The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting and Business of the Year Awards Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Libby’s Café + Bar to recap the year and award businesses for excellence. About 85 people attended the event, during which seven awards were given to local Siesta Key businesses for their commitment to the community and for a job well done.
“There is multiple criteria for getting these awards,” said Kevin Cooper, executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. “We want to know what businesses are doing in the community to be good stewards of the community and to preserve what makes it unique and inviting, not only for businesses, but for residents and tourists alike.”
2012 Local Business of the Year
Abel’s Ice Cream
Owners: Bill and Norma Abel
Opened: April 2010
Location: 1886 Stickney Point Road
Hours of Operation: 1 to 10 p.m.
Bill and Norma Abel moved in 2009 to Sarasota from Western New York to retire. “We are just not ready for the retirement world, I had to keep doing something in business to keep the juices flowing,” Abel’s Ice Cream owner Bill Abel said. They decided to open a mom-and-pop ice cream shop, where they also make handmade chocolates, that they could upkeep without it growing too large. Bill Abel saw the need for award-winning, quality ice cream in Sarasota and opened Abel’s Ice Cream, 1886 Stickney Point Road, in April 2010. Since that time he has become involved with the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and the community. “You want to give back to the community that is supporting you,” Abel said. Samples of Abel’s Ice Cream can often be found at charitable events and community fundraisers. The Abels were delighted and shocked when they found out they received the award. The Abels are appreciative of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and everything it has done to help their business grow.
2012 Business Person of the Year Cheryl Gaddie
Business: CG Designs
Location: 5032 Calle Minorga
Hours of Operation: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment
Cheryl Gaddie smiled with delight and surprise as she received the award for Business Person of the Year. The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce recognized her commitment to the community and hours of work. Gaddie opened CG Designs, her interior-design office in 2005 in the Village. She started her interior-design business in 1988 in North Dakota but liked the idea of designing in a different climate when she moved here. “A lot of people think interior design is about color and texture and material,” Gaddie says, “but it’s more about making you feel that your space is the most important and most calming.” Gaddie feels her business is an advocate of what it takes for a business to not only survive but also flourish. She continues to work for the community and give back because “it takes a whole village to be a village.”
2012 Large Business of the Year Award
Cunningham Property Management Co.
Owners: Sharon Cunningham, Kevin Mattoni and Richard Cunningham
Location: 1030 Seaside Drive
Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cunningham Property Management has been operating on Siesta Key since 1985. Its 47-employee operation manages vacation rental, condominiums and time-share properties. It received the 2012 Large Business of the Year Award for its commitment to the community and extensive amount of volunteer hours. “It’s the recognition of the people in the community,” said partner Kevin Mattoni. “I also think it’s validation that you do business in a professional and ethical way.” Sharon Cunningham moved to Sarasota from Southern Ohio for the weather and a change of pace. She owns the business with her son, Richard, and Mattoni. Before opening her own property-management company Sharon Cunningham managed bank properties. “This award is another piece of the puzzle ensuring the company’s credibility,” Mattoni said.