Heart of Danville gives annual awards

Published 5:08 pm Thursday, March 24, 2022

The Heart of Danville held its annual awards presentation at the Arts Center of the Bluegrass on Monday.

Its first annual meeting in two years since the pandemic, the Heart of Danville gave awards to businesses and individuals who invested in downtown in the past two years. Community members made nominations, and the Heart gave out seven awards.

Heart of Danville Executive Director Mary Conley said that people and businesses downtown do a lot of good work, and they do it for the community, not for themselves.

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AnnYager McCrosky, chair of the Heart of Danville, said, “We are here to celebrate the fact that we’ve made it two years, the Heart is still moving forward. Thank you to our new businesses, our old businesses, and everyone who makes downtown this great, amazing place.”

• Rob Caudill presented the Heart and Soul/Downtown Hero award to Chris and Wendy White, owners of Plank on Main. The award is presented to businesses or individuals that put their heart into preserving and advocating for Main Street.

The Whites have been involved in the restoration of two spaces on Main street which became staples of downtown. “We are very fortunate to have them as active members of our downtown,” Caudill said.

• Mary Conley presented the Big Heart/Volunteer of the Year award to Terry Dachenhaus. The award is for someone who gives of themselves whenever needed to serve Main Street and its activities.

Dachenhaus used to be the Heart of Danville treasurer. He has volunteered for downtown events for the past four to five years, doing everything from pouring beers to hauling equipment.

“During the calendar year of 2021, when the Heart of Danville didn’t have an executive director, he played an integral role in keeping the Heart of Danville moving forward; he took care of all of the administrative duties, served on design and board committees, and worked with an accountant to prepare financial statements,” Conley said.

• Ann Yager McCrosky presented the Heart on Fire/Creativity and Innovation in Business award to Kate Snyder, who started Plaid Elephant Bookstore. The award is for a new or established business that uses creative or forward-thinking approaches, enhancing the downtown climate.

Snyder started Plaid Elephant in 2021 as a children’s bookstore. She modeled the store around what people in the community were looking for, a place for children to gather and enjoy.

One person who nominated Snyder for the award said, “It takes a leap of faith to open a business in the middle of a pandemic. Kate has done a great job. Adding a brick and mortar bookstore to downtown in a day of mega mail order is a bonus for all of Danville. Kate assisted me with picking out Christmas items for our grandchildren. I gave her ages and their likes. She had all the suggestions ready when I walked in the door. Great customer service!”

• McCrosky gave the Pulse award/Business Excellence award to the Arts Center of the Bluegrass for its work on reaching and serving the community through the pandemic. President Brian Hutzley accepted the award.

The award is for a business that keeps its “finger on the pulse” of downtown activities, and has been a sustaining force to economic vitality through the pandemic. It is considered a mainstay of the community.

“They went above and beyond during the pandemic in helping to engage our community and move Danville forward,” McCrosky said. “The amazing staff here at the art center, not only did they do online art classes, they also kept the art box full and kept our community engaged.”

• The Heartbeat/Visual Appeal award was given to the Copper and Oak restaurant. The award is for a business that cultivates a curb appeal to their store that draws in visitors.

Co-owners Beau and Nicole Cacciatore and Randy Vest, who could not make it to the event, opened the restaurant shortly after the pandemic started in 2020. They created visual appeal in elements of balance, color, lighting, signage, and building maintenance. Its result is a warm, authentic and inviting atmosphere.

• Valery McMann presented the King of Hearts/Outstanding Renovation award to Brian and Rami Little of Slough Creek Real Estate Investments. They rehabilitated the Plaid Elephant Bookstore building, including its original door.

The award is for a historic rehabilitation project in the past year that improves the appearance of downtown. The company uncovered unique architectural features in their project.

One person who nominated the company said, “The big deal is the opening up of the entrance on 3rd Street. That is a cool preservation win because the door had been original to the architecture of the building, but had been lost at some point in its history. Re-installing that door and painting the facade made an immediate visual improvement to 3rd Street.”

• The Heart of Gold/Investment award went to creators of CentreWorks, Anthony and Andrea Margida. The award is for an individual or business that invested in downtown by undertaking a development project in the last year.

Centre College Vice President Ellen Goldey and Jenn Ahnquist accepted the award on behalf of the Margidas. With the direction of Centre College, the Margidas created a space for students and community members who are aspiring entrepreneurs to come together and learn.

The Margidas renovated the space on the third floor of The Hub building, using local materials, and saving the third floor windows in the process.