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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Save-A-Lot, Ralph Rose to Receive Awards

Leadership McKean is first recipient of Directors’ Award

The Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the recipients of their 2011 Awards along with the nominees to be honored in each category.

Leadership McKean has been selected by the BACC Board of Directors as the first recipient of the Directors’ Award, designed to be chosen by vote among the Board of Directors and awarded to an individual or organization which has earned special recognition. John Sullivan, President of the BACC Board of Directors, stated, “Leadership McKean has had a tremendous impact in our community over the last five years, and we have certainly felt that positive influence at the Chamber. In fact, nearly half of our board members are Leadership McKean alumni, or are current students in the program. That participation is testimony to the success of the program. As a member of the second Leadership McKean class in 2008, I know how much it inspired me to get more involved in the community. Developing the next generation of leaders is critical to the future of our community. The Board of Directors of the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize Leadership McKean with our Director’s Award for 2011.”

Leadership McKean is designed as an opportunity for those who want to pave the way to a bright future for McKean County residents. Aimed at training and nurturing emerging leaders, this non-profit program is a cooperative effort of the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, Kane Chamber of Commerce, and University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Patterned after successful programs across the nation, the mission of Leadership McKean is to develop informed and involved leaders through a comprehensive county-wide development program.

The first nine month class of Leadership McKean was initiated in September, 2006. By the completion of its fifth class this June, the program will have graduated more than eighty participants. Sessions are held one day each month throughout the nine-month program, with each session hosted in a different location, depending on the topic, to incorporate the diverse communities throughout the county. The number of participants each year is limited to ensure ample opportunity for interaction between both presenters and other participants. Leadership McKean participants have come from over twenty-five different organizations, from the largest corporations to the smallest, from the university, hospitals and school district to small non-profits.

The program is designed to strengthen the county’s civic capacity and economic growth while identifying new and emerging leaders. One measure of success has been the role graduates are playing in their communities – many of them hold elected and appointed positions in a wide variety of organizations throughout the county. As Mike Glesk, Chairman of the Leadership McKean Steering Committee explained, “When we think of challenges in McKean County and how we can insure the future, it’s not about the money, it’s about the people. It was this recognition that led us to initiate Leadership McKean and we can already see the results. The eighty participants in the program over the last five years are already beginning to play a prominent role in our community. We could not be more impressed by their energy and commitment. We are grateful for the support of the sponsoring organizations and their communities.”

BACC’s other annual awards, the Exemplary Business Award and the Community and Spirit Award, are determined by membership vote. Ron Orris, Executive Director of the Chamber, described this year’s results, saying, “We are pleased that this year’s vote was a very close race. Our membership clearly agreed that all of the nominees deserve recognition, and we are looking forward to honoring the award winners and their fellow nominees at our Annual Meeting and Awards on April 7th at the Pennhills Club.”

The 2011 recipient of the BACC Exemplary Business Award is Bradford Save-A-Lot. The BACC Exemplary Business Award is awarded to a for-profit business that demonstrates a well-planned, commendable, and thorough approach to business development. They must also exemplify the unique “hometown” charm of the area in their manner of administration, customer service and quality of product or service.

Bradford Save-A-Lot, located at 75 Forman Street, is owned by Bill and Nancy Larson. Bill and Nancy were born at the Bradford hospital and grew up in the local McKean County area. The Larsons always thought they would one day like to return to the area. Bill has a long history of grocery retail experience and has owned and operated grocery retails in the Buffalo, New York market. Bill started in 1976 at the Smethport Market Basket bagging groceries and doing carry-out service and was later promoted to Produce Manager and worked his way through the corporate ropes. Over the years Bill held management positions in Port Allegany, Eldred, Coudersport, and later returned to Smethport. In 1998 Bill and Nancy purchased an independent grocery store in Corfu, New York. Bill and a partner had the opportunity to open the Salamanca Save-A-Lot in 2003, and in 2005 they sold to current owner, John Hedlund. The opportunity arose to open a Save-A-Lot in Bradford in 2005 and the Larsons were eager to jump at the business opportunity. In addition to Bradford, Bill is also a partner in the Wheatfield, NY store, which was opened in 2007. Most recently, Bill and two partners opened a Save-A-Lot in Kane, PA. Bill and Nancy will continue to work out of their headquarter store, Bradford Save-A-Lot.

