• Chamber Awards of Excellence

    Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards luncheon on Friday, March 13 at the Inn at Spanish Bay. A full banquet room enjoyed lunch and celebrated the award winners, who are chosen by the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
    • Best Hotel award went to Robert Boerner, owner of Pacific Gardens Inn, 701 Asilomar Blvd.
    Boerner, a longtime Pacific Grove resident, started work at the Pebble Beach Chevron station and rose in the ranks of the Pebble Beach Company to the No. 2 position at the Inn at Spanish Bay. He quipped about a customer handing over his car keys before the Chamber luncheon, under the mistaken impression that Boerner was still doing valet parking for Spanish Bay. He also held management positions with The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Quail Lodge and Bernardus Lodge before acquiring the Pacific Gardens Inn, originally founded in 1983, two years ago. Boerner serves on the City Tourism Improvement Board and is a volunteer Pony League baseball coach and member of the Knights of Columbus. He is a former board member of United Way and Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and former member of the Advisory Board for the Good Tidings Foundation. A longtime proponent of excellent customer service in the hospitality industry, Boerner has given motivational talks to groups of employees of the Pebble Beach Company, Peninsula Hotel Group and Bernardus Lodge.
    • Best Service business for the year award was given to Frank and Michelle Knight, owners of Adventures by the Sea, headquartered at 299 Cannery Row in Monterey.
    The business began 22 years ago as a delivery service for rental bicycles to supply Peninsula hotels. Since then, Adventures by the Sea has grown into one of the largest adventure travel provider in Monterey County, with multiple locations. Besides the headquarters on Cannery Row, Adventures By the Sea has locations in the Portola Hotel & Spa and Lover’s Point for the rental of bicycles, four-wheel surreys, sea kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, surfboards and boogie boards. The company has a wedding business, as well, in which chairs, arches, sound systems, and the like are rented for outdoor weddings at the Peninsula’s scenic locations. Michelle Knight is a former Pacific Grove City Council Member, Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Board Member and Monterey County Hospitality Association President. She has a doctorate degree in environmental science and conducts team-building programs. The Knights live in Pacific Grove.
    • Best Restaurant in Pacific Grove award went to George Nimri, owner of Petra Restaurant, 477 Lighthouse Ave.
    Nimri started his family-run restaurant in the same downtown location 25 years ago. Petra is Pacific Grove’s second oldest restaurant, offering Mediterranean cuisine for lunch and dinner, Monday-Saturday. The menu includes Middle Eastern, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, and American dishes. The restaurant’s excellent food and attractive surroundings have drawn a base of local customers, and the restaurant has received many awards from local media. Nimri began with a very small restaurant in leased space and grew the business, eventually buying and renovating the building to improve his neighborhood. He participates in the weekly downtown Farmers Market with a food stand. He also sets up a food stand for special events at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.
    • Best Retailer for the year was Deaunna Moore, owner of Prim & Proper, 553 Lighthouse Ave., at the corner of Grand Avenue in downtown Pacific Grove.
    Moore is one of the founders of the annual Feast of Fashion Show, is involved in downtown merchant promotions and twice a year conducts a food drive for Pacific Grove churches to feed the homeless and other families in need. In addition, she is a member of the Heritage Society of Pacific Grove. She volunteers as a docent for the chamber’s annual Christmas in the Inns and every year rings the bell for the Salvation Army kettle drive in front of the Pacific Grove Post Office. Prim & Proper, a women’s appeal and accessories shop, was founded in 1959 and has been owned by Moore for 13 years. The shop caters to the fashion needs and wants of Peninsula women, with a mix of product lines. Prim & Proper is located in a row of often-photographed historic Victorian buildings, which have become landmark symbols of the special ambiance of Pacific Grove and especially of the downtown.
    • Rabobank, represented by Regional President Harry Wardwell, along with Richard Aiello, Branch Manager was chosen as Best Neighbor. They are located at 599 Lighthouse Ave. in New Monterey.
    The bank supports many of the community’s causes, sponsors major Pacific Grove events and serves on the Chamber Ambassadors Committee. A California-based bank, whose parent is in The Netherlands, Rabobank is a “community-minded” bank that encourages its officers to become involved in leadership roles in community groups and activities, Wardwell said. Aiello has been particularly active in Pacific Grove community activities as the bank’s representative and is very visible as part of Chamber events. The Lighthouse Avenue Branch in New Monterey had been part of Community Bank for 13 years before it was taken over by Rabobank three years ago. Rabobank, a full-service bank that is the only California bank that still has a Triple-A credit rating, focuses on agricultural financing, which includes the local farming and wine industries. The bank has not taken any federal bailout money.
    • The award as Movers and Shakers went to Emily Owens and Mary Troup, owners of Tessuti Zoo, 171 Forest Ave., in downtown Pacific Grove.
    In 2008, they created two new promotional events that became instantly popular and provided entertainment for those who participated. Their thrust was to encourage locals to shop in Pacific Grove and at the same time encourage local businesses to stay open later. One of the promotional events was Pacific Groove Night, a giant scavenger hunt around Pacific Grove that involved 51 stores, and the other was Friday Night Lights, which brightened the Christmas holiday season with live music, dancing, shopping with late hours and other activities on three Friday nights in December. Helping to make Pacific Groove Night and Friday Night Lights big successes were Marita Johnson of Marita’s, Terri Clemens of The Clothing Store, Nancy Alvarez of Nancy’s Attic, Marge Jameson of Cedar Street Times, and Sally Aberg. Tessuti Zoo is a whimsical gallery of art and gifts, including clothing, quilts, furniture, jewelry and many other unusual and interesting items that attract local shoppers as well as visitors from the San Francisco Bay Area, metropolitan Los Angeles and elsewhere.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on March 20, 2009

    Topics: Front PG News


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