The Portsmouth Business Association held its annual meeting at Green Valley Country Club in Portsmouth on June 10th. Karen Toti of Karen’s Hair Design, a longtime member of the Portsmouth Business community and former President of the Portsmouth Business Association, was honored as this year’s Portsmouth Business of the Year. Karen Toti was honored with commemorative items from the Portsmouth Business Association, the Portsmouth Rotary Club, the Town of Portsmouth as well as citations from the Rhode Island Senate and House.
PBA President John C. Farley said of Karen’s Hair Design: “Karen is a good example of the entrepreneurial spirit required to start and run a successful small business.”
Karen, a native of Aquidneck Island, started working in the business over 30 years ago from a chair in the former JC Penny store in Newport. Her business, Karen’s Hair Design, is now located at 3357 East Main Road. Karen’s Hair Design has an extensive history of support for a variety of community organizations. Among the many organizations she has supported are: Relay for Life, Portsmouth Police, Pawswatch Animal Rescue, Portsmouth Rotary and Lucy’s Hearth. Additionally, Karen has donated her personal time by judging senior projects at Portsmouth High School, mentoring aspiring hair stylist students, and serving as president of the PBA from 2011 to 2013. While Karen was doing all this for the community, her salon business has continued to grow. She is known to run a very clean, friendly, and efficient shop accommodating her customers with high business standards.
During the meeting, the association members elected the following:
President: Sheila Hagen – BankNewport
Vice President: Stephen Squatrito – Atria Aquidneck Place
Secretary: Jeannie S. Ingraham – Century 21 Trend Realty
Treasurer: Kara M. Marley – Savings Institute Bank & Trust
Board Members at Large
Linda Bombach – Home Healthsmith
Cheryl Costa – People’s Credit Union
John Farley – Newport Wealth Management
Maggie Harnett – Greenvale Vineyards
Mike Leverett – Clements’ Marketplace
John Vitkevich – Keller Williams Realty
Mike Ford – Ford & Messere
John C. Farley (Newport Wealth Management) stepped down after his two-year term as President came to an end. Farley left a significant impact on the organization by developing and coordinating the PBA’s first community 5k run/walk. The race raises funds for the PBA’s Scholarship Fund. During his time as president the PBA increased its scholarship award to $1,000 and currently awards two of these grants to exceptional seniors graduating from Portsmouth High School. The nomination process was also modified to allow students to nominate themselves. Reflecting upon his term as President, Farley commented, “These past two years have been very rewarding in terms of the work we’ve been able to do and how it’s deepened my connection to the Portsmouth community. I am proud of our town and I’m excited to see what more we can do together.”
The Portsmouth Business of the Year award is given to a business, organization or professional and/or its owner and operator which exemplify the goals and principles of the Portsmouth Business Association through demonstrated civic service, good standing and reputation in the community.
The Portsmouth Business Association (PBA) is a volunteer-based organization founded by members of the local business community in 1993. The PBA aims to create a positive business environment which benefits both its members and the community as a whole. www.portsmouthbiz.com