The Larsons feel the Bradford community has been an ever-growing opportunity for the market area and the need for the most recent remodel and expansion was necessary for continued opportunities to meet the needs of the community. The Larsons’ heritage has always been in small, hometown communities and they look forward to having personal opportunities to work with local organizations, and participate in local functions.

The community of Bradford has supplied a pool of very qualified, personable, experienced, and dedicated people to manage and operate this business. The Save-A-Lot concept has fit very well into the infrastructure of the Bradford business community, which has brought a much-needed economical choice for consumers to the downtown shopping area. The Larsons and their staff are thankful to the Bradford community for their continued support.

Other honorable nominees in this category were Grandma’s House Tea & Gifts and Tortugas Restaurant.

In the category of the Community and Spirit Award, the 2011 recipient is Ralph A. Rose. The Community and Spirit Award is given to an individual or organization that has made a significant, positive impact in the Bradford area and its economic well-being through volunteer, civic, religious, cultural and/or business activities.

Ralph Rose is a Bradford native and is owner of Wright Monumental Works, Inc. with his wife Judy. He was born April 20, 1933, and graduated from Bradford Area High School in 1952. After high school Ralph went to Kimball Union Academy in Meridan, New Hampshire and upon graduating was called into service in the US Army. He spent two years at Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the 101st Airborne Division, 3rd Army Medical Corp.

He married his high school sweetheart Judy Oliver on August 28, 1954. They have four daughters, Kimberly (Steve Lundsten), Kathie (Ben Wentworth), Kelly (Mark Platko), and Kara (Jim Henke).

After returning from government service, Ralph decided that he wanted to be part of the family business and work with his father Philip M. Rose and Family. Wright Monumental Works was established in 1915 and this year is 96 years old. On January 1, 1987, Ralph and his wife Judy purchased ownership of the company. Ralph has completed work for many families in the Bradford and surrounding areas and as far away as New Jersey, New York City, Pittsburgh, New England and beyond, helping people through a very difficult time in their lives.

In addition to the memorial business, Ralph and his family have left foot prints all over town with recognition memorials such as the beautiful black granite flame and bench in front of the Zippo-Case Visitors Center which honors George Blaisdell Duke and his mother Sarah Blaisdell Dorn. The Norwegian blue pearl architectural entrance signs and the sculptured bronze Piper Cub Airplane recognition site memorial at the University of Pittsburgh and the Harriet Wick Chapel benches are a source of great pride. Also the many benches and plaques on the walking trails at Pitt, Marilla Reservoir, Fretz Middle School, St. Bernard School and churches throughout the area. Bradford Regional Medical Center and the Bradford Hospital Foundation are large recognition projects still in progress.

Ralph’s other business interest and ventures include The Roseart Company which was also founded by his father Philip M. Rose in 1957. The company is now 54 years old. The Roseart Company set out to create marble and wood gifts of “Lifetime Elegance”. The incorporation of the famous Zippo Windproof lighter into his table lighter base was a perfect fit. In 2000, Ralph, his wife Judy, daughter Kelly and son-in-law Mark Platko purchased the company and now Roseart through Kelly and Mark will find its own place in Bradford history.

One of Ralph’s proudest memories was in October 1982 when he was honored with adoption into the Heron Clan as a new honorary member of the Seneca Nation of Indians by George Heron former President of the Seneca Nation. He had been given an official Seneca name which translates into “Memory Keeper”. Ralph has also been active with several libraries in the area and takes pride in having served as President of the Friends of the Carnegie Public Library. Additionally, for over 56 years he has been involved with care of the historic Oak Hill Cemetery. In 2008 the cemetery elected a new Board of Directors and Ralph serves on that board.

In Ellicottville, New York, Ralph served as President of the Crowley Creek Development Corporation and for 26 years he and his hard working wife Judy owned and operated the Discovery Antique Shop which was another wonderful part of their lives.

Other honorable nominees in this category were Thomas C. Frungillo and the Office of Economic and Community Development (OECD) – City of Bradford.

The 2011 BACC Annual Meeting and Awards held on Thursday, April 7th at the Pennhills Club will follow the same format as the 2010 event allowing for a flexible schedule and to provide social and networking time before the program. For more information or to RSVP, invited guests should contact the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce office at 814-368-7115


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