Bel Air and Harford County politicians, business leaders and community liaisons gathered at the Liriodendron Mansion on Thursday evening in anticipation of learning the town's 2013 Archer-Bull and Business of the Year award winners.
After a half-hour of mingling and snacking on a spread of finger food and wine selections, members of the Bel Air Town Commissioners and Economic and Community Development Commission gathered in front of a few dozen attendees to announce the honorees: Bel Air Liquors, the Archer-Bull recipient, and Tiny Toes, the Business of the Year.
Larry Dean and his wife, Julie, owners of Bel Air Liquors, at 315 S. Main St., were presented the Archer-Bull Award by Deborah Haney, chair of the Economic and Community Development Commission.
The Archer-Bull Award is presented annually to a business in recognition of excellence in its design, construction and environmental friendliness. It is named after prominent 19th century Bel Air architect George Archer and master builder Jacob Bull. Residential and commercial properties built within five years of the award year are eligible for nomination.
Each year the winner of the Archer-Bull award is selected by an independent contractor who compares the architecture of the eligible nominees. This year's judge was Steven Burdette, a former town commissioner and husband of current Commissioner Stephen Burdette.
"When we purchased the property four or five years ago we thought a lot about how we wanted it to look," Dean said after accepting the award. "It looks like something that could have been built 100 to 150 years ago and expanded as the building was built."
For decades, Bel Air Liquors occupied a storefront on Hickory Avenue, across from the firehouse, but Dean was forced to relocate when the county government bought the property, part of its plan to one day build a new office building in the block.
Dean thanked this wife for all of her hard work and dedication in completing the construction of the project. He said he was ill during construction of the building.
"Two years ago when we broke ground I was in the hospital," Dean said. "I had colon cancer and did six months of chemo. My wife, she kept things together and we hope the building outlasts us all."
Todd Hoffman and Stephanie Fantl, of Innovative Building Solutions, were the builder and architect on the project.
The Deans were also presened with a number of proclamations from the Town of Bel Air, Harford County Council Maryland General Assembly and Bel Air Economic and Community Development Commission.
Business of the Year
Karen Jacobs and Tina Lewis, principals of Tiny Toes, a children's boutique at 4 N. Main St., were presented the Business of the Year Award by Town Board Vice Chair Robert J. Reier.
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"This award is certainly near and dear to my heart as a previous recipient of it," Reier said before presenting the award.
The award is presented annually to a business thatcontributes to the Town of Bel Air through community development and volunteer service.
Jacobs has served as president of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance for the past few years.
"It is great to see some many familiar faces," Lewis said, as she scanned the crowd while accepting the award. "So many people in this room have been apart of our success over the years. We had no idea what we were doing when we opened, but so many people stepped us to help us with the process."
Jacobs and Lewis ushered their employees to join them at the front of the room to join in the celebration.
"For our girls, we are so thankful for having each and every one of you," Lewis said to her all-woman staff. "You make it a special place to come to work. We are thankful for the love and dedication you give us."
Jacobs and Lewis also received numerous proclamations from the Town of Bel Air, Harford County Council, Maryland General Assembly and Bel Air Economic and Community Development Commission.