The Seneca County Chamber of Commerce and Sessler Wrecking are pleased to announce that five area businesses are finalists for the 2016 Small Business of the Year Award, to be presented at the Chamber’s Summer Membership BBQ on Wednesday, July 20. The finalists are: – Auburn Doubledays – Auburn, NY (Started in 1958) 2016 Achievement Categories: Business Growth, Community Development, Investment & Expansion Under new management, the professional baseball organization experienced significant growth buoyed by a league-leading 14 percent attendance increase. Among the many other achievements were a renewed focus on community engagement (partnering with schools & civic groups), improvements made to the fan experience, implementation of several stadium upgrade and a variety of creative promotions used to revitalize the team for its local fans. Despite limited staff, corporate partnerships also tripled and the “fan cost index” dropped 20 percent lower than league average — earning the team its first operating profit in five years. – Glove House – Waterloo, NY (Started in 2005) 2016 Achievement Categories: Business Growth | Community Development As a non-profit service organization, the Glove House adapted to unprecedented demand in the local region by growing their staff by 75% (from 8 to 14) as the agency works to provide intensive mental health and preventative services to children and families in Seneca County. This growth along with their demonstrated successes in the community helped earn the organization a new contract to further expand their services into Ontario County.- House of Concern – Seneca Falls, NY (Started in 1969) 2016 Achievement Categories: Community Development In 2015, the local non-profit food pantry helped provide approximately 502 Thanksgiving Day meals to needy residents in Seneca County – preserving the long-running program for our local community. In total, the organization serves an average of 1250 individuals per month and has partnerships with individuals, businesses, civic organizations and other local service agencies. – Jessica & Company – Waterloo, NY (Started in 2013) 2016 Achievement Categories: Business Growth | Investment/Expansion As owner/entrepreneur Jessica Sinicropi-Elias’ hair salon business continued to grow and succeed in the local community, the dream of owning her own business property came to fruition with the relocation and expansion of her business from downtown Seneca Falls to the Waterloo area. Along with the new space, Sinicropi added several new services for her burgeoning enterprise, including: massage therapy and a private bridal room – complete with accommodations for special events and weddings. – Main Street Drivers – Finger Lakes, NY (Started 2011) 2016 Achievement Categories: Business Growth | Industry Innovation As a leading provider of socially responsible services, Main Street Drivers has re-invented transportation options for our region. The car service company, which began in the greater NYC area, was introduced in the Finger Lakes Region as an alternative form of transportation (to service the local wine industry) and has experienced impressive growth with its cost-effective, innovative approach (drivers pilot customer-owned vehicles) and customer service-oriented philosophy. Its local business operations have experienced roughly 300 percent growth over the last year which has helped it continue expansion efforts into three additional states. “We are pleased to honor all of the finalists for this year’s award and congratulate each of them on their incredible successes,” said Jeff Shipley, President of the Seneca County Chamber. “Their investments in our community represent the lifeblood of our local economy – providing much needed jobs and services to enhance our quality of life.” The Small Business of the Year program was developed by the Chamber in 2007 to recognize and celebrate the impact that small businesses have on communities. In New York State, small businesses account for nearly 98 percent of all businesses and provide more than half of the state’s private sector employment. The Seneca County Chamber of Commerce is the leading business advocacy organization in the Finger Lakes region. It represents over 500 local businesses and associate members. The Chamber provides initiative and leadership, offering programs and benefits that promote its members, foster economic development, and enhance the region’s quality of life. For more information, contact the Chamber at (315) 568-2906 or visit www.senecachamber.org.