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Chamber Names Annual Award Recipients

The 74th annual chamber awards will provide an opportunity to recognize those businesses that have gone above and beyond to make Southington a great place to live.

The following was submitted through the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce.

Don Drust Sr., owner of the Shop Rite grocery outlet on Queen Street, Curtis Robinson, local resident and entrepreneur, and long-time employee of Fun Wheels/iDeals Furniture Kevin Waskowicz will be among those honored at the Chamber’s 74th Annual Dinner Meeting and Dance on Saturday, April 21, at the .

Drust will receive the Riccio Brothers “Business Person of the Year award” for bringing his Shop Rite store to town and being a generous supporter of charitable events. He has served 44-years in the grocery industry and has owned his company since 1997. Shop-Rite filled the void left by Shaw’s and now the plaza is named after Shop Rite.  Drust and his family, two sons and his wife, are also in the business.

The Gail DePaolo Community Spirit award will be presented to Robinson who has become well-known in town even though his office at C&R Development is in South Windsor. An Alabama native who rose to prominence with a personal philosophy of assisting the less fortunate, Robinson has donated, without fanfare, to Bread for Life and the local YMCA, and has been rated among the top businessmen in the Northeast. He has received numerous awards for his generosity and has spoken before dozens of adult and youth groups on the success of his unique rise to success.

Waskowicz has been the backbone of operations at iDeals Furniture Surplus in Marion and has worked for Dave Cayer and Judy Miceli for 14 years including Custom Coach and other Fun Wheel enterprises. His attributes include friendliness, loyalty, professionalism and dependability.

The three will be honored along with Julie Chubet, Chamber Woman of the Year, and nine Beautification award winners. The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and runs until might. 

The theme is “Dirty Dancing,” a tribute to the famed movie of the early 1980s. The events committee is planning on special decorations including two vintage cars, pinball machines and music from the movie’s soundtrack as well as a special dance routine by Platinum Salsa who will portray the famed final dance routine of the movie.  Vintage candy will be provided to all guests.

Charlie Cocuzza, founder & owner of Omega Communications, will be installed as chairman of the board, succeeding Todd Fitzsimons.  Three new directors, Dave Pestillo, Atty. Andrew Denorfia and Al Monbaron, will be installed.  The Chamber will again present its gala raffle and the annual highlight of individual sundae bars, will be featured.  Tickets are the same as last year--$70 per person.

Selected for Beautification awards by the Nominating Committee: Smokin w/Chris Restaurant; Machiavelli’s; Ron & Nancy Serafino; Moe’s Southwest Grill; Spice Bar & Grill; Sno-White Power Equipment; Polish Falcons Club; Zingarella’s and American Credit Union.

The dinner has been sponsored by TD Bank for the past seven years. Other major sponsors include Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pilgrim Furniture City, Lovley Development, People’s United Bank, Calcagni Real Estate, New England Bank, Weston & Sampson Engineering and Attorney Tony Sheffy.

Other sponsors include: The Observer/Stepsaver; Custom Coach, Hawk’s Landing, Attorney Mark Sciota, The Herald Publishing Co., Dr. Kevin Greene, Elliott Insurance, Attorneys Martocchio & Olivieri.

Tickets are $70 per person and reservations are being accepted at the Chamber office.

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