The Queens Chamber of Commerce hosted its first-ever Business Heroes of the Year Awards in front of about 400 people at Terrace on the Park last Wednesday night.
President and CEO Tom Grech took the time to introduce and honor the awardees, who come from various industries, such as hospitality and technology, and philanthropic organizations.
District Attorney Melinda Katz spoke at the event, expressing her gratitude for small businesses and all they’ve done for the borough during the height of COVID-19.
“At the end of the day, whether we were dealing with a worldwide pandemic, whether we were dealing with an overdue conversation on policing in the United States, whatever we were working on and dealing with, we had to count on our businesses to continue to thrive and survive,” said Katz.
She presented the first award of the evening to Melva Miller of ABNY, who was also Katz’s former deputy borough president when she served as bBorough president.
Charles Boyce of Boyce Technologies was another honoree, whom Grech commended for saving lives throughout New York State by mass producing ventilators during the depths of the pandemic.
While not everyone can be a frontline healthcare worker themselves, many people view food and hospitality as a way of symbolically healing.
This is especially true for honorees Rachel Kellner of Aigner Chocolates, Nupur Arora of Queens Curry Kitchen, Mark Boccia of Bourbon Street, Patrick Oropeza of Bolivian Llama Party, Frank Russo of Russo’s on the Bay and Declan Morrison of Stacked Sandwich Shop.
As for services and organizations who dedicate their time to help smaller businesses succeed, honorees Jonnel Doris of NYC Small Business Services, Larry Zogby of RDS Same Day Delivery Service, and Michael Peterson of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation fit the bill.
“It was a wonderful evening and it’s a great honor to be given this award by the Queens Chamber,” said Michael Peterson.
“We’ve worked very hard with them along with the other chambers of commerce across the city to help out small businesses,” he continued. “So to be here tonight in person to meet some of the other small business leaders in this community and to be a part of this is a great honor.”
In addition to the businesses being honored for their efforts to the borough, the Queens Chamber of Commerce held a toy drive for children in need that guests could donate to for a chance to win a raffle.