Chamber of Commerce names honorees
The Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce recently named the 2018 outstanding leaders and businesses.
The Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce recently named the 2018 outstanding leaders and businesses which have enhanced the community through their achievements and endeavors.
Acknowledged as Citizen of the Year was Kim Fraser, executive director of the Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board.
“Kim has been bringing increased awareness and understanding of mental and behavioral health to the Mentor Community since 1994,” stated the chamber. “Kim has been working tirelessly trying to educate everyone from schools, senior centers, law enforcement, businesses and the workforce on the opioid epidemic in our community, a matter she cares for deeply.”
Among several initiatives spearheaded by Fraser is Lake County’s Compass Line, a free service for residents designed to shorten the journey between seeking help and getting help.
“It’s really one of a kind,” she said, and added that organizations throughout Ohio have looked at Compass Line as an exemplary option for their own communities.
Under Fraser’s direction, the ADAMHS Board along with Leadership Lake County and the Lake County Opiate Task Force work together on Operation Resolve to increase awareness of the opioid epidemic.
The program allows her to talk to employees of local businesses regarding drug safety and how to make the community healthier.
“We work side by side with social services to make services accessible to anyone in the county regardless of their ability to pay,” she said.
The chamber chose Longo Restaurants as the Business of the Year. Joe Longo and his sister Tina Greci not only head up several successful eateries in the area but also work to serve Mentor and Lake County through many community efforts.
“They have sponsored youth athletic teams of every kind for over 40 years including providing meals and fundraising opportunities not only in Mentor but across Lake County,” according to the chamber. “The Longo/Greci Family partners with organizations such as Kops for Kids (Mentor), Camp Sue Osborn, Friends of WomenSafe, Lake Humane Society, churches, schools and many more.”
The business was started by Joe and Tina’s parents in 1969.
“Probably the best advice I’ve ever gotten from my father was to support the community that supports you,” Joe said. “The longer we’ve been in business has given us the opportunity to do more…unfortunately there’s not enough of that in small businesses.”
Joe noted that Mentor is an excellent place to do business because city officials and others are always striving to make it better.
“People come here and stay here,” he said. “We’re serving three generations.”
The chamber’s board of directors also recognized Skip Trombetti, former owner of Van’s Photo and Mentor’s Photo Source, for his service to the chamber, specifically for his many years of professional photography assistance at hundreds of chamber events.
Trombetti offered his photography services to the chamber in shooting grand openings, inductions and more.
“If they needed something in a hurry I could do something pretty quickly,” he said. “It was a pretty good relationship.”
Reflecting on the changes taking place in retail businesses, he said “It’s a shame that retail in general, that online business has taken a significant toll on the locals. But Mentor has been able to bounce back with other uses for their businesses.”
He pointed to the transformation of the former partially unused retail space at the Great Lakes Mall to the Round 1 entertainment complex.
The chamber will formally recognize their 2018 award winners at the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce monthly membership luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Holiday Inn, 7701 Reynolds Road in Mentor. For more information on the program, call 440-2551616 or email cweber@ mentorchamber.org.
Joe Longo and Tina Longo Greci are Lake County business owners, who were honored.