The Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 award winners were, from left, Sarah Williams, Elise and Woody Widlund, and Lyle Dye.
The Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce June 13 honored four citizens for their contributions to the North Creek community during the Chamber’s annual dinner at the Copperfield Inn.
The evening began with a presentation by Laurie Arnheiter, of the Hudson River Trading Company, who traced the success of the town to the hard work and vision, now nearly 20 years ago, of the Chamber of Commerce, the Johnsburg Town Board, the Warren County Planning Department and the Adirondack Park Agency’s (APA) grant of $20,000. When these groups work together toward a common goal, great things can be achieved, she said.
“Don’t underestimate what a small Chamber in the Adirondacks can accomplish,” Arnheiter said.
She noted that the return on investment by the APA was $1,250 for each original dollar. In the past year, 13 new businesses have opened in town and 12 business have made additions or improvements to their establishments.
Citizen of the Year
Lyle Dye received the Citizen of the Year Award. During his speech, he shared how he had first come across the town by accident, stopping at a motel that is now the Outreach Center. He was looking to escape the “dog-eat-dog” world of professional theater, which he had spent his life working in.
Having no plans to do anything with theater again, 12 locals approached him with a proposal: each would contribute $100 to help start a theater group for the town. Since then, their group has performed a variety of works in every church in the area.
Dye said he was thrilled to be a member of such a giving community and that whatever he could do to help contribute he would gladly do. Woody Widlund — who, along with his wife, Elise, received his own award later that evening — recalled the first time he met Dye at a Friends of the Library meeting. He walked in and announced, “Hello, I’m Lyle Dye and I’m here to help.” That direct, yet simple and modest, approach has characterized all his efforts on behalf of the town.
Business of the Year
Sarah Williams, owner and operator of Sarah’s Café, received the Business of the Year Award. Last year she celebrated the 10-year anniversary of her opening. Williams said that the recognition of her peers — her fellow business owners, the community, and the Chamber — was the most meaningful kind of recognition she could receive. She looks forward to many years of continuing her business within the community.
Community Service Award
Elise and Woody Widlund received the Community Service Award. It was noted that in addition to donating the Tannery Pond Community Center to the town, they have contributed in many other ways over the years.
They helped raise money for the new library, helped out at the Nursing Home, Outreach Center, Depot Museum, and are active in arts organizations.
Woody said that Dye was “at least one third of the reason” that the Tannery Pond Community Center was created and that without his presence in the community, it would not be what it is today. He added that it was simply their love of the community that he and his wife contributed so much to the town.
Elise recognized the efforts of all the local business owners in helping to make North Creek the successful community that it is. She noted that being an independent business owner has many benefits but requires a great deal of work and personal investment.
“These wonderful, multi-tasking, enterprising individuals right here in our town are driving our economy’s recovery and growth by providing good jobs for our neighbors,” Elise said.