Salon owner, hospital execs, building contractor among honorees
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
For 20 years, the Merchants of Third Avenue organization has been handing out awards to business leaders who are pioneers of the ongoing effort to expand the types of stores on the famous southern Brooklyn commercial strip. The organization, which represents hundreds of store owners on Bay Ridge’s Third Avenue from 65th Street to Marine Avenue, hosts a cocktail reception each year, where the Pioneers of Third Avenue are presented with awards.
This year yielded a bumper crop of recipients – 10 in all – as the Merchants group honored not only business leaders, but community activists who have worked to make Bay Ridge a better place to live and work.
The 2013 Pioneers of Third Avenue were the guests of honor at a cocktail reception held Oct. 28 at Cafe Remy. The restaurant was jammed packed with merchants, elected officials, cops, and members of civic organizations all of whom had come to see the winners pick up their plaques and to munch on cuisine from a variety of restaurants in the “Another Taste of Third Avenue” buffet that the Merchants group holds each year along with the pioneer party.
The award winners are: Charles Elias, owner of the Charles Elias Salon; Danielle Jabour-Saviolakis, real estate saleswoman at Jabour Realty; Courtney Sessa Flynn, director at McLaughlin and Sons Funeral Home; Ralph Succar, owner of Empire State Development LLC; Myles Davis, senior vice president of corporate services at Lutheran Medical Center; Douglas Jablon, executive vice president of Maimonides Medical Center; Larry Morrish, an independent business consultant; Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; and Karen Tadross, producer of Ridge Chorale/Jeff Samaha Theater Productions.
The 10th pioneer is Seamus Labradoodle, a puppy who serves as the official mascot to the Bay Ridge Saint Patrick’s Parade. Seamus, who was born in a puppy mill in Iowa, was rescued and is now owned by Deirdre and Michael Butler, the owners of the pet supply shop Paws Truly.
“We had an outstanding group of pioneers this year,” said Eagle columnist and Merchants Secretary Charles Otey, who served as chairman of the Pioneers cocktail reception. “It’s important to continue the tradition of serving the community. And this group of people has set the bar high for those who want to become community leaders in the future,” he told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Merchants President Bob Howe said the pioneer concept was born two decades ago as a way of honoring outstanding merchants who “moved the ball forward” and brought new ideas to the avenue. "These are people who understand that a strong business community and a strong residential community go together," he told the Eagle.
The Bay Ridge end of Third Avenue is home to more than 300 mom-and-pop shops. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since we started doing this,” Howe told the Eagle.
Many of the winners routinely go above and beyond the call of duty, according to Howe.
Elias, for example, not only operates a successful salon, but also sponsors the Christmas tree put up by the Shore Road Garden Council in Shore Road Park each holiday season. He is also a member of the Ben Bay Kiwanis Club.
Tadross, a founding member of Bay Ridge Cares, a charitable group that assists local residents in need, helped organize a massive relief effort following Superstorm Sandy in which volunteers cooked tens of thousands of meals that were delivered to communities hit by the hurricane.