Pioneers! O pioneers! Merchant group honors Third Avenue’s settlers

Brooklyn Daily
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They came, they opened up shop, and they conquered.

The Merchants of Third Avenue feted local business owners and civic leaders at its 22nd annual Pioneers of Third Avenue awards at Bay Ridge Manor on Oct. 26.

It takes more than just opening a business on Bay Ridge’s most bustling thoroughfare to get an award — you’ve gotta be an active avenue functionary, according to a merchant group honcho.

“A pioneer means they’ve done more than just open their doors on Third Avenue,” said Third Avenue Merchants chairman Chuck Otey — perhaps the thoroughfare’s biggest booster. “They’ve taken part in events, hosted events, helped with functions, and generally been active in the organization and community.”

The Third Avenue club honored “pioneers” sauce mogul and Giacomo’s Trattoria owner Giacomo Santangelo, Best Care Pharmacy owner Anton Fallah, Northfield Bank vice-president Brian Chin, dentist Donna Burg, and Art Room owner Leigh Holliday Brannan.

Plus the group recognized local movers and shakers Phillipa Morrish, Annette Fisher, Katherine Khatari, Anne Strafaci, and Lisa Becker.

Washington D.C.-born Holliday Brannan and her lifelong Ridgite husband, Justin, opened the Art Room — an after-school art studio for kids — in 2010 in large part because they loved shopping on the block already.

Holliday Brannan praised the community’s culture of support for local businesses and attributed her store’s success to area parents’ keen interest in getting their kids into the arts.

“It’s such a welcoming community and we feel very fortunate that people value what we’re doing,” she said. “Thank goodness that we fit into an area where people really love having their children involved in these kinds of things.”

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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