Chamber award recipients “humbled” by recognitions

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

Brick Oven Pizza and Subs owner, Cliff Montano, right, received his Citizen of the Year award from Dave and Julia Sabados at the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Instalation Dinner on Jan. 23. The Sabadoses received the award the previous year. Becky Justice-Hemmann / The Surveyor

Brick Oven Pizza and Subs owner, Cliff Montano, right, received his Citizen of the Year award from
Dave and Julia Sabados at the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Installation Dinner on Jan. 23. The Sabadoses received the award the previous year.
Becky Justice-Hemmann / The Surveyor

Brick Oven Pizza and Subs owner, Cliff Montano, may be best known for his pizzas and subs, but he’s also known for his sense of humor, his good character, and his affinity for the community he calls home. As well, it’s not surprising Montano was humbled by receiving the 2015 Citizen of the Year award from the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce on Saturday night at the annual Berthoud Chamber Installation Dinner at the Best Western Plus Crossroads Inn & Conference Center in Loveland.

“It was very humbling,” Montano said. “It’s a great thing; it’s a great honor.”

The Berthoud chamber announced the award earlier this month, along with the annual Doc Fickel and the Business of the Year awards. Citizen of the Year recognizes a community member for their outstanding contributions to the community, of which Montano’s is immeasurable.

“It’s great to be recognized amongst my peers and business owners as someone who makes a difference,” Montano said. “It’s a feather in your cap.”

Montano has owned Brick Oven since 2010 and ever since has given back to the community in more ways than one. Montano views his position as a way to teach local students who work at the pizza shop valuable life skills like work ethic, money management, and communication skills. He also works around students’ schedules, including academics and sports, so they can continue to work. Montano provides a $1,000 scholarship essay contest among his staff each year and has even given vehicles to a couple of former employees. In a November 2015 profile of Montano in the Surveyor he was quoted saying the cars weren’t gifts, “It’s a one-up; a challenge to give to others.”

Montano is part of the Berthoud High School booster club and an athletic sponsor and is an active member of the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce. And while he may be best known for his sense of humor and wacky pizza adds in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor, his generosity – for example, giving away free turkeys to those who need additional help over Thanksgiving – is his most admired attribute.

When first notified of the award Montano summed up his feelings by saying: “It feels kind of like Christmas morning and a really good business week all at the same time.”

Bruce Fickel presented the Doctors Fickel award to Suzanne and Scott Cavey for their philanthropic endeavors with the Berthoud BASH. Becky Justice-Hemmann / The Surveyor

Bruce Fickel presented the Doctors Fickel award to Suzanne and Scott Cavey for their philanthropic endeavors with the Berthoud BASH.
Becky Justice-Hemmann / The Surveyor

The Doc Fickel Award went to Scott and Suzanne Cavey who were recognized for their philanthropic efforts as the organizers and creators of the annual Berthoud BASH, a local fundraiser that has raised over $870,000 since its inception in 2008 for the Berthoud Education Foundation. According to Scott, they started the BASH to enhance the educational opportunities of the Berthoud students. Over the years the funds raised have helped pay for such programs as: Moby Math, Accelerated Reader, anti-bullying programs, Lego Robotics, Vex Robotics, and AP Environmental Science tools, as well as paying for replaced seats in the school’s auditorium, remodeled Turner’s computer lab, and even provided some teacher training, among many other aspects.

None of which would be possible without Susanne’s efforts in organizing the annual Berthoud BASH fundraiser each spring. This year’s event in scheduled for March 12 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland.

Hays Market was recognized as the Business of the Year for demonstrating community spirit and involvement as well as having high standards of professionalism and integrity, according to Chamber Director Deanne Mulvihill.

For fourth generation owner and operator Neil Hays, he said the recognition was rewarding.

“It’s definitely rewarding for different business owners and the community to think that much of us,” Hays said.

Neil and Angie Hays accepted the Business of the Year award for Hays Market at the annual Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner on Jan. 23.  Becky Justice-Hemmann / The Surveyor

Neil and Angie Hays accepted the Business of the Year award for Hays Market at the annual Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner on Jan. 23.
Becky Justice-Hemmann / The Surveyor

Hays Market has been a part of Berthoud for about 15 years, according to Hays, when they purchased the former Toddy’s Market. However, Hays’ great-grandparents started the business in Johnstown in 1929. Currently, Neil and his two brothers, Ryan and Russell, also help manage the two stores that employ 120 people.

“We definitely grew up in the biz,” Neil said. “It’s always evolving and changing, trying to keep up with technology and changes, and competing with other stores.”

If there’s one thing Hays attributes to the business’s success, it’s the customer service.

“Provide good customer service and they’ll continue to shop with you,” Hays said.

He added that he too was “humbled” and also “surprised” at the recognition.

“We’re just very appreciative of the support the community gives us and for allowing us to be a part of the community,” Hays said.