HISTORY OF THE GATES CHILI CHAMBER AWARDS
Originally the President’s installation dinner held in January, evolved into the annual Awards Dinner presented by the Chamber, as the Chamber moved its emphasis to honoring the two communities it served. The first award created by the Chamber was the Outstanding Citizen of the Year award in 1981, inspired by the Gates Lions Club’s similar award.
Nick DiCesare, Flower City Florists at Westmar Plaza, was the original chair of the Chamber’s Civic Beautification Committee. Under his guidance, the Chamber embarked on its own beautification projects, first in 1981 on the point of land in north Gates bounded by Spencerport Road, Howard Road and Lyell Road. A 2nd project was conducted in 1982 along Chili Avenue where Fenton Road came in. in both cases, the Chamber solicited donations of plants or funding from its members and provided the digging power to create the beautification project.
After those two hands on projects, the Chamber decided it would prefer to recognize businesses in the Gates-Chili area that improved their exterior appearance and the Civic Beautification Award for both towns were created in 1983. Shortly afterwards, the Joseph Entress Award, named for the 2nd President of the Chamber, to honor those businesses that maintained a sustained effort to improve their appearance in the two communities.
So thanks to Nick, the Chamber now has three awards annually to reward business beautification. Other awards have been added through the years with the latest award being the Loretta Simmons Award started in 2017 for Women’s Leadership in the two communities. Nominations for these annual awards are encouraged from the community as well as from Chamber members with the annual Awards Dinner taking place in May. This has become a major Chamber event attended by hundreds in the two communities.