By Lonnie Huhman,
Longevity, community service and local favorites are just a few ways to describe those who were honored on March 14 by the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Dexter Chamber held its annual dinner at the Fillmore Bar and Grill, and celebrated a number of recipients. With a full room of attendees, chamber members said the dinner was one of the most, well attended. A thunder storm and tornado warning did not stop them from going on.
The Lifetime Achievement honor went to Dick Doletzky of the Dexter Family Barber Shop; Business of the Year- Aubree’s Pizzeria & Grill, Community Service Awards- Ryan Maki and Quaila Pant and Anniversary Awards- Dexter Dairy Queen celebrating 65 years and Dexter Mill celebrating 100 years.
Doletzky, who has owned and operated the barbershop on Main Street for over 50 years, smiled holding his honor. It was noted at the event that Doletzky will be this year’s grand marshal at the Dexter Daze parade.
“I think this is great,” he said inside the Fillmore.
Like all of the honorees, Doletzky was introduced by Chris Jones, of the Dexter Creamery and a chamber member. Jones commended Doletzky and his family, who were in attendance. The other barber at his shop is his daughter, Maryann.
“He always has a smile and a story for anyone who happens by,” Jones said. “When you get a haircut at the Doletzky’s barbershop it is more than just a haircut, it’s an experience.”
Both Pant and Maki were recognized for the role they play in the community and work they’ve done.
Jones said Pant, of LaFontaine Chevrolet, is active in the chamber, helps to fundraise community projects, does volunteer work and those are just a few ways she’s involved in Dexter. Pant was described as working to carry out LaFontaine’s mission, “to build lifelong relationships, connect families, strengthen communities and personalize the automotive experience.”
Maki, who is a teacher and coach at Dexter Community Schools, was also commended for his work throughout the community. Jones said Maki is a dedicated teacher who is an advocate for helping young people realize their potential with one recent example of his organizing of the Wylie Wellness Night. Jones said Maki is also well known for his photography and his photos of the community have helped capture its legacy.
Local favorites Dexter Dairy Queen and Dexter Mill prove that longstanding businesses play an important part in the community.
The Dairy Queen has been owned and operated by the Hoelzer family, Mike, Sheila and Heather, for over 30 years. Jones said Dairy Queen is a destination spot in the Dexter for locals and visitors, and he said it’s been the first job for many in the community.
“Heather is now the general manager of the store and manages the business with the same friendly customer first approach her parents did,” Jones said.
For a century, the Dexter Mill has stood as a community mainstay. Jones said current owner, Keri Romine, has done a lot to not only maintain its reputation, but has expanded its offerings, such as its new line of coffee. He said the mill has a long history and has been a go-to place for many.
“The Dexter Mill is a Dexter landmark and treasure,” Jones said. “It reminds us of our agricultural roots, and offer animal owners, farmers and gardeners quality product complete with a knowledgeable friendly staff.”
Jones said Aubree’s, which opened in downtown in 2011, has become part of the fabric of the Dexter community serving up good food in a family-friendly atmosphere. He said Aubree’s is a big supporter of community events, which will soon include a ice sculpture planned for 2020 that Aubree’s will help promote this as a fun and vibrant event.
“They were voted the 2019 Business of the year because of their commitment to our community,” Jones said.
Lisa Teahen, who was the opening manager, and Will Stripp, its current manager, were on hand to accept the award.
“We are so honored for this,” Teahen said on behalf of the team at Aubree’s. “I think Aubree’s is a success because of its great staff and a supportive community.”