CHESHIRE, CT – The Small Business Administration (SBA) Connecticut District Office on April 6 announced the Small Business Week 2022 Award Winners – topping the list is Small Business Person of the Year – Greek-born Viron Rondos of Viron Rondo Osteria, a restaurant located in Cheshire, CT.
“We are extremely excited to honor a truly amazing line up of small business owners and champion this year” said Catherine Marx, SBA’s Connecticut District Director. “It is important to recognize these outstanding entrepreneurs in Connecticut as they are the job creators, innovators, and the fabric of our local communities.”
The prerequisite for nomination includes small business owners that have received assistance through SBA Resource Partners (SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Veteran Business Outreach Centers) and/or use of SBA-backed loan programs, and COVID relief.
Marx continued: “For the past two years Connecticut small businesses confronted the uncertainty, disruptions, and hardships on an unprecedented scale. Yet, they have overcome challenges and achieved hard-won successes, innovating and creating to find new ways to serve customers, support workers and sustain our communities. National Small Business Week is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge their triumphs.”
“The SBA Connecticut 2022 Small Business Week Award winners are great examples of businesses that are helping to build a better America through Entrepreneurship,” said Mike Vlacich, SBA New England Regional Administrator. “These business owners demonstrate the resiliency and tenacity of entrepreneurs across Connecticut and our nation. They have proven their staying power, they create jobs, have shown response to adversity during unimaginable setbacks and they give back to their communities through their businesses and on their own time. I congratulate them on their achievements and on the part they are playing in powering our nation’s historic economic comeback.”
Rondos first opened his restaurant, Viron Rondo Osteria, in 2014 and then renovated in 2019, adding a patio and veranda, the New Haven Register (NHR) reported.
“I owe a huge ‘thank you’ to my staff that is as deserving of this award as I am,” Rondos said in a statement, NHR reported. “And especially these past two years, I am so grateful for the support of the SBA and all the officials in Connecticut that did their best to help restaurants during the COVID crisis.”
Rondos “stood out from the crowd because of his actions during the pandemic, Marx said,” the Hartford Courant (HC) reported on April 9.
“Throughout this pandemic he worked very hard to overcome insurmountable challenges,” she told HC. “Many restaurants were forced to close. He pivoted quickly to doing takeout. He has a large outdoor area that he actually expanded in 2019 and 2020. That decision was pivotal for him to survive.”
“He not only was a job creator but he was authentic and genuine, especially giving back during COVID,” Marx said, HC reported. “He immediately had deals for all front-line first responders. He was very passionate about helping his staff, giving them a stipend to eat at the restaurant. He’s involved with the Cheshire food pantry. To do all he does and still have time to give back to the community is exceptional.”
Rondos “also delivered food to hospitals and donated $500 a month to the charity Cheshire Lights of Hope,” HC reported, adding that “Rondos credited the community and his workers for his success.”
“It was a very challenging and very unique time… something very much unknown to all of us,” he told HC. “The staff worked really hard. The community was supporting us.”
2022 SBA Connecticut Small Business Week Awardees:
Small Business Person of the Year – Viron Rondos, Viron Rondo Osteria, Cheshire
Family-Owned Small Business of the Year – Charlie J. Negaro, Atticus Book Store, New Haven
Financial Champion – Derek Ezovski, ORMS, West Hartford
Manufacturer of the Year – Mary Ruth Shields, United Sewing & Design, Hartford
Microenterprise of the Year – Alexandra Lazowski, Bare Life, West Hartford
Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year – Lisa Chatman, Kiddie Tech University, West Haven
Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year – William Pastyrnak, Counter Weight Brewing Co., Cheshire
Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year – Candace Freedenberg, Untapped Potential, Hartford
New England Regional Women’s Business Center of Excellence – Women’s Business Development Council – Central CT, New Haven
Exporter of the Year – To be announced at a future date.
These Connecticut entrepreneurs will be highlighted during visits and at a private reception in May during National Small Business Week (May 2-6).
For more than 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has celebrated National Small Business Week (NSBW) to recognize the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman invites all to attend and register for this year’s 2022 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit from May 2-5.
More information and a complete list of events during National Small Business Week available online: www.sba.gov/nsbw.
More information about Viron Rondo Osteria is also available online: https://www.vironrondoosteria.com/.