Businesses and Residents Recognized With Annual Awards

By SLNext
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Dec 10th, 2020
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At the December 7, 2020 City Council meeting, the Mayor and City Council recognized residents and businesses that are giving back to the community with the annual District Leadership Awards and Mayor’s Awards for Excellence.

This year Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter presented the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence to As Kneaded Bakery (small business), Joe’s Pho (medium business), Torani (large business). The Mayor’s Awards for Excellence are presented to businesses that show exemplary commitment to the San Leandro Community – something that, in this year’s economic climate, has both been much needed, and challenging to do. Mayor Cutter expressed amazement and gratitude toward the outpouring of generosity from so many local businesses, who are working hard and giving back despite major challenges.

This year’s small business award recipient, As Kneaded Bakery. Owner Iliana Berkowitz has built the popular Broadmoor neighborhood bakery (located at 585 Victoria Court) from the ground up, quickly growing in order to meet demand. The business has suffered through the past nine months, just like the majority of small businesses, yet has placed high importance on feeding those in need by regularly donating baked goods to local food pantries. Iliana employs a staff of 19 bakers, retail staff, administrative staff, and drivers.

Another fast-growing business is Joe’s Pho, this year’s recipient in the medium business category. Since opening at 15070 Hesperian Boulevard, Joe’s Pho has become a local favorite, and the restaurant’s success has resulted in an expansion of the dining room and an upcoming second location in Downtown San Leandro. During the pandemic, Joe’s Pho has generously provided free meals to seniors, first responders, and health care workers, showing a deep commitment to giving back to the community. Joe’s Pho employs 10 staff in its current location, with more jobs to come at the second location.

Photo taken in February 2020.

The large business recipient is indeed large! Internationally renowned syrup manufacturing giant Torani recently opened its new headquarters and 330,000 square foot manufacturing facility at 2000 Marina Boulevard in San Leandro. Despite only recently opening, Torani has already shown great commitment to the community by participating in local career fairs, community outreach, and participating in the 2019 Cherry Festival. Part of the company’s legacy is its commitment to youth and education, and Torani has plans to partner with local organizations, in addition to starting its own apprenticeship program by the end of 2021.

The Mayor also awarded this year’s “City Where Kindness Matters” Award to San Leandro resident Brandon Price, who selflessly devotes around 30 hours weekly to volunteering at April Showers and the San Leandro Community Food Pantry.

Councilmembers also awarded the District Leadership Awards to San Leandro people and organizations who distinguish themselves by providing laudable leadership in their communities. This year’s recipients were:

  • Council District 1 (Deborah Cox): Patty Breslin of San Leandro 2050
  • Council District 2 (Ed Hernandez): Pedro Naranjo, Chair of the Human Services Commission
  • Council District 3 (Victor Aguilar): Erina & Michael Kim-Eubanks of Bethel Community
  • Council District 4 (Benny Lee): Robert “Bob” Glaze, Oro Lomo Board Member, former San Leandro Councilmember, and more.
  • Council District 5 (Corina Lopez): Betsy Venters of San Leandro Color
  • Council District 6 (Vice Mayor Pete Ballew): Charlie Deterline of Meals on Wheels

Congratulations to all of this year’s award recipients! This year in particular it is important to recognize the good that persists in the San Leandro community, even when times are most challenging.

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