Cheshire restaurateur Viron Rondos named Small Business Person of the Year – Hartford Courant
The Connecticut Branch of the Federal Small Business Administration presented its annual awards to the state’s most outstanding entrepreneurs, and the top Small Entrepreneur of the Year award was Viron Rondos, owner of Viron Rondo Osteria, a Cheshire restaurant.
Rondos will compete with other big winners from across the country for the National Small Business of the Year title. Catherine Marx, district director for the US Small Business Administration in Connecticut, said the winner of this contest will be announced in late April or early May in conjunction with National Small Business Week, which is the first week of May.
Rondos, who founded his restaurant in 2014, stood out from the crowd because of his actions during the pandemic, Marx said.
“Throughout this pandemic, he has worked very hard to overcome insurmountable challenges. Many restaurants have been forced to close. He quickly turned to takeout. He has a large outdoor area which he actually expanded in 2019 and 2020. This decision was crucial for his survival.
Rondos’ commitment to its employees and community also put it at the top, Marx said.
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“He was not only a job creator, but he was genuine and genuine, especially giving back during COVID. He immediately had offers for all frontline first responders. He was very passionate about helping his staff, giving them an allowance to eat out. He is involved in the Cheshire Pantry. Doing everything he does and still having time to give back to the community is exceptional. Rondos also delivered food to hospitals and donated $500 a month to the Cheshire Lights of Hope charity.
Rondos credited the community and its workers for its success.
“It was a very difficult and very unique time…something very unfamiliar to all of us,” he said. “The staff worked very hard. The community supported us.
To be eligible for an award, entrepreneurs must have received assistance through SBA Resource Partners and/or use SBA-supported loan programs and COVID assistance.
“[Rondos] used our loan programs many times, such as a 7(a) loan. He used a very important product we have, a 504 loan, to help with his expansion. Then he was also able to access PPP loans during COVID,” Marx said.
The other winners were:
- Small Family Business of the Year: Charlie J. Negaro of Atticus Bookstore in New Haven
- Financial champion: Derek Ezovski of ORMS in West Hartford
- Maker of the Year: Mary Ruth Shields of Couture and design united in Hartford
- Microenterprise of the Year: Alexandra Lazowski from bare life in West Hartford
- Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: Lisa Chatman of Kiddie Tech University in West Haven
- Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: William Pastyrnak of Counterweight Infusion in Cheshire
- Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Candace Freedenberg of Untapped potential in Hartford
- New England Regional Women’s Business Center of Excellence: Central Connecticut Women’s Business Development Council in New Haven
Susan Dunne can be contacted at [email protected].