This year's selection for the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce's Business Person of the Year came down to two nominees. And it was much easier, chamber president Ed Heath said, to give out two awards than to select just one winner from the two of them. Last Thursday, Michele Procino-Wells, who has a downtown Seaford law firm, and Craig Dimes, owner of Hungry Howie's and of two Subway restaurants in Seaford, were honored as the chamber's business people of the year. "They are great examples of what our community is all about," state Rep. Danny Short said during the chamber's annual awards dinner, held at the Seaford Fire Hall. County councilman Mike Vincent agreed. And he added, "Small business is what we're all about in Seaford." Also honored during the dinner was the chamber's volunteer of the year, Lynn Brocato. Home and Office Cabinetry of Delaware Inc. in Greenwood and its president, Michael Biggs, were given the chamber's annual Exceptional Customer Service Award. Procino-Wells was introduced by chamber board member Rob Harman. She is past president of the Soroptimist Club in Seaford and is treasurer of the club's Curiosity Shop. She is on the board of Nanticoke Health Services and of the Seaford Community Swim Center. She is also a member of the Seaford Enhancement Team that is working to improve the downtown area. "Michele provides invaluable legal services to the community in the areas of real estate, estate planning and administration, business formations and elder law," Harman said. "She is committed to excellence in all that she does, is open to suggestions and implementing ideas and embraces fresh ideas and processes." In her acceptance speech, Procino-Wells said that she was shocked when she learned that she had been named business person of the year. "Even with all that I have to juggle, I'm always beating myself up, thinking that I could have done better or that I could have done more," she said.

Dimes was introduced by his former boss, John Rittenhouse Sr., who was the chamber's business person of the year in 1995. "Integrity, character and Craig Dimes - those are synonymous," Rittenhouse said. "Craig is a faithful friend and is faithful to the chamber. "I'd like to say that I taught Craig everything he knows," Rittenhouse added. "But that would be untrue. We can teach procedure and policy. But we can't really teach the good stuff; you either have it or you don't. Craig has it." Dimes thanked the community for supporting his restaurants. He also thanked his employees, his partner, Dwight Belcher, and his wife, Kim. "If I didn't have good people around me, none of this would be possible," he said.
In introducing the chamber volunteer of the year, chamber director Paula Gunson said that Brocato "is someone who stands out from the crowd." A real estate agent and account executive with Comcast Spotlight, Brocato is chairwoman of the chamber's membership services committee and a member of the ambassador committee. "Her energy, sense of fun and enthusiasm are contagious and galvanize everyone on both committees to work harder to make every event successful," Gunson said.
Home and Office Cabinetry of Delaware was nominated for the exceptional customer service award because "it goes over and above their customer's expectations," Casey Bradham, member of the chamber's community involvement committee, said. The company "was nominated by a homeowner who felt that their work was spectacular and that they were respectful of her home," she added. "She trusted them in her home. She also said that they went above and beyond what was expected of them and that she would recommend them to anyone." For the first time, this year's awards dinner included an auction and a silent auction. More than 40 items were donated to the silent auction by chamber members and auctioneer Harman sold donated items in a live auction: sunglasses donated by Betts and Biddle, a camcorder donated by Comcast Spotlight, four rounds of golf and a gift certificate to Passwaters' Restaurant donated by Heritage Shores Golf Club and Ed Heath, and a $500 gift certificate donated by Scotts Furniture and a weekend in Ocean City, Md., donated by Chris and Rachel Benjamin, new owners of Sweet Serenity Chocolates in Seaford.

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.