Member businesses and individuals of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce were recognized during the organization’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at the Barn at Frosty Valley in Danville, and sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities.

More than 240 people attended the dinner meeting which celebrated outstanding member achievements, elected members to the Board of Directors, highlighted Chamber activities of the past year, and previewed the year ahead.

The Chamber’s five annual awards were presented to businesses and individuals for their significant contributions to the community. The following awards were presented to the following recipients:

Small Business of the Year
(Sponsored by First Columbia Bank & Trust)
Marr Development

Large Business of the Year
(Sponsored by DRIVE)
Atlantic Broadband

Nonprofit of the Year
(Sponsored by PNC Bank)

Community Progress Award
(Sponsored by Atlantic Broadband)
Frosty Valley Resort

Outstanding Citizen
(Sponsored by Berwick Industrial Development Association)
Lisa Makara, Geisinger Bloomsburg

The Small Business of the Year award is presented to a member business or organization of 30 employees or fewer than has done one or more of the following: demonstrated business or community leadership evidenced by diversification and creativity in the development of new products, services and/or markets; demonstrated staying power and positive response to adversity; or demonstrated community involvement.

Marr Development started by owning and operating rental properties just over 30 years ago.  The company has grown and expanded its residential portfolio and added commercial development diversity including clinics to care-for-our-Veterans. Look for additional Marr projects at the Columbia County Business Park at the Lightstreet interchange.

They also offer a variety of professional services that include HVAC, general contracting, cleaning services, and property management.

Philanthropy is also an important part of the company’s activities. Marr Development gives to a variety of causes that include education, the arts, and children. The company continues to grow, diversify and expand, benefiting our area. 

The Large Business of the Year Award, is presented to a business with 31 or more employees, and the criteria is the same as for the Small Business of the Year.

While Atlantic Broadband is known for its service in the region, with local offices, local customer service and local technical support, representing almost 90 local positions of employment, it also has been a leader in cutting-edge technology that has helped improve daily life for residences and businesses. These innovations include Enhanced WiFi, which utilizes advanced technology to deliver the best possible internet coverage and speeds. One gigabit per second internet powers the most data-intensive applications so that home and business users can surf, stream, download and work online on multiple devices simultaneously.

For businesses in the region, Atlantic Broadband has introduced Hosted Voice, a cloud-based phone system which provides enterprise-class phone features.  The result is a communications service with the flexibility and capability to support businesses with five to 500 employees.

Atlantic Broadband expanded its Eastern Pennsylvania service region in 2019 into Union, Snyder, Mifflin, Huntingdon, Fulton and Bedford Counties, and into areas of Centre County in 2020. 

Every year, the employees of Atlantic Broadband join together and volunteer their time to host the Giving Back 5K. The event, now in its 8th year, benefited local Veterans at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, through programs such as the Center’s Suicide Prevention Program, the Transition and Care Management Program and the Women Veterans Program. Proceeds from the 5K also supported the Summerhill Fire Company, Geisinger Health Foundation and Briar Creek Township Police Department.

The Community Progress Award goes to a member business or organization that showed improvement in the internal or external appearance of a commercial property through either new construction, renovation, restoration or remodeling, and completed that construction within the last three calendar years or by December 2018.

Following the purchase of Frosty Valley Country Club by The Liberty Group in August, 2017, the clubhouse was completely renovated and rebranded as The Iron Fork restaurant. The Iron Fork offers a causal dining experience with American-styled food, and features a full bar which highlights Pennsylvania craft breweries and distilleries. 

The large barn near the clubhouse was previously used for maintenance and storage. The renovation into The Barn at Frosty Valley provides another much-needed venue for large events throughout the year. The Barn features an outdoor deck and a ground level patio. To facilitate large functions, a large, paved parking lot was added.

Plans are also moving forward to build a number of small cottages on the property, to accommodate guests for weddings and other special events.

The Outstanding Citizen Award is presented to an individual that is an employee or volunteer of a member organization who is involved in civic activities beneficial to the Columbia Montour region and who projects a positive community image.

Lisa Makara is employed by Geisinger and is involved in many activities that are very beneficial to the Columbia and Montour County area. When you say her name almost everyone in the region knows of her.

She has served with many non-profits through her role at Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, as well as volunteered her personal time.

A few of the many groups and committees she has served on include: the Coalition for Social Equity, Renaissance Jamboree, Head Start, the Dyslexia Center, Community Board for Emergency Preparedness, Past President of the Bloomsburg Kiwanis Club, North Mountain Art League, United Way fundraising committee and cabinet, Columbia County Alzheimers, Bloomsburg Area YMCA, Board of Danville State Hospital, Bloomsburg University Arts Council, March of Dimes, she works with Geisinger’s veterans program, and has served as a Chamber Ambassador for many years.

Lisa not only represents Geisinger’s motto of caring very well within the community, but has given of herself to help make our area a better place to live and work.

The Nonprofit of the Year Award is presented to a nonprofit organization with 100 or fewer employees that has provided diversified and creative aid to the Columbia Montour region utilizing business, personal, and community resources.

AGAPE has grown from a starting budget of zero in 2009 to a 2019 budget of $2.9 million- with three quarters of that number being food and household inventory items. In 2011, AGAPE was awarded the Humanitarian Award from the Alcoa Foundation. In 2017, it provided over two point three million dollars in total assistance.

And AGAPE’s mission isn’t just to help people get by, but to improve their situations. They offer counseling with budgeting and financial savings programs. Getting Ahead is a sixteen-week course designed to help clients better understand their situation and provide them with the tools and resources to become self-sufficient.

AGAPE’s reach has expanded within the region, offering a variety of events throughout the year. AGAPE Palooza is their annual anniversary celebration held in August, which brings together community organizations and citizens to learn about and support programs.

Through the dedication of employees, board members and volunteers, AGAPE is a transformational force in helping families with essential needs while encouraging them to build sustainable lives.

The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization that represents nearly 430 businesses and organizations from the Columbia and Montour region.