LONG BRANCH: The owners of two popular city businesses will be recognized by the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce in March.
MIX Lounge and 2nd Floor Restaurant owners Sam Nativo Michael Bienz and Fine Fare owner Anthony "Tony" Perri have been chosen as the recipients of the chamber's annual Louis G. Libutti Community Service Award.
Exemplary leadership, outstanding professional achievement and community service are the criteria for this award, according to a release from the chamber.
This awards will be presented at the chamber's 81st Annual Business Awards Dinner which will be held on Friday, March 20 at the Ocean Place Resort & Spa, 1 Ocean Blvd., Long Branch.
The Chamber is delighted to honor Tony Perri, Mike Bienz and Sam Nativo, they are all wonderful examples of the essence of this Award," said Chamber President, Leonard Kiczek said in the release. "We are pleased to laud their achievements, especially since all three are entrepreneurs, have established extraordinarily successful businesses and continually give back to the community in so many ways."
In 1977, Tony and his father, Anthony Perri, Sr. founded Fine Fare Supermarket on Third Avenue, the site of a former Foodland Supermarket, and the two of them remodeled and expanded it to its current size.
"Tony and his family have been incredibly generous to the Long Branch community," the release states. "In February 2012, West End experienced a devastating fire which destroyed 9 businesses and 14 apartments. Tony made sure all the victims received substantial gifts cards to shop with so they could start rebuilding their lives."
Bienz and Nativo opened MIX Lounge and Food Bar July 13, 2001 and 2nd Floor Restaurant in December 2012.
Sam was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma in the fall of 2011. While undergoing chemotherapy, he and Michael discussed Sam resuming his culinary career.
"The deal was that if I keep forging through, Michael would make this restaurant happen," Nativo said in the release.
After twelve months, Nativo's cancer was in remission and construction of 2nd Floor Restaurant started in the summer of 2012.
Other awards include the 2015 President's Award will be presented to the Dr. Barry Elbaum Dental Health Center on Broadway and the Chamber Business Improvement Award which will go to 400 Broadway Business Park.
Tickets for the award dinner are available at $100 per person. Sponsorships and ad space are still available. Please contact the chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-222-0400.