The Butler County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors invites you to “celebrate businesses” on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at the Chamber’s ‘Celebrate Business’ Annual Dinner at the Robert M. Smith Student Center on the campus of Slippery Rock University. The event will recognize the accomplishments of local businesses and highlight the activities of the Chamber, our programs and our volunteers. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres cocktail party (microbrews courtesy of North Country Brewing Company) and continues with dinner and award presentations. The culinary staff at Slippery Rock Dining Services (AVI Food Systems) has promised a wonderful display of gourmet delicacies. The Butler County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Tom Taylor, Fairground Market, has been selected as the William A. Morgan, Jr. Entrepreneur of the Year 2019. Tom Taylor reminisces about the days of driving his young family to Moraine State Park and, on the way, saying, “we ought to open a business here.” Fast forward four decades and that aspiration – the Fairground Market – not only materialized, it grew and flourished under the umbrella of Taylor’s unyielding work ethic and compassion. A Slippery Rock High School graduate and former Army National Guardsman, he grew up in a family where working at Pullman Standard was a bit of a heritage. Like his father and brothers, Tom Taylor worked at Pullman in the heavy operating press for about 16 years until it closed shop in 1981. Having lived in Prospect his whole life, Tom Taylor in his younger years kept a second job at an area gas station where he was a mechanic who also served customers or washed cars. “I’ve had a busy life,” he said.
Tom Taylor said he got to know a lot of people who live in that area, prompting him and his then- wife, Rebecca “Becky Sue” Taylor, decided to open a deli and grocer locally. They first rented the 1,200-square-foot, one-time upholstery shop in June of 1983. Four years later, Becky died of cancer. “We’d started this together,” Tom Taylor said, reflecting on his wife’s death, when the community helped him not only as a business owner but father raising two children, Brian and daughter Sherry. Instead of giving up the couple’s dream when Becky died, Tom Taylor pushed forward and that same year remodeled and enlarged the store and adjacent ice cream stand. “I owned the ice cream stand too because it was on the same half-acre,” Tom Taylor said. Since then, Tom Taylor has added on to the Fairground Market building four more times. Its current 8,000-square-foot space includes a full meat department, vegetables, necessities and a hot food counter.
Tom Taylor also slowly purchased surrounding properties – a total of 29 acres to date. By the time he married Betty Jo Taylor in 1992, Tom Taylor already had started the catering side of the business, “as an adventure… to see what we could do,” he said. Today Fairground Market, caters between 100 and 200 weddings a year, in addition to numerous benefits and charities. Fairground Market now employees about 20 people. Cashiers, deli workers, cooks and two full-time butchers are at present on the Fairground Market staff. One Tom Taylor’s most valued workers, Beth McCandless, has been the chief cook of the store for 26 years. Annually, the week of the Big Butler Fair – the inspiration to the store name — remains its busiest week. But at any given time, 200 people a day will get food from the store’s hot case. “We have come a long way in 30 some years,” Tom Taylor said.
Although Tom Taylor is a fan of vacationing in the Bahamas and watching his own two horses race at local venues, he admittedly doesn’t get to it as much he or his family might like. “I wonder why they put up with me, I’m here all the time,” he said, noting that retirement is not in the near future. Or ever. “That’s just not something you do,” he said. “I’m 71 years old, and I work seven days a week. I enjoy what I do. I get to help a lot of people in the community, and I have a lot of people who work here who depend on me for a living. I keep taking work, so they have work. I have no ghosts or regrets on anything I have done, and I plan to keep doing it.”
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is presented to an outstanding local business owner and is recommended by the Chamber’s Past President’s Advisory Council along with past award recipients. Past recipients include Nancy Reader, Merril Moses, Lisa Guard, Nadine Tripodi, John Giles, Joe Gray, Bob McCafferty, Tom Graham, David Lloyd, Richard Musko, William McCarrier, N. Lee Ligo and Matthew Diehl. Fairground Market has continued their chamber membership since opening their doors, and has proven to be a reliable, consistent and creative service for many of our major events such as our award dinners, luncheons, and annual golf outing. Tom’s generosity has assisted many of our Leadership Butler County fundraising projects achieve their goals. His success is truly based on hard work, persistence and a love of community as he continues to exemplify the “Entrepreneurial Spirit”. We congratulate him and thank him for his contributions to our community.
