BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Some people know how to celebrate a 50th anniversary.
Mantelli Trailer, a recreational vehicle dealership, has been in business on South Transit Road in the Town of Lockport for 50 years. And Thursday, owners Kim and Mark Watson were recognized as Business Persons of the Year.
The Watsons were recognized Thursday at the annual Lockport Business Association Recognition Awards and Dinner. The event honors some of the area’s best in both community and business.
The Watsons were surprised when they found out about the honor. While the recognition is nice, what’s great about local businesses is that they work together, the couple said.
“As a whole, it helps us to see Lockport grow, it’ll grow our businesses as well,” Mark Watson said.
Mantelli Trailer was founded by Kim Watson’s parents, Al and Shirley Mantelli. The Watsons have run the business for 30 years, while Mark Watson has run an online parts and accessories operation inside the former Harrison plant on Walnut Street.
Mantelli was recognized for not only having some long-time employees, averaging 18 years, but for having a reputation for customer service.
“I think one thing we’ve done is taken care of our customers,” Kim Watson said.
Other honorees included Basil Toyota as the Business of the Year and Lockport Community Television as the Community Support Person of the Year. David Kinyon, the director of economic development and Industrial Development Agency executive director for the Town of Lockport was recognized for lifetime achievement.
Kinyon and officials from the town were the major players in bringing Yahoo to Lockport. Heather Peck, LBA co-president, said Kinyon has worked for years promoting Lockport. When Peck first started working with Lockport Main Street, Inc., she said she was told to talk to “Mr. Lockport.”
“Now I know why they call you that,” Peck said to Kinyon.
The Barge Canal Optimist Club was recognized as the Local Service Club of the Year. President Audrey Jex and member Peggy Allen said the group was humbled by the honor.
“These ladies work hard,” Jex said.
One of the reasons the Barge Canal Optimists were recognized was the group’s annual golf tournament, Tee Off Against Breast Cancer. The event is a major fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen of Western New York organization.
Allen said the Optimists are also very active with the city’s youth, such as the Just Say No program for schools. Just Say No has been running for 22 years, since the club first started. The Barge Canal Optimists are one of the few such all-women organizations in the country, Allen and Jex said.2013 LOCKPORT BUSINESS ASSOCIATION AWARD WINNERS • Business Persons of the Year: Kim and Mark Watson, Mantelli Trailer • Business of the Year: Basil Toyota • Community Support Person of the Year: Lockport Community TV • Local Service Club of the Year: Barge Canal Optimist Club • Lifetime Achievement Award: David Kinyon Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.