Orient by the Sea, San Simeon to be honored at Snowflake Gala

This year’s Snowflake Gala will honor two businesses that have been fixtures on the North Fork for a long time.

The North Fork Chamber of Commerce has chosen to honor Orient by the Sea as business of the year and San Simeon by the Sound for its community service at its seventh annual awards dinner next week.

“They’re longtime businesses and deserve to be honored,” said chamber president Tom Scalia. “They’re doing something right and staying in business.”

The honor came as a pleasant surprise to both businesses, each of which will mark a milestone anniversary this year.

Orient by the Sea will celebrate its 40th year in business, owner Bob Haase said, adding that he’s been working there since his parents purchased it when he was 19 years old.

“He’s a great businessman and [has] always been a supporter of the chamber,” Mr. Scalia said. “He’s been in business a long time and those are the people we like to honor.”

Mr. Haase said he took over the restaurant and marina business in his 20s, after his mother passed away. His dad was considering selling until Mr. Haase asked if he could try running the business himself.

He said he wouldn’t have had the continued success he’s enjoyed without the support of his employees, family and customers.

“They deserve this as much as me,” Mr. Haase said. “I’m honored we were chosen … I want to thank the chamber, my employees, my family and my customers.”

San Simeon on the Sound is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Founded in 1968 as a mission of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, the facility is devoted to serving the community, executive vice president and administrator Steven Smyth said.

San Simeon offers both short-term and long-term care, including rehabilitation for people who have suffered heart attacks or strokes, hip or knee replacements, and more. It also offers an adult day care program.

Although the facility primarily serves the North Fork’s growing senior community, its board comprises volunteers of all ages.

Mr. Smyth said he learned San Simeon would receive the honor about a month ago.

“I was surprised,” he said. “We are very excited about it. I’m also surprised that in 50 years it hadn’t happened already.”

Mr. Scalia said San Simeon was chosen for its longtime mission of helping people heal.

“They’ve been here forever,” he said. “I think I moved to the North Fork in 1976 and they were here at that time. It’s for the service that they provide to the community.”

The Snowflake Gala will be held Friday, Jan. 26, from 6 to 11 p.m. at Raphael Winery in Peconic. Tickets can be purchased on the North Fork Chamber of Commerce’s website.

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