Each year, the Butler County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Past Presidents / Board Chairs, selects a business in Butler County to receive the Award of “Business Champion” which is presented at our annual dinner. The Past Presidents Advisory Council unanimously recommended honoring David L. Lloyd, Past Board Chair, by naming this award in his honor. Selection is based on: Unique Initiatives, Investment in Butler County, Innovative Approaches, People Philosophy/ Employee Commitment, Recognition/Awards and Future Plans.
No one fits these criteria better than our selection for the inaugural David L. Lloyd Memorial Butler County Chamber of Commerce Business Champion Award Winner 2019. Elected in 2016, our board of commissioners, Leslie Osche, Kimberly Geyer and Kevin Boozel, has worked collaboratively to elevate the level of cooperation, professionalism and positive business atmosphere in Butler County. Our organization recognizes that the single most effective recent influence on business growth and economic enhancement has been this governing body. Having unanimously agreed upon implementing a Unified Plan for Economic Prosperity, first initiated by the Butler County Chamber of Commerce and subsequently resurrected by the Butler County Community College, the board of commissioners serves as the lynchpin to this spirit of organized growth and positive energy.
Upon hiring a Chief of Economic Development and Planning for the County of Butler, the plan became reality and is now the Butler Growth Collaborative with the mission to Preserve and Empower economic prosperity. This means not only developing new business ventures through a positive entrepreneurial environment, but also by ensuring the success of our existing businesses through cooperation and engagement. This can be seen in developing new industrial parks, residential and commercial developments, places of hospitality and refreshment, manufacturing, health care and professional services or simply assisting in developing our students by bringing business leaders and students together, in the classroom.
County employees are encouraged to participate in business programs such as Leadership Butler County, Butler County Youth Leadership Program, Butler County Young Professionals as well as the Opioid Task Force and serve on these Boards of Directors. In addition, the County of Butler has seats on the Butler County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Community Development Corporation of Butler County as well as Butler County Community College, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (Second Vice President and Treasurer) and Criminal Justice Advisory Board.
Past “champions” include Kenmac Rentals & Sales, Thompson-Miller Funeral Home, Slippery Rock University, Concordia Lutheran Ministries, C. W. Howard Insurance Agency, Eisler Landscapes / The Atrium, Butler County Ford, Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau, Butler Eagle, Butler Health System, ARMSTRONG, Quality Life Services, United Plate Glass, CDC of Butler County, VNA of Western PA, NexTier Bank, Friedman’s Freshmarkets, Randy & Bob’s CARSTAR and Baglier Buick GMC Mazda. Thank you to our event sponsors, Minuteman Press, Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau, Ligo Architects, WesBanco Bank, Butler Eagle, Butler Health System, NexTier Bank, Highmark, Farmers National Bank, ARMSTRONG and North Country Brewing Company.
In addition, we will be celebrating our Leadership Butler County Program and presenting the Leadership Butler County Graduating Class of 2019 at their graduation sponsored by C.W. Howard Insurance Agency and Thompson-Miller Funeral Home. The Leadership Board of Directors is pleased to announce the following graduates: Dan Bauer, Slippery Rock University, Everett Adrian Currie, US OPM, Tammie Futcher, Sonneborn, Jordan Grady, Alliance for Nonprofit Resources, Andrew Gryskewicz and Jamie Halaszynski, Butler VA Medical Center, Shauna Hutchins, Mars Bank, Kathryn Ihlenfeld, Butler County Community College, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Don’t Stop Dreamin’, Joseph Kubit, Montgomery, Crissman, Montgomery, Kubit, Melissa McCullough, Butler Memorial Hospital, Alysha Mosby, US OPM, Autumn Patterson, Northwest Bank, Andrew Pepe, Butler VA Medical Center, Seth Prentice, Armstrong, Sara Reed, Maher Duessel CPA, Dr. Belinda Richardson, Butler County Community College, Elizabeth Short, Butler YWCA, Jamie Shuster, NexTier Bank, Trey Skalos, Farmers National Bank, Ryan Smith, Calumet Penreco, Jud M. Stewart, Armstrong, Rebecca Stokes, Butler County Area on Aging and Micayla Tincha, Stantec. Congratulations to the Leadership Butler County Class of 2019. If you have not received your invitations, please call the Chamber at 724.283.2222 or email Jennifer@ButlerCountyChamber.com. Cost is $50.00 per person and tables of 8 may be reserved.