruit, to fermenting, to aging in barrels, and finally, bottling. The winery provides full-time employment for Brooklyn residents and, seasonally, employs neighbors from the Red Hook Housing Projects. The winery was designed and built by a Brooklyn carpenter/builder who restored and remodeled a former bronze foundry located in the midst of Red Hook's historic shipbuilding and ship repairing area. The physical work of converting this space into a working winery included a complete repouring of concrete floors for proper drainage, restoring crumbling foundations to support heavy barrels, and updating power and water systems to support a small commercial winery. Now in the midst of only its third vintage, the wines made in Red Hook have received warm reviews from NYC-based restaurants, wineshops, critics, and retail customers.
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Cultural Award

The Cultural Award recognizes a cultural institution that has made a major contribution to a neighborhood, generating economic activity and the growth of small business while employing local workers and adding to the artistic and educational fabric of New York City.

Pregones Theater

Pregones Theater

  "In the 1980s, Pregones succeeded in building a diverse audience for the performing arts where others thought there was no way or good reason to do it: in the South Bronx. 32 years on, we continue to create great theater and present artists from all over the world for people in and beyond The Bronx. We are a highly esteemed local arts business and property owner, and we are as fired up as on the first day about making our neighborhood into a cultural destination of citywide appeal."
The Pregones Touring Puerto Rican Theatre Collection, Inc., known as the Pregones Theater, is home to a vital network of professional Latino actors, musicians, dancers, writers, directors, designers, and technicians. Working as an ensemble, this group of artists has since 1979 produced close to 70 premieres and presented more than 200 visiting artists. The organization provides the local community with year-round arts programming, run by award-winning Latino artists and conducted in Spanish and English, including performances, workshops, exhibits, and many arts-learning opportunities. Its theater facility on Walton Avenue is outfitted with a subtitles-digital display for dual-language text translations, assistive listening devices for the hard of hearing, wheelchair street-level access, plus related patron and artist services. All of its events are accessibly priced, with additional discounts and incentives available to low-income households. It also brings free arts events to other venues throughout the Bronx. Pregones currently employees 21 New Yorkers in full- and part-time positions, several of whom live in the surrounding neighborhood. In the three years following the inauguration of its new theater, Pregones overall New York City audiences grew by 292 percent.
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Leadership Award

The Leadership Award honors an individual or organization who has demonstrated outstanding leadership over the course of their career in advancing the development or overall economic welfare of a New York City neighborhood. Candidates may be from the business or civic community, and must demonstrate success at bringing together different stakeholders.

Dr. Norbert Sander, The Armory Foundation

Dr. Norbert Sander, The Armory Foundation

  "The mission of the Armory Foundation is to provide a first class setting for the children of New York City, to explore the great sport of track & field. This commitment often leads to academic success and a well earned place in the college ranks for every last student-athlete who runs in this great facility. We remain fully dedicated to the overall health of our youngsters: physically, mentally and morally through good sportsmanship. Over 125,000 youth compete at the Armory each year."
Dr. Norbert Sander is the founder and Executive Director of the Armory Foundation, a nonprofit corporation hosting the New Balance Track and Field Center. Dr. Sander was a high school track star who practiced at the old 168th Street Armory. He won a scholarship to Fordham University, and later, Albert Einstein Medical School. In 1974, he won the NYC Marathon, the only resident of New York City ever to claim this title. As “Doc Sander” grew a successful practice in internal medicine in Manhattan and City Island in the 70s and 80s, the Armory fell into a state of decline and became a temporary shelter for the homeless. He formed the Armory Foundation, a non-profit corporation in 1991. In 1993, Dr. Sander convinced New York City to give him the keys to his beloved Armory to rebuild and to improve the track and field. Today, the Armory Foundation is the home of the New Balance Track and Field Center, the busiest indoor track facility in the country, hosting over 100 track and field meets each year for more than 125,000 athletes from across the country. The Armory Foundation also houses the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and the Charles B. Rangel Learning and Technology Center, two inspirational institutions in their own right. Close to 2000 high school students practice at the Armory each week. The Armory has become an anchor to a host of businesses in the neighborhood and, in the past 20 years, there has been a visible increase in new restaurants, small markets and support-service retailers.
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Elba Pichardo, Washington Heights BID

