LIVINGSTON, NJ — Hundreds of Livingston residents joined the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) in celebrating its annual awards and cocktail reception on Wednesday at Crystal Plaza, the 2017 Business of the Year.
In addition to Business of the Year, the LACC also honored third-generation owner and president of Crystal Plaza Allan Janoff as Civic Leader of the Year; William “Bill” Gethard of the Livingston Fire Department; Detective Gregory Drucks of the Livingston Police Department; Livingston High School Student Assistant Counselor Christie Giacobbe as Educator of the Year; and Wayne Brandt of the Livingston First Aid Squad.
Following a video montage celebrating 100 years of the Crystal Plaza, which was originally founded as Alpine Caterers in Maplewood by Allan’s father, Max Janoff, Allan’s sons Hunter a Max introduced their father as Civic Leader of the Year.
“It’s not every day that you get to have the opportunity to introduce your father for an award,” they said. “We see it on TV and we think, well this happens all the time, but in reality, it’s a true honor to be acknowledged by anyone, let alone the county in which we operate our business and we’re so proud to call Crystal Plaza’s home.”
Four generations of Janoffs and the entire Crystal Plaza staff was on hand to celebrate the business and its leader. Allan, who was so overcome with emotion that his son read his acceptance speech, dedicated the award to his father, Harold, and his grandfather, Max, as well as the Crystal Plaza team.
“We are truly a team here, and our business wouldn’t run as smoothly as it does without the dedication and commitment of our front-house and back-house management staff,” said Allan, who also recognized his sons for recently coming on board to rebrand the company. “We have over 170 employees who strive to carry on our family’s legacy with the fine quality and attention to detail that began with my grandfather in 1917.”
Gethard, who was presented by Fire Chief Chris Mullin, was nominated by the fire department for his dedication and devotion to the township for 42 years as a volunteer.
Drucks, presented by Police Chief Craig Handschuch, was the recipient of the 2016 “Employee of the Year” by the township and now receives commendations from the LACC for his years of service on the Detective Division.
Superintendent of Schools Christina Steffner presented the Educator of the Year award to Giacobbe for excellence in her role as a student assistance counselor at the high school. According to the board of education, Giacobbe plays a “vital role in a team effort of intervention and prevention of the issues confronting today’s students.”
First Aid Squad president Craig Melhorn presented the squad’s award to Brandt, who has been a member of the organization since 2002, serves on several of its committees and participates in all of its activities.
Guests enjoyed a buffet reception, open bar, a dessert buffet, raffle and auction. The raffle and auction included more than 50 prizes from local businesses like Livingston Nails, Valley National Bank, Livingston Chiropractics, Saint Barnabas and many more. Many businesses sponsored this event as well.
“The chamber of commerce is very important to the Township of Livingston,” said Mayor Shawn Klein. “It does so many things to boost up the business in town, to celebrate the town and to be good citizens in our town, so we really appreciate their efforts.”