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2020 Best of Manhattan Beach Winners Announced

Dec 13, 2020 10:17PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce has announced its "Best of Manhattan" award winners for 2020.

While the night is normally a gala presentation with hundreds of community members in attendance, this year's announcement took place on MBTV and on YouTube. It was symbolically held on the night when the Manhattan Beach Fireworks would normally be taking place. 

Despite the change in format for this year, more than 1,800 people cast votes on the nominees to choose this year's winners, according to Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelly Stroman. 

The winners are: 

Woman-Owned Business Award (presented to an outstanding Manhattan Beach woman-owned business which is independently owned, and operated by a female or females): The Source Cafe

Small and Mighty Award (recognizing a small independently owned/locally operated Manhattan Beach business, for its quality customer/client service, ethical business practices, community involvement, and the special flair it brings to the local business environment): Gum Tree

Healthy Living Award (recognizing an individual, business, or organization in Manhattan Beach that dedicates time and energy towards helping others enjoy a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle): South Bay Families Connected

Dine MB Award (recognizing a restaurant in Manhattan Beach that offers a COVID-19 safe outdoor-dining experience that is pleasant, irresistible, and serves delicious culinary options in Manhattan Beach): Love & Salt

Positive Pandemic Pivot Award (recognizing a business or non-profit in Manhattan Beach that quickly shifted or recreated their operations, in response to the challenges created by the pandemic): Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair

Best of Manhattan Award (recognizing a business that has a significant presence in the city, excels in quality customer/client service, is a leader in employment creation, andexemplifies excellent citizenship in giving back to the communities): Strand Hill

Two additional awards (which were not open to public vote) included:

Chamber Member of the Year (recognizing a business, organization or individual chamber member who goes above and beyond in their involvement with the chamber): Chevron

First Responders Award: Manhattan Beach Police Department and Manhattan Beach Fire Department.

Not a Typical Year for Awards

The Chamber of Commerce acknowledged that 2020 was obviously not a typical year for businesses or community organizations, and had adjusted and reframed some of their awards to reflect this year's challenges (including the new category of "Positive Pandemic Pivot").

The Chamber also recognized the unique challenges of 2020 by honoring Manhattan Beach's first responders in this year's awards. 

Of the Manhattan Beach Police Department, Stroman said, "They truly are 'pandemic powerhouses' and they have worked tirelessly to keep the community, the residents, and the businesses safe."

MBPD Chief Derrick Abell expressed gratitude to the Chamber for its support and acknowledgement. "The fact that we all work together and work as a team in the city of Manhattan Beach reflects on all of us, and we all serve as a role model not just for Manhattan Beach, but for the state of California and beyond, and I'm very proud of that," he said. 

As to the Positive Pandemic Pivot Award, Joe Marcy, president of the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair board, said that this year the MB Fair organization tried to continue serving the community in the way that it always has.

"For 48 years it's been our tradition to give back to the community. Our team was determined to do what we could to continue that tradition going forward," said Marcy. "Making an impact in the community truly was the best recognition we could ask for, but this also helps a lot."

Sylvie Gabriele, owner of Love & Salt and winner of the DineMB award, said that this was a year that had challenged her restaurant more than she could have ever imagined.

Love & Salt has been "challenged to the limit" to pivot into all kinds of different business models in 2020, said Gabriele. "This year has definitely challenged our stamina, our abilities, and I’m super proud of what we’ve done - beyond proud."

Gabriele added that even though she had grown up in Manhattan Beach, "I have never felt more connected to Manhattan Beach than this year, so it’s a great year to win."

The awards ended with a brief appearance by Pete Moffatt, the producer of the Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks show, which had to be canceled for this year.

"2021 will be the best year yet; we’ll see you then," he promised.

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