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Business

Downtown Wheaton Association honors businesses, individuals for contributions

Awards presented April 27 as part of association's annual meeting

Downtown Wheaton Association President Donna Hesik (left) presents Kathleen Gresk with a Volunteer of the Year award during the association's annual meeting and reception April 27 at Choun's Restaurant in downtown Wheaton.
Downtown Wheaton Association President Donna Hesik (left) presents Kathleen Gresk with a Volunteer of the Year award during the association's annual meeting and reception April 27 at Choun's Restaurant in downtown Wheaton.

WHEATON – Andrew's Garden owner Tonya Parravano is honored the Downtown Wheaton Association would see fit to name Andrew's Garden as its Business of the Year.

"The business community in downtown Wheaton has been so supportive, as well as the customers, who have really embraced the idea of a European-style shop, which is a different type of flower shop than what's typically found in the U.S.," she said. "We just love that they love our shop and are thrilled with the award."

She owns the retail floral and gift shop with her husband, Andrew. In October 2016, Andrew's Garden moved to 131 W. Wesley St. in downtown Wheaton, one block from its previous location. The location is bigger than its previous location, and it will allow the store to sell more fine gift items.

The award was one of several the Downtown Wheaton Association presented April 27 during the association's annual meeting and reception at Choun's Restaurant in downtown Wheaton. In addition to Andrew's Garden receiving the Business of the Year award, Suburban Music owner Paul Rodriguez received the Spirit of Downtown Wheaton award.

Volunteer of the Year awards went to Kathleen Gresk, the wife of Wheaton Mayor Michael Gresk, and Wheaton Mulch owner Scott Wilson. In addition, Miroballi Shoes received a facade improvement award.

"It's the Downtown Wheaton Association's way of really acknowledging these individuals and business owners who've really made a contribution to the downtown in many different ways," said Paula Barrington, executive director of the association.

Barrington said she hoped the awards bring attention to downtown businesses, such as Miroballi Shoes, which recently opened at 124 N. Hale St.

"They received an award for the improvement they did to their facade," Barrington said. "And that brings attention to the fact that they are new in the downtown Wheaton area and that they've invested a significant amount of money into the building itself."

She is pleased with this year's crop of winners, including that the owner of Suburban Music was this year's recipient of the Spirit of Downtown Wheaton award.

"Paul is one of those merchants who is a small operator, small independent business owner who is very engaged in the community," Barrington said. "But you don't always see that because he is quiet. He tends to do things on a quiet scale, and do them humbly."

Barrington said the Downtown Wheaton Association also appreciates the efforts of Kathleen Gresk.

"She does so much for the whole community, but the fact that she also takes the time to come and be a judge for our Halloween event and our Easter event, we really do appreciate her time and her enthusiasm," Barrington said.

Gresk said the feeling is mutual. This is the first time she has received a Volunteer of the Year award.

"They have asked me to do things like be the judge of the Halloween competition or to judge the Easter bonnets [during their Easter event]," Gresk said. "Anything that supports downtown Wheaton I'd be happy to volunteer for. I love downtown Wheaton, and I am happy to do it. And it's been a lot of fun."

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