WESTFIELD, NJ — The Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce will honor several local business owners April 19 at its 70th Anniversary Gala.

The Business Leader of the Year Award will go to Ron Shovlin of Shovlin Mattress Factory in Fanwood, a family-owned business that competes with national bedding brands. Several years ago, Shovlin moved its state-of-the-art factory from Garwood to Fanwood and increased the size of its showroom.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce as a Business Leader of the Year,” Shovlin said. “Growing up in Westfield, I have a lot of pride for this area and the people. It's Important to me to give back whenever I can. I feel that everyone has something to give, whether it be time, money or just plain old words of encouragement.”

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The Foundation Award, given to multi-generational family businesses that have been GWACC members for more than 40 years, will be presented to William’s Nursery owner David Williams and to Alder’s Jewelers owners Jeff Arkin and Andy Arkin.  

Christopher Schiavone, owner of Shackamaxon Country Club, will be given the Local Business Award of the Year for taking a business that was bankrupt and making it thrive.

Gary Patti, owner of Gold Medal Gym, will receive the Motivational Inspiration Award. Patti started his business in the mid 70s when he owned the only gym in the area. In today’s competitive environment, Patti’s business has grown as he keeps current with the latest services and equipment available today.

The GWACC was created when a group of 29 Westfield business owners met at the Rialto Theater and signed an agreement to support the local businesses in the area. (You can see the original document displayed in the chamber's office on Lenox Avenue in Westfield.) Of the 29 original members, only the Rialto Theater and Baron’s Drugs are still around. Today, the chamber has about 500 members representing businesses in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside and Garwood.

A 70th anniversary Gala will take place on April 19 6 p.m. at The Primavera Regency in Stirling — the same location used for the chamber’s GWACC’s 50th anniversary party. The event, featuring live music by The Duprees, will include a two hour networking opportunity with a cocktail hour featuring passed hors d’oeuvres, multiple carving stations, pasta stations, cheese and salad area along with several chafing dishes, followed by a sit-down coffee and dessert.There will also be an all-evening open bar. 

For more information, visit www.gwaccnj.com/events . A major portion of the proceeds from the gala will go to the GWACC Foundation, a 501c3 charity organization supporting local high school scholarships, non-profit grants and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.