Providing support for community programs, helping other local businesses and providing help and job opportunities for local young people were common themes cited by speakers Friday at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce’s 36th Annual Small Business Week luncheon.
They are also characteristics shared by this year’s winners of the chamber’s Small Business Persons of the Year awards.
Vincent and Barbara Caravella of The Scrapbook shop in Essex, Gloucester attorney Mark Nestor, Cathleen Cahill of Katie’s Gifts in Rockport, and John and Lisa Bartlett of Manchester’s Captain Dusty’s Ice Cream were saluted with this year’s honors, which are chosen by past winners from each of the four communities.
The awards — along with presentations to six student winners of the Cape Ann Chamber’s scholarships — were all spotlighted at an event that drew 120 people to the Castle Manor Inn on Essex Avenue.
Introducing his parents Vincent and Barbara as the Essex winners, Thomas Caravella noted they have owned and operated The Scrapbook arts and antiques shop for 45 years, persisting through a variety of challenges, yet always working with and supporting the town’s other businesses.
“They taught all of us that, through passion, hard work and dedication, we really can achieve anything,” he said.
Following an introduction by his son, Jeremy, Nestor — who also serves as commander of Gloucester’s Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3 and the Cape Ann United Veterans Council — praised his business colleagues for their support of veterans, including last year’s visit by The Wall That Heals, the touring Vietnam War memorial that was showcased for four days and drew more than 10,000 visitors to the grounds of the former Fuller School.
“I will always remember that, when we reached out to the business community, the only answers we got were, ‘when, where, and what do you need,’” he said.
Jeremy Nestor noted that the Gloucester attorney shares that spirit.
“I continue to see, when we walk the street, how many people come up to him, ask him legal questions, and I’ve never once seen him turn anyone away,” the younger Nestor said.
The Bartletts were introduced by Meaghan Byrne, who has worked 16 years at Captain Dusty’s Ice Cream after being first hired at age 14.
She and Lisa Bartlett noted that a number of young people have begun their employment careers working at the ice cream business, which celebrated its 20th year in 2015 and now boasts six shops, with its own, handmade ice cream manufacturing plant in Beverly.
“They’ve grown up with us,” Lisa Bartlett said of a number of young people who have worked with what she called the Captain Dusty’s family. “That’s what I’m the most proud of.”
Brenda Truehart, who recalled opening a business along with Cahill in 1982, praised her work and community service over the years with Katie’s Gift Shop in Rockport’s Dock Square.
“I would call Cathy a branded ambassador of Rockport,” said Truehart, noting that Cahill is always quick to support community projects — and help passersby with directions around the town.
The event also included remarks from state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Glouceter, state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, D-Gloucester, state Rep. Brad Hill, R-Ipswich, and Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken.
The keynote speaker was James Destino, the city of Gloucester’s outgoing chief of administration and a longtime small business owner himself through Destino’s Subs on Gloucester’s Prospect Street.
From that dual perspective, he noted several city steps toward building new partnerships with the business community over the last two years and the need to move those efforts forward. He also noted government leaders’ frustration in wondering why businesses can’t abide by rules, while businesses get frustrated over the government permitting process.
“The simple answer is there are too many rules — ordinances on top of ordinances,” he said, encouraging business leaders and owners to take a greater role in bringing about change.
“Now is the time,” he said, “to all work together.”
Staff writer Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Award winners of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce 35th annual Small Business Persons of the Year awards:
Essex: Vincent and Barbara Caravella, The Scrapbook arts and antiques store.
Gloucester: Mark Nestor, law offices of Mark Nestor.
Manchester: Lisa and John Bartlett, Capt. Dusty's Ice Cream.
Rockport: Cathleen Cahill, Katie's Gift Shop.
Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce annual scholarship winners:
Sylvester "Red" Deering Scholarship: Skye Tucker, Gloucester High School.
Pat Roy Scholarship: Emily Adam, Manchester Essex Regional High School.
Michael Costello Scholarship: Reilly Zubricki, Gloucester High School.
Cape Ann Chamber Scholarship: Cory A. Ramsden, Rockport High School.
Mr. and Mrs. L. Dexter Woodman Scholarships: Micghael Vaiarella and Thomas Vaiarella, Jr., Gloucester High School.