Granby chamber presents awards

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2018 Granby Chamber of Commerce award recipients: From l.:. John Laudati incoming Chamber president, Deb Lenihan Humanitarian of the Year, Tim Lenihan Humanitarian of the Year, Faye Bowles owner of Freshie’s Café New Business of the Year, Mike and Mary Keating Community Service Award, Joy and Bob Marx Business Persons of the Year and Mary Anne Guarco, outgoing Chamber president.

The Granby Chamber of Commerce honored Bob and Joy Marx of Landmark Tours and Cruises as their “Business Persons of the Year” and Tim and Deb Lenihan as their “Humanitarians of the Year” at its annual Awards Banquet and Annual Meeting on Feb. 7 at Hop Meadow Country Club in Simsbury. Other award recipients were Faye Bowles of Freshie’s Café, recognized as “New Business of the Year,” and Mike and Mary Keating, who received a community service award for their many contributions as volunteers and owners of Granby Pharmacy. 

Bob and Joy Marx are entering their 28th year as owners of Landmark Tours and Cruises, the last 25 as members of the Granby Chamber of Commerce. The Marxes started the travel company in 1991 and moved to West Granby a year later, moving their office into their home. In three years the business outgrew the home office and was moved into an office suite in Southwick in 1995 where it has remained ever since. In 2001 Bob joined the Granby Chamber’s Board of Directors, where he has served a total of 14 years over two terms. In his two years as chamber president, Bob helped membership grow to more than 200 businesses and he started a marketing committee that resulted in “Giddy Up to Granby.” He has also served as president of two local service organizations—the Granby Lions Club, where he has been a member for 22 years, and the Granby UNICO Club. 

A native of Rye, N.Y., Bob has served on several committees with the National Tour Association and been a speaker at many travel conferences. A former newspaper reporter and editor, he served as Sports Information Director at Ithaca College, his alma mater, and Springfield College before entering the travel industry in 1986. 

Joy is a native of Springfield, Mass., and a graduate of Springfield College. Before joining Bob in the travel business, she was a YMCA Fitness Director and the first Wellness Director at Johnson Memorial Hospital. Joy was elected president of the Granby UNICO Club in 2018 for a two-year term, having previously served three terms as the chapter secretary. The Marxes have five children and five grandchildren.

Tim and Deb Lenihan have been major supporters and fund raisers for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since the birth of son Jason in 1997. Both Jason and his younger sister Amy were afflicted with the disease and are now college students.

Tim and Deb formed “Team AJ” to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and have worked diligently to raise funds for the past 21 years. They started their support in Enfield at the annual national Great Strides Walk for CF, and in 2001 they started the Granby Great Strides Walk, which continued until 2013 when they re-joined the Enfield event. To date they have raised over $800,000. Tim has served on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for the past 18 years, and in 2018 he and Deb were honored as Cystic Fibrosis Volunteers of the Year. 

A resident of Granby for the past 16 years, Faye Bowles opened Freshie’s Café in September of 2018 on Route 10/202, serving breakfast and lunch. Faye had previously worked for James Chen at Han, @ the Barn and Table 570 restaurants. She was also part of the startup for the LaFigata Restaurant here in Granby. Faye comes from a family of restaurateurs. She grew up in Winsted, where her family owned a restaurant, and at a young age she purchased her own hot dog cart. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband Mark acquired the former Peppermill Restaurant that closed in 2017. Faye chose the name Freshie’s because she was always considered the freshest one of her siblings. The other reason for the name is because she uses the freshest ingredients. Her menus and homemade soups change based on the seasons. 

Mike and Mary Keating are best known as the owners and operators of Granby Pharmacy, where they have generously given their time and dedication to the Granby community and surrounding towns. In addition to the pharmacy, Mike and Mary have spent several years volunteering and serving on multiple committees and organizations. Mike was a part of the Granby Ambulance for years, a board member of the Farmington Valley VNA, helped drive the bus for the Marquis of Granby and has generously donated to many organizations. 

Mary was chairman of the Valley Preschool board and chairman of the Board of Directors of CREC. She was a board member of the following organizations: Granby Board of Education, Granby Education Foundation, Democratic Town Committee, and Commission on Aging. She collected for the Granby Community Fund, ran the Snack Shack at Salmon Brook Park and over the years has volunteered in the schools and libraries. Mary graduated from Granby Memorial High School in one of the first four classes to graduate. She and her classmates continue to organize reunions for these four classes. She was also the Registrar of Voters for the town of Granby and worked the polls for many years on Election Day. 

They are active members of the parish of St. Therese Church. Mike grew up in Bloomfield but moved to Granby with Mary to raise their family of four children. For years Mike and Mary have treated their customers and employees like family, and it was important to transition the sale of the pharmacy to new owners in a way that would keep the care of their customers the top priority. They continue to serve the community in many ways.  Mike is still working at the pharmacy, and they both enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren who all live close by.

The Chamber also announced its new slate of officers and board members for 2019. John Laudati was introduced as the new president of the Granby Chamber, replacing Mary Anne Guarco who stepped down following a three-year term.