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Published February 22, 2017
Orinda Chamber of Commerce announces Business of the Year awards

Three local businesses - Land Home Financial Services, Inc., Sanvitalia Home & Garden, and Susan Garell - were recognized by the Orinda Chamber of Commerce as recipients of the 2017 Business of the Year Awards and will be honored at the Business Award and State of the City luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, in partnership with the Orinda Rotary, at the Orinda Community Center, 24 Orinda Way.
Land Home Financial Services, Inc. is a private mortgage banker headquartered in Concord, comprised of six divisions, 80-plus branches nationwide and licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Land Home opened its Theatre Square location in early 2013 to much acclaim. Bridging the chasm between business and community, Land Home's lending model is driven by local relationships, community prosperity and interconnectedness. Led by Angela Erves, Land Home Orinda annually hosts two chamber events, provides its space to the Orinda Action Day committee, and proudly sponsors Orinda's July Fourth Parade, Action Day, and the NorCal Kids Triathlon. With resources geared for homebuyers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and builders; its services span the spectrum of commercial and retail lending, offering specialized products to meet the unique needs of the community of Orinda. "They have been very active in the community, and so welcoming to all chamber members!" says chamber board member Holly Henkel. For more information, visit lhfs.com, or www.facebook.com/LandHomeFinancialServices.
Helen Bentkowski opened Sanvitalia Home & Garden at the end of 2015. The Orinda store is located on the first floor of Theatre Square, across from Sweet Dreams Toy Store, combining Bentkowski's love of plants and decorations. Patrons of the gift store particularly appreciate the range and uniqueness of the merchandize that the store offers and have enjoyed seeing the expansion of the floral creations offered in the last months. Sanvitalia offers high-end lotions and candles, jewelry and handbags, and even cookbooks. "I love cooking and growing vegetables and fruits," explains Bentkowski. Leelyi, who has been working for years with Bentkowski, manages the store when the owner is at her other business, Terrace Gifts and Coffee in Oakland. "Their product line is top-notch quality and unique. They go out of their way to help you find the perfect gift. They designed a succulent plant arrangement for me after helping select the perfect vessel. Their orchids are high quality, long lasting. The presentation of their goods is attractive, creative, and easy. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful," said Kate Wiley of the Orinda Association. For information, visit sanvitaliahomeandgarden.com.
Susan Garell is a longtime Orinda resident who started her career on TV as a news reporter and producer for Business Now, aired on ABC affiliates including New York, Washington DC, Boston, and San Francisco. A few years ago she reoriented her career to support her community and has been producing long and short videos for local businesses. Garell has been a chamber ambassador for years, and in 2016 went far and beyond all expectations by creating, on a volunteer basis, videos for the chamber of commerce, and by conducting a video for small business training for chamber members. Chamber member and CPA Susan Hurrel commented about the training: "Wonderful. Lots and lots of information presented by a very talented resource." The videos can be seen on the chamber's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCelUzz0Fl7r4f23RyfTcXrw.
For more information about Garell's videos, visit www.susangarellvideos.com.
The cost of the lunch is $20, advanced reservations required. For tickets, visit the Orinda Rotary website: http://orindarotary.org/.
The Orinda Chamber of Commerce 2017 Business Award Winners:

Business of the Year: Land Home Financial Services Inc.
New Business of the Year: Sanvitalia Home & Garden
Ambassador of the Year: Susan Garell


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