The Nordonia Hills Chamber of Commerce recognized a crafter specializing in fiber arts and a helper dedicated to beauty at its annual awards luncheon Feb. 12.
Jeannine Hausch, owner of Long Tail Knits in Macedonia, was named "Small Business of the Year" for 2016, and "Chamber Star" Mary Kay consultant Marilyn Knapp-Walko was picked by Chamber CEO Laura Sparano as the individual who has done the most over the past year to help make the Chamber a success.
Hausch, who opened her Center Point Plaza business on Valley View Road in Macedonia late in 2015, does more than sell goods, Sparano said.
"Open less than a year, Jeannine has opened her doors to area groups looking for a comfortable place to meet," she said. "Although profit is certainly a goal / Jeannine truly believes in giving back to the community and believes she can sell a need.
"Groups meeting in her store have donated countless hats, scarves, Afghans, chemo hats, baby blankets to local non-profits and some items go directly to the homeless. Grieving families have dropped off unfinished knitted and crocheted projects which Jeannine finishes and donates.
"Will Rodgers said 'A stranger is just a friend I haven't met yet,' and there's no strangers at Long Tail Knits, only friends that Jeannine hasn't met yet," Sparano said.
She pointed out she is not the one who made the nomination, though she and Hausch are close friends.
"She's a very good friend of mine and I am at Long Tail Knits every night from 6 p.m. until closing," Sparano said.
Hausch said she was "totally floored" when she heard that she was going to be recognized.
"I did not know that the things that I had decided my shop was going to stand for and the things that I was going to do / she said 'Think about it -- you're doing it for the community.
"Things that I always wanted to see in the yarn store to support the community, to provide a place where you could just come and sit and relax and escape the everyday things that are bothering you. To find a sympathetic ear that just says 'Yup, yup,' and just keeps on knitting," she said. "If you want my opinion, I'll give it. If not, you can just vent."
Hausch left her job of more than 18 years at an electronics manufacturing shop to take up her love of fiber arts. She sells thread ranging from baby weight yarn to chunky yarns, including exotic yak, camel and alpaca fiber yarn
The store got it's name because "long tail" is a knitting term and after the old adage "Long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs," which is how Hausch said she kind of envisioned the store.
Long Tail Knits is located at 9838 Valley View Road. For more information call 234-808-4383 or visit its Facebook page. The store's website will be at www.longtailknits.com.
Sparano next introduced Knapp-Walko as the "Chamber Star" of the year.
"This is the award that I give out to the person who has been such a big help over the past year," Sparano said.
"Always perfectly coiffed, dressed professionally and perfectly made up, you would never know what a tiger she is," Sparano said, adding Knapp-Walko was in charge of several events, including the Chamber's annual holiday party in December and chili cook-off.
"We all know who had the drive and perseverance to make those events possible / It was Marilyn who more than doubled our net profit for the holiday party. I have found this lovely, unassuming lady to be a great asset to our Chamber and to our Board of Directors. If she says she'll do it, she'll do and and she'll do it well and she won't stop until the job is done."
Knapp-Walko credited other Chamber members for her ability to get things done.
"I couldn't have done it without the committee ... and I just thank all of you who supported and worked and helped. All of you working together -- I think we have a good team," she said.
The Chamber also swore in a new Board of Directors, with Maria Dubnicka, of ComForCare Senior Services, taking over Kevin Waldron's post as Chamber president. Waldron of Ridgway Insurance, has served as Chamber president for the past two years.
County Council District 1 Rep. Nick Kostandaras was on hand to swear in the new Chamber board of directors.
Sparano credited Waldron for his service as a Board member since 2010 and as Board president, listing "pretty much every Chamber event" he has participated in.
"I'll miss Kevin being around all the time ... thank you for everything that you have done for the Chamber," she said.
Waldron said it has been his pleasure and priveledge to serve and thanked the board of directors for their support.
Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433