May 23, 2016 08:00AM
By Ashley Kus
The Berlin Citizen
BERLIN- The town celebrated ten local businesses at Casa Mia at The Hawthorne Wednesday night as part of the 15th annual Economic Development Awards ceremony.
“You make our community whole and your work is so very important and I just want you to know that everyone in the legislature appreciates that very much,” said Senator Terri Gerratana.
The awards kicked off with Gerratana presenting state proclamations to the recipients. Mayor Mark Kaczynski and Town Manager Denise McNair then presented the honored businesses with plaques. Among the businesses awarded were several new establishments. Leone’s Bakery took home New Business of the Year in the Retail/Restaurant category while manufacturer Fenn-Torin, which relocated to town, was given the award in the manufacturing category. Both businesses came into Berlin last year. Nest Egg Auctions was another business that relocated and was awarded with the Small Business of the Year in the specialty category.
“We’re trying to make sure we have a well-coordinated effort with any new businesses coming to town,” said Mayor Mark Kaczynski.
Business of the Year went to Pro Natural Physicians which expanded its business in the winter to Webster Square Road. Their facility was built in a new area of the street called Stick Village. The building is across from the plaza which houses Ocean State Job Lot, which was awarded Developer of the Year. Kaczynski commented on the positive impact that Ocean State Job had made on the plaza.
“Since you took over it’s looking much better, now it’s going somewhere,” he said.
It was not just the more recent businesses that got a nod, a handful of other local places were recognized for their work. Premier Limousine won the Family Business Award.
“It’s exciting for us,” said Lori Rocha, officer manager.
Tavern on the Trax was another business that, while not new, was acknowledged for its consistent improvements and exceptional service. The restaurant received the Beautification Award.
“The location has had its ups and downs and we want to bring it back on the upswing,” said owner Craig Lentini.
Other awards that were given included; Regional Economic Development Award which went to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, and Small Business of the Year in the service category which went to 568 Systems. For the first time a local organization, rather than an individual, was honored as Volunteer Organization of the Year. The Friends of Berlin Animal Control took home the win and now hope it will get the public’s attention.
“It’s wonderful, we help so much,” said secretary Carolyn Lauro, “Maybe this will give us a boost, we always need donations.”
Many of the businesses expressed their gratitude for the recognition and Kaczynski gave a shout out to the host business of the ceremony,
“The Casa Mia is a town landmark,” he said, “It’s events like these that help everyone.”