Elba Pichardo, Washington Heights BID

  "The Washington Heights Business Improvement District works to cultivate the creativity, diversity and entrepreneurial spirit of the commercial corridor in order to promote prosperity in the community. After working with the BID for over 11 years, I am proud that the small businesses of our community are the backbone of a healthy and vibrant district. The Washington Heights BID provides a platform for small businesses to grow and reach their potential."
Elba Pichardo is a Vice President of Banco Popular North America and a Branch Manager in Washington Heights. An expert in business finance, she represents Banco Popular as a member on the Board of Directors of the Washington Heights Business Improvement District (BID). At a time when the BID was in disrepute and disarray, she stepped forward as the new President and assumed leadership of the efforts to successfully reorganize the BID. As other resigned from the BID, Ms. Pichardo worked closely with elected officials to terminate certain relationships, develop new leadership, re-invigorate the Board and to re-establish credibility among the business and property owners who make up the BID. In the face of news articles questioning the integrity of previous leaders, Ms. Pichardo forged ahead, putting her reputation on the line in convincing the BID constituency that participating was now worth the investment of time and money. The results of her leadership are palpable: there is a new enthusiasm among the Board of Directors; there has been a tremendous response from the business community and other local organizations to BID outreach and widespread participation in recent events; the streets are cleaner and the work of improving both the organization and the community is enthusiastically ongoing.
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Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Advocate of the Year

The M/WBE Advocate of the Year Award honors an individual, business, or organization whose leadership within the M/WBE community has encouraged entrepreneurship among other minorities and women and whose success has strengthened New York City's small business landscape.

John F. Robinson, National Minority Business Council

John F. Robinson, National Minority Business Council

  "Minority Business Development Advocacy, the creation of jobs in local communities by small, minority business owners is good for the community, good for the city, good for the state and good for the federal economy. Minority business advocacy is important in helping to create legal and economic structures in our society to help maintain and grow enterprises that can foster future generations of business ownership."
John F. Robinson is a co-founder and the current President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Minority Business Council (NMBC). A 39-year-old membership organization serving minority, women and veteran-owned businesses, the NMBC provides direct services to diverse businesses in the areas of procurement, education and training, international trade, advocacy and business development. The NMBC has gained the respect and support of the corporate community by offering its members management expertise and entrepreneurial opportunities they desperately need to develop viable businesses. As a result of Mr. Robinson's leadership of the NMBC over the last thirty years, thousands of small, minority and women-owned businesses have benefited by the business development services that the organization offers.
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Claire Scanlon, BNY Mellon

Claire Scanlon, BNY Mellon

  "Our mission is to help level the playing field and connect diverse suppliers to business opportunities within BNY Mellon. Helping smaller businesses grow and thrive reflects our strong commitment to social responsibility and truly creating a "neighborhood" in the communities where we work and live. Some of our established relationships are more than 20 years in the making so we share this recognition with our suppliers and look forward to increasing our commitments in the years ahead."
Claire Scanlon is a Vice President at BNY Mellon in its Supplier Development Office; she has been a BNY Mellon associate since 1992. Over the past 16 years, she has worked to advance the firm's corporate social responsibilities as they relate to the incorporation of minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses into the firm's supply chain. The Supplier Development Office serves to promote the financial viability of minority- women- and veteran-owned companies. Ms. Scanlon works to identify BNY Mellon’s needs for products and services and then identifies appropriate firms to meet those needs. She also participates or officiates on numerous professional boards, including the NY/NJ Minority Purchasing Council, the National Minority Business Council, the National Associate of Veteran Business, the National Association of Women Business Owners and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She has received awards from DiversityPlus, the National Minority Business Council, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Minority Business Development Association, the National Hispanic Business Group, and the NY/NJ Minority Purchasing Council. BNY Mellon is a founding partner of the Corporate Alliance Program.
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Norman Buchbinder Placemaking Award

The Norman Buchbinder Placemaking Award honors an individual, business or organization that has increased the visibility, stature, and overall identity of a neighborhood by highlighting and enhancing its look and feel, thereby increasing visitation or economic activity. The award is presented in memory of Norman Buchbinder, a co-founder of the Union Square partnership, the city’s first Business Improvement District (BID), and founder of the Village Alliance BID.

Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education

Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education

  "Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education is honored to receive this award. For the last 76 years we have been committed to ensuring that the youth and families in our neighborhood have a safe haven. With our new Center - the result of a dynamic public/private partnership with the NYC Department of Education - we look forward to continuing to be a place for the neighborhood to access their creativity, achieve continued success and explore their community and beyond."
When Casita Maria was founded 76 years ago, it was the first charitable organization to serve the Hispanic population of New York City, offering after-school enrichment and recreational programs for the children of newly-arrived families from Puerto Rico and Spanish speaking countries. In September 2009, Casita Maria opened a new 90,000 square-foot Center for Arts and Education. The Center is a place where the creative talents of the community can be cultivated and showcased. Its programs foster academic achievement and develop skills that lead to jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. Four hundred students participate in Casita’s after-school programs—getting help with their homework, singing in the choir, creating science and art projects. They develop confidence, learn about their own creativity and imagination and become contributing members of their communities. Casita's arts program brings hundreds of people to Hunts Point for free performances and engaging exhibitions. Casita is making the neighborhood safer, encouraging people from other boroughs to visit the South Bronx and encouraging the neighborhood’s cultural revival.
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Partnership Award

The Partnership Award honors a joint endeavor between businesses, or civic, commercial, or development organizations, whose partnership has brought new benefit and services to the community. Examples include local hiring programs, business/education partnerships, cultural events, the rehabilitation of a park or public space, or a unique community outreach effort.

The Chinatown Business Improvement District Formation Campaign

The Chinatown Business Improvement District Formation Campaign

  "Dedicated community, civic and business leaders worked tirelessly to unite the Chinatown community in support of a proposed Business Improvement District to help improve the quality of life for people who live here, who work here and who visit here. We worked for years to inform our neighbors of the benefits of a BID; to overcome their fear of the unknown and to earn their trust that we had their best interest at heart. The support of the people of Chinatown is at once gratifying and humbling."
After a 20-year campaign, the Chinatown Partnership LDC, the BID Steering Committee, and local supporters will soon succeed in bringing a business improvement district to Chinatown. Through extensive outreach, education and relationship building, the Chinatown BID Formation Campaign has defeated hostile opposition. The Campaign exercised flexibility: to lower the cost of the assessment fee, the team spread the cost to a larger service area. The result is that the Chinatown BID will have one of the lowest assessment rates in the City. Additionally, the Campaign demonstrated to the community the value of clean streets, making dramatic improvements in the neighborhood: carting away 16 million lbs of refuse; power-washing 9,000 storefronts, tidying up more than 650,000 trash bags, clearing thousands of corner caps and hydrants during snowstorms; abating odors; and removing graffiti and stickers. The campaign also implemented a comprehensive wayfinding program to draw visitors to the neighborhood. The Chinatown BID is expected to be operational by July, 2011.
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Workforce Innovation

The Workforce Innovation Award honors an organization or business that, through pioneering a creative and effective approach to workforce development (e.g. training programs, recruitment and hiring), has developed a model that has enhanced their community and provided a model for others to emulate.

The Entrepreneur’s Space-An Incubator for Food & Business

The Entrepreneur’s Space-An Incubator for Food & Business

  "Small businesses need to be nurtured. The Queens Economic Development Corporation has always understood this and has a history of providing programs for small businesses for over 30 years. The development of the Entrepreneur's Space affirms our commitment to people seeking support through businesses counseling and work space, so they can achieve their dreams. Since we opened the Entrepreneur’s Space we have helped over 100 diverse clients launch or expand their businesses. It is these small businesses that are the backbone of our City’s economy."
The Entrepreneur’s Space-An Incubator for Food & Business was initiated by the Queens Economic Development Corporation in 2010. It consists of a commercial kitchen open 24/7 to food manufacturers, caterers, and bakers, office spaces for businesses to utilize, and classroom and conference rooms. Clients in both the kitchen area and the offices have access to business counseling, technical assistance, and networking opportunities. The goal of the space is to provide a venue where people with limited capital can start and grow a business to ultimately create jobs. Formerly used as a job training site operated by the Consortium for Worker Education, the space is now host to 100 business clients employing more than 150 people. The space has also recently partnered with other organizations like FEGS, Long Island City Business Development Corp., and NYC Business Solutions to offer programs and services to its aspiring entrepreneurs.
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Special Thanks To Our Generous Sponsors
Citi and Con Edison

And The 2011 Selection Committee

Dr. Mitchell Moss
Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning
New York University Wagner School of Public Service

Eileen Auld
New York State Community Relations Director
Citi

Megan Burke
Chief of Staff
NYC Department of Small Business Services

Robert Reffkin
Vice President, Principal Investment Area
Goldman Sachs

Frances Resheske
Senior Vice President of Public Affairs
Con Edison

Maria Torres
Chief of Staff
NYC Economic Development Corporation