She's Apparel & Shoes, seen above, was among the winners for 2009 of businesses of the year.


The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently announced its winners of man, woman, businesses and ambassador of the year for 2009. The winners of the awards will be recognized at the chamber’s 88th annual Dinner Dance at San Juan Oaks Golf Club on Jan. 17.

The list this year includes Mari Davis, Gerald McCullough, She’s Apparel & Shoes, Schipper Design Plus, Paine’s Restaurant, Swank Farms, Teknova and Barbara Cosio.

“People look forward to it, and the chamber has been handing out these awards for many years,” said Jessica French, chamber president and CEO. She added that she has records going back to the 1950s of prior winners.

Candidates for woman and man of the year are chosen by past winners of that award. The committee looks at how long a candidate has lived in the county, what the resident gives back to the community and his or her personal and work history. Candidates receive consideration only if they give back outside of their full-time job.

Davis was named woman of the year for her involvement on with the Chamberlain’s Children’s Center board, where she has been board president since 2006; Hollister Rotary Club; and the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce. She also has been heavily involved in fundraising for the county YMCA.

Davis, who was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, came to California after graduating college in New York and moved to Hollister after marrying her husband Ted in 1996.

Davis was diagnosed with a rare form of Crohn’s disease during college and has had over 40 surgeries to combat it. Even with her medical concerns, she remains active in the community through giving her time to the Homeless Task Force and the Marley Holte Thanksgiving Dinner.

“I felt very honored and not worthy of it,” she said. “People on the committee that vote are people that I greatly admire and feel overwhelmed that I was picked by them.”

She went on: “This award invigorates the community. People will think that they can also do this. Maybe I can inspire to just begin (giving back).”

Davis also is a part owner of Teknova, a custom molecular biology media supply company. With her husband, also a part owner, they shared the chamber’s manufacturing business of the year award.

Gerald “Gerry” McCullough, a lifelong resident of the county, was named man of the year for his work with the chamber of commerce and the Hollister Rotary Club. He also has been involved with the San Benito County YMCA, United Way and Community Foundation. In addition, he has been involved with various school boards and organizations including the Sunnyslope School PTA, Hollister Elementary School Board and the San Benito County Committee of School District Organization.

“I’m very pleased, and it’ll work out great. I try to help a bit here and there,” McCullough said. “I’m very happy to receive it and I will continue to work for the community. Both (Davis and I) have been very involved in things during our lives and we’ll continue on.”

The chamber also announced winners for four businesses of the year and the ambassador of the year. To be considered for a business of the year, the company must be a chamber member and active in the community. The chamber board of directors, which select the winners, also asks about the company and its mission statement. The ambassador of the year is given to the chamber member who recruits the most new members and has the best attendance of chamber events such as mixers and ribbon cuttings.

The winners include:

– Retail Business of the Year: She’s Apparel & Shoes

-Service Business of the Year: Schipper Design Plus

-Hospitality Business of the Year: Paine’s Restaurant

-Agriculture Business of the Year: Swank Farms

-Manufacturing Business of the Year: Teknova

-Ambassador of the Year: Cosio

The dance will be held on Jan. 17 at San Juan Oaks. Tickets are available from the chamber at its office at 650 San Benito St., suite 130.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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