The Pelham Bay Merchants Association celebrated those local businesses that have been around for 20 years of more on Wednesday, May 23.
HSBC bank hosted the celebration, while also being recognized for its two decades plus presence on Crosby Avenue.
“Originally we were going to do the awards for businesses that had been around between ten and 20 years,” said Irene Guanill, president of the Pelham Bay Merchants Association. “But when we looked at the numbers we realized how many businesses spent well over 20 years here and simply had to extend it,” she added.
George’s Diner took the cake for being the longest active business.
Having spent 60 years serving Pelham Bay from the same location, owner Gus Mouzakaitis has seen the neighborhood undergo many changes.
“I’ve seen a lot of differences around here, none of it is bad,” said Mouzakaitis. “Things are going alright, especially when it’s busy,” he added.
Mouzakaitis also mentioned his most busy times are holidays and weekends like St. Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day, while noting a loyal following from the local Greek community living near the Westchester Avenue restaurant.
The next longest was Vito’s Men’s shop which has suited Pelham Bay for over 50 years.
“We’re coming up on 51 years to be exact,” said store owner Michael DiFigola. “We still run out business the same way since 1966,” he added.
Born and raised on Edison Avenue, he also noted that the area has gone through diverse changes, with influxes of new ethnic groups replacing the old Italian, Irish and German regime.
“We’re happy to have them, we love new customers,” said DiFigola, while mentioning that his secret to doing well in business is focusing on service over product, especially when it comes to running a men’s shop.
Another business that was recognized in Pelham Bay was famous pizzeria, Louie and Ernie’s.
The Crosby Avenue pizza parlor has sauced the area since 1959, and is still receiving accolades worldwide to this day.
Last year Louie and Ernie’s wound up on the Forbe’s list of All Star Eateries in New York and was featured on Barstool Sports ‘One Bite’ pizza ratings just some months ago.
The association also recognized longtime local merchants: Azby Insurance Brokerage, Ava’s Rain Florist, A & A Deli, Bronx Design Group, Buhre Mini Mart, Balsamo’s Funeral Home, Bonavita - KEY FOOD, Cafe Italia, Crosby Pet Shop, Crosby Pizza Stop, EyeCare Unlimited, Empire Bagels, Fancy Feet Dance Studio, Frank’s Pizza, Gentle Dentistry - Dr. Greco, DDS, Giordano Funeral Home, Giovanni’s Restaurant, and Giuliano’s Heating and Cooling,
Also Joe’s Pizza, Jimmy Ryan’s Bar & Grill, Kids Kuts, Lehigh’s Wines and Spirits, L & L Appliance Repair Center, Pelham Bay Dental Associates, Dr. Landisi, DDS, Pelham Bay Home Center, Prime Realty, Morea Insurance, Middletown Animal Clinic, McNulty Funeral Home, Pruzzo’s Deli, Pride Cleaners, Pilgrim Pharmacy, Peach Pit Fruits and Vegetables, Pelham Bay Realty, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Shamrock Inn, Santino’s Hair Salon, Savvides Photos CPA, Toro Exterminator, Tri State Interiors, Quality Diner, Villa Barone Pizza and Restaurant, Vito’s Gourmet Deli and Zeppieri’s and Son Bakery.