Business owners, community members to be honored

Bethlehem Chamber's 26th Annual Awards Dinner set for April 29

There will be four people lining up for three awards at the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce's Annual Awards Dinner at the end of the month.

Clutching the Business Person of the Year Award will be Brendan McCann and Daniel Casey, co-owners of the Perfect Blend Cafe and Make Me a Cake Next Door at the Four Corners in Delmar. Receiving the Community Spirit Award will be Derek Martin, executive director of the Bethlehem YMCA, and the Citizen of the Year Award will be given to Melissa Stewart for her varied community involvement.

This will be the chamber's 26th Annual Awards Dinner, but the first for new President Jennifer Kilcoyne. Though her tenure is just getting underway, she said she's excited to present this slate of award winners.

I think that each of them has definitely made a significant contribution to the Bethlehem community, she said, adding that there was a fair amount of interest in the awards this year during the nominations process.

A Perfect Blend for success

A few years ago, Casey and McCann had the same conversation many young friends might have: let's take out passions and go into business. And in late 2008, they followed through by opening Perfect Blend.

Since then, the coffee shop has flourished even in this dicey economy by offering the community what it wants: good food, good coffee and a relaxed atmosphere.

At least one of the two owners can usually be found behind the counter, greeting customers and slinging fair trade coffee.

"We look at it as everybody is family," Casey said. "We don't look at them as customers anymore."

For the past year, the duo have also been spending time at their spinoff business, Make Me a Cake Next Door (located adjacent to the Perfect Blend, appropriately). They scooped it up after another bakery operation vacated the premises.

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