Celebrating 40 Under 40

Chamber hosts event to highlight young business owners and employees who make a difference on Martha’s Vineyard.

Forty of the Island's young business leaders gathered at the Harbor View Hotel Wednesday night. Courtesy Monique Belair.

The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce hosted its second biannual 40 Under 40 event on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Harbor View Hotel. The event celebrates the movers and shakers of businesses on Martha’s Vineyard — the people who, as chamber executive director Nancy Gardella put it, are brave enough to start an enterprise on an island off the coast of Massachusetts.

Gold and blue balloons decorated the room, and the back wall was stamped with 40 plaques with a photo and statement representing each of the award recipients. According to Ms. Gardella, this year’s recipients are 40 different individuals from the event’s inaugural year in 2015. “We’ve now celebrated 80 young individuals in the industry,” she said. “It’s amazing that we have so many innovative and entrepreneurial people on this Island.”

Among the award recipients were Simon Athearn of Morning Glory Farm, Maggie Mae of Maggie’s Salon, Antone Dias of Eclipse Massage, Sarah York of CB Stark Jewelers, and Mike Sawyer of the Barn, Bowl and Bistro.

“I’m flattered,” Mr. Sawyer said. “I’ve been with the Barn since it opened in 2015, and it’s great to be recognized for years of hard work.”

Nancy Gardella presented a surprise 41st award to recipient Aela Mass, the chamber’s director of member services. “To the girl who has gotten no sleep over the last week,” Ms. Gardella said.

Also part of the chamber’s event was the presentation of the annual Martha’s Awards, which are voted on by chamber members for chamber members.

“We’re recognizing people for fun things, silly, and serious things,” Ms. Gardella said. “Not necessarily on how they’re succeeding in the industry, but how they’re succeeding as people on the Island.”

One award, Making Martha’s Vineyard a Better Place, was awarded to the Island Housing Trust. Another, Community Hero, was given to Mike McCourt. Outstanding Customer Service was awarded to Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, and Marketing Genius was was given to J.B. Blau. Best Job for a Day was awarded to Flying Horses Carousel.

The event felt a lot like a family reunion, and the room was packed with 40 award recipients and their families, friends, and co-workers — lines that inevitably cross on an island like Martha’s Vineyard. “I’ve got like three cousins in this room,” Mr. Dias of Eclipse Massage laughed.

Food, appetizers, and an open bar kept the already spirited room alive.

The event was co-sponsored by Rockland Trust and the Harbor View Hotel.

For more information on the Chamber of Commerce, visit mvy.com.