Community Recognition Awards: Good Business honouree Anselmo expanded giving due to pandemic

·2 min read

As a local restaurant owner, Joe Anselmo has always looked for ways to support the community that supports him.

He has contributed to school lunch programs, championed the Heart & Stroke Foundation, and even opened up new lines of communication to keep fellow restaurant owners – and their patrons – informed, a step which proved to be invaluable as local eateries looked for new ways to reach customers and stay afloat in these challenging times.

For his efforts, Mr. Anselmo, whose family has owned the Harvey’s Swiss Chalet restaurant on Henderson Drive since 1984, was recognized this year by the Town with the 2020 Good Business Award.

“The good business award is presented to the business that has shown its commitment to corporate responsibility and community involvement through its ongoing support of charitable causes, events and programs,” said Mayor Mrakas, who hosted this year’s Community Recognition Awards virtually this year due to COVID-19. “This year’s Good Business Award is presented to Joe Anselmo of Aurora Harveys Swiss Chalet. Joe has gone out of his way to contribute to the community in any way he or his restaurant can.

“For the past three years, Harvey’s Swiss Chalet has provided 250 free meals to Welcoming Arms organization during the Christmas Holiday and have raised over $15,000 for Owen Veloso during the Heart & Stroke Campaign. The restaurant is a huge supporter of recreational sports as they have sponsored soccer and baseball teams in Aurora and they have also hosted hockey and soccer parties for teens for free, which includes their food, drinks, décor and the facility at no charge.”

Citing Mr. Anselmo’s Facebook group, Aurora Restaurant News, Mayor Mrakas said the group has dedicated to sharing updates and promotions from local restaurants since its establishment in 2017, but found renewed purpose this year.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvey’s Swiss Chalet Aurora started to offer healthcare workers 50 per cent off their meals as a thank you for all the hard work they have been doing to keep our community safe,” said Mayor Mrakas.

Accepting the award, Mr. Anselmo said it is all about the community and its people.

“I want to say how privileged and honoured [I feel] for winning this Good Business Award in the community,” he said. “We have been involved in the community through a lot of foundations when it comes to Heart and Stroke, Welcoming Arms, and also with minor sports and involved with the youth, hockey, soccer and baseball. It has been my pleasure to create an Aurora Restaurant News Facebook group to help out restaurateurs and help members of the community discuss and share many things.

“The main thing is I have met a lot of people, a lot of friends, and I hope to continue that in this great community. Thank you once again.”

Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran