Geneseo Chamber celebrates 50th anniversary

Lisa Depies
Honorees at the 2018 Geneseo Chamber of Commerce dinner included, from left: Amy DeFauw (Up & Coming Award), Katie Andrios (Friend of the Chamber Award), Gene Stees (Lifetime Achievement Award), Brad Toone (Business Person of the Year Award), Linda Pray (Beautification Award) and Bethany Winkleman (Beautification Award).

More than 200 people attended the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce’s 50th anniversary dinner. The Thursday, Feb. 22 event was at Lavender Crest Winery, in Colona.

“A lot has changed in 50 years,” said Chamber president, Randy Clary, crediting the “time and energy investment people have put into Geneseo.”

Clary urged cooperation and support within the business community.

“We all can do better, not only for our own companies, but for each other,” he said. “When we cooperate, we all win, and I do feel like Geneseo is winning the battle for dollars against other communities, especially when you see the investment made in our downtown.”

The 50th anniversary celebration featured a review of the chamber’s activities, a live and silent auction and a buffet dinner.

The chamber also presented its 2018 annual awards. Award winners included:

Lifetime Achievement Award — The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Gene Stees, who has been instrumental in a number of community projects, including, most recently, the new Geneseo Atkinson Food Pantry building.

Stees said he was “humbled and stunned” by the award. “I’m very, very thankful and pleased to be a part of the Geneseo community for so many years.”

Business Person of the Year Award — Brad Toone of Hanford Insurance was presented with the 2018 Business Person of the Year Award.

Friend of the Chamber Award — Katie Andrios of GWK Enterprises, received the Friend of the Chamber Award.

Beautification Award — Linda Pray and Bethany Winkleman, of State Farm, received the Beautification Award for their remodeling efforts at 113 S. State St. (the former Farber Law Office).

Up & Coming Award — Amy DeFauw, of Katsch, received the Up & Coming Award and was recognized for her efforts in organizing the annual State Street Market.