GENEVA – Geneva Bank and Trust received Mayor Kevin Burns’ Mayor’s Choice Award for Business Investment, for community leadership and preserving the historic character of its new home, the former Pure Oil building, 514 W. State St.
The award was given recently at a holiday kickoff breakfast at the Herrington Inn & Spa. It is the second annual award.
The first was given to Michael Simon, owner of The Little Traveler and other downtown stores.
In presenting the award, Burns praised the bank for its investment, but also for sponsoring the Geneva Folk Festival, the music in the downtown Saturday before it and as an organizer of the 2013 Shop Local/Bank Local promotion currently underway.
“Geneva Bank and Trust has shown its commitment in so many ways, including historic preservation, downtown merchant marketing programs and support of the chamber and city events,” Burns said. “They are indeed true partners.”
Darla Yhost, vice president and bank manager of Geneva Bank and Trust, accepted the award on behalf of the bank.
“We’re just very honored that the city recognized us like this,” Yhost said. “It’s so much fun being downtown. We love it. We absolutely love this location. It’s nice to be downtown.”
Geneva Bank and Trust is involved in 26 community organizations and performed more than 600 hours of community service this year, officials said.
The bank also organized 47 Geneva merchants to participate in a Shop Local/Bank Local program campaign.
The merchants contributed more than $2,200 in gift certificates and merchandise.
Yhost said they were able to put together three prize raffle baskets, one worth $1,000 and two worth more than $500.
“We’re going to have the mayor pull three winners at the Christmas Walk [on] Dec. 6, when he lights the tree,” Yhost said. “You can bring receipts in through Dec. 5.”
To participate, shoppers only need to bring their Geneva receipts to the bank to get one raffle ticket per receipt. Each receipt is stamped so it can’t be used twice, Yhost said.
In giving the award, Burns noted that the bank’s renovation of the historic Pure Oil building, built in 1935, garnered state and national recognition from historic preservation agencies. It closed in 1995.
When the bank project was first proposed last year, it included razing the building because renovation would be too costly.
The public objected, and the project was approved after being redesigned to save the building, using the service bays for drive-thrus.
“They listened to the community,” Burns said of the building’s new owners. “And what they responded with is arguably a beautiful restoration of an iconic building.”
The bank’s sign post is a genuine Pure Oil sign that was found in West Virginia, officials said.
The bank replaced the distinctive blue terra cotta roof tiles by tracking down the original manufacturer, who opened a production line that had not been used in 40 years, officials said.