BERWYN – A Berwyn realtor and restaurant are the proud recipients of two prestigious awards handed out by the Berwyn Development Corp. that honor superior contributions to the Berwyn community.
Eddie Garcia, founder of Realty of Chicago, won the 33rd annual Charles E. Piper Award, and the Berwyn Culver’s won the eighth annual George W. Ashby Award for Business Excellence. The BDC hosted a celebration for the recipients March 24 at Paisans Pizzeria and Bar in Berwyn.
The Piper Award recognizes an individual who “best exemplifies the spirit of one of Berwyn’s original developers, Charles E. Piper.” Garcia and his employees hand out school supplies and backpacks to about 1,000 children each summer, give away about 7,000 Thanksgiving turkeys to needy families in Berwyn and Chicago, and provide scholarships to graduating high school seniors from Berwyn and Cicero.
Andy Sotiropoulos, BDC Board of Directors president, said Garcia goes well above and beyond in his contributions to the Berwyn community.
“He exemplifies this award. He’s an all-around great guy and a great addition to the community,” Sotiropoulos said. “The tradition of this award is important because it recognizes the efforts that businesses and businesspeople put into the community.”
Garcia said he was honored and humbled to receive the award and be in the same company as the past 32 winners.
“My goal was to have a successful business, but to have a successful business that can give back to the community was the ultimate goal,” he said. “Business owners have a responsibility to help out. Everything I have is because the community embraced [my company]. They took care of us, so that’s why we give back. We don’t forget where we came from.”
The Ashby Award for Business Excellence, which is named after one of Berwyn’s prominent architects, is given to a business that “presents a professional and favorable image to Berwyn, provides quality goods or services, maintains a visually appealing space and practices high-quality customer service to its patrons.”
Sotiropoulos said the Berwyn Culver’s was a perfect choice for the award because the business participates in many community events and gives 1 percent of its sales back to community organizations.
“They also took an underdeveloped corner and helped redevelop the entire area,” he said. “The whole revitalization of Roosevelt Road began with that corner. It’s the type of business that doesn’t say ‘no’ to anyone who needs help. [The owner and staff] are proud of what they do, and they should be.”
Danny Ehle, general manager of the restaurant, said he and his employees were “ecstatic” when they found out they won.
“We’re proud and honored to accept the award,” he said. “This award gave them a feeling that they’re important and that they’re doing something good in the community. One of our core values is to improve the communities we serve as a whole by partnering with individuals, community organizations and government at all levels. I know we’ve made an impact in Berwyn.”
In addition to the awards from the BDC, Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero issued a proclamation declaring March 27 as “Eddie Garcia and Berwyn’s Culver’s Day” in Berwyn. Culver’s gave away free scoops of custard to its guests, while Realty of Chicago spent the day discussing how it can do even more for the community over the next year.
“We talked about our 2018 goals. We want to feed 10,000 people on Thanksgiving this year and give away 2,000 backpacks," Garcia said. "I have an amazing team."