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Family-Owned Business event honors ‘the strongest and most enduring segment of American business’

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Family-owned businesses in Westchester and Fairfield counties and their leaders were honored Feb. 25 by Westfair Communications Inc. during an event held at 1133 Westchester Ave. in White Plains.

The Family-Owned Business 2020 Awards featured the theme that success runs in the family.

The keynote speaker was historian Charles Slack. His books include: “Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America’s First Female Tycoon”; “Liberty’s First Crisis,” about John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and free speech; “Noble Obsession: Charles Goodyear, Thomas Hancock, and the Race to Unlock the Greatest Industrial Secret of the Nineteenth Century”; and “Blue Fairways: Three Months,  Sixty Courses, No Mulligans,” which chronicles a golfing adventure in which Slack played numerous public golf courses.

“I make my living as a business and financial writer and I think by far my favorite subject every time I get the chance to write about it is independent businesses, especially family businesses,” Slack told the audience. “In some ways it’s amazing to me that they exist at all.”

Slack expressed the opinion that the only thing harder than running a business is running a family.

“Even the best families are dysfunctional and even the best business ideas often fail. And yet here are these wonderfully stubborn people who say, ‘I’m going to take both of those things, put them together and see what happens,’ ” he said.

Slack cited statistics showing that 30% of family businesses survive to a second generation, 10% to a third and 3% survive to a fourth generation.

“When they do come through the fire, something amazing happens,” Slack said. “They are the strongest and most enduring segment of American business.”

A portion of the event’s proceeds benefited The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation. Catherine was a 6-year-old student who was among those killed in the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The foundation, which honors her memory and love of animals, has established a 34-acre sanctuary in Newtown that is open to the public.

The following businesses were honored:

AFC Urgent Care Bridgeport.

Albert Palancia Agency Inc., offering property and casualty insurance.

AMHAC All Makes Heating & Air Conditioning Corporation, serving more than 15,000 residential and commercial clients in Westchester, Fairfield, Manhattan and the Bronx.

Bilotta Kitchen & Home, a leader in residential kitchen projects with award-winning designers.

BMW of Darien, striving to provide the most compelling car buying and ownership experience through commitment to exceptional customer service.

Cartwright & Daughters Tent & Party Rentals, a full-service tent and event rental company with every color table linen, dozens of dinnerware options, thousands of tables, chairs and tents to accommodate hundreds of guests.

Club Fit, a full-service health and fitness club that has fitness, aquatic centers, great kid activities, tennis and over 155 classes weekly at each location.

D’Errico Jewelry LLC, which takes you into the joy, excitement, delight and sparkle of this symbol of love – the diamond.

Eye Designs of Westchester, a full-service optical store with two locations in Scarsdale and Armonk, New York. Each location features independent lines from different countries.

Gavin Audiology and Hearing Aids PLLC, a family practice whose goal is to help you hear your world.

HealthSearch Group, a leading and innovative search firm with local expertise and a national reach.

Little Friends, a dedicated, full-service, child-care facility building a loving, safe, fun and positive environment for young children, their families and staff members.

McMichael Yacht Brokers and Yacht Yards, providing services to the boating public, including fuel and provisioning while servicing the needs of sailors, fishermen and recreational boaters of Long Island Sound.

Milo Kleinberg Design Associates (MKDA), a growing national interior design and architecture firm.

Nazzaro Inc., offering a wide variety of excavation services including pond restoration and construction.

New Crystal Restoration, holding the distinction as Westchester County’s first and oldest emergency fire and water damage restoration company

Oak and Almond Restaurant, a Tuscan oven restaurant group fueled from oak and almond woods, providing an earthy quality to menu items.

Paraco Gas, one of the largest independently owned propane companies in the Northeast.

Plaza Realty & Management Corp., a complete real estate company specializing in property management, both residential and commercial, real estate sales and leasing and a select area of specialty services.

Trapp Opticians, a retail optical company with referrals from doctors who specialize in eye exams and post-surgical eye patients.

Wagner Pools, founded in 1919 and holder of the title, “The oldest swimming pool company in the country.”

Westchester Funeral Home, Inc., which, for more than five generations, has proudly served the communities of Eastchester, Bronxville, Yonkers and the surrounding areas.

Westerly Marina Inc., a marine facility that offers boat building, repairs and dock rentals that was voted the best marina in Westchester.

Event sponsors in the bronze category were: The Kensington assisted living residence in White Plains; Yankwitt LLP; Val’s Putnam Wines & Liquors; KL Tech; D’Errico Jewelry; Atlantic Westchester; and Cartwright & Daughters Tent & Party Rentals.

Supporters included: Buzz Creators; Barnum Financial Group – The SKG Team; Oasis Day Spa; The Bristal Assisted Living; Blossom Flower Shops; and Club Fit.

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