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The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce has selected five businesses to receive the Business of the Year honor and offers the following reasons for each recipient’s recognition:

Calvista Insurance Agency Inc.– Calvista Insurance is committed to providing outstanding property and casualty insurance and services. Incorporated in 2007 it is owned by California Mutual Insurance Company. Calvista supports a large number of community programs such as San Benito County Farm Bureau, Ag in the Classroom, San Benito County Saddle Horse Show, Hollister Rotary, YMCA, United Way and the Community Foundation of San Benito County, the Chamber of Commerce and many more. Their employees also are involved with many community programs outside of work sponsoring events or volunteering time and talents.

Charles W. Tobias, DVM, Large Animal Veterinary Medicine – Dr. Tobias has been providing on-site veterinary medicine in San Benito County and surrounding areas since June of 1990. While keeping up with the demands of a solo practitioner he also finds time to support many community programs. As a 4-H leader he helps educate and encourage youth. Dr. Tobias also volunteers at the San Benito County Fair, Ag in the Classroom, and serves on a FFA Advisory Committee. He has served on the Saddle Horse Show Board since 1993.

Heritage Bank of Commerce – Heritage Bank of Commerce is a premier community business bank. They have been in business since 1994 and the Hollister office opened in 2014.  Many community programs benefit from Heritage Bank’s involvement. They sponsor events such as Lunch with Leaders, the YMCA’s Superhero of the Day, Cal Soap at San Benito High School and much more. In 2014 their employees volunteered over 1,500 hours to organizations such as Chamberlain’s Children Center, Emmaus House, Small Steps, the Hollister Motorcycle Rally and many others.

Filice Farms – Sixty years ago, Peter and Rose Filice were growing prunes and walnuts on the home ranch. The business was eventually taken over by Chuck and Kay Filice and is still run by Kay today. In the last twenty years they have transitioned to growing row crops. The company is involved in gleaning for both Ag Against Hunger and Community Food Bank. They provide pumpkins for the YMCA and local schools and are Farm Day educators. 4-H and Ag in the Classroom have also benefited from their community involvement. Kay is on the Community Foundation Board, the YMCA Board of Managers, Kinship Board, Land Conservation Committee Board, Joint Grounds “Visioning” Committee for the Fair Grounds, and the FFA Advisory Committee.

The Garden Mart – The Garden Mart has been not only selling plants but also educating their customers on how to be successful with plants in their own situation since 2010. They grow and sell plants and offer classes and seminars. Most of their plants are drought or low water tolerant, they use no chemicals. The company has been involved in the Olive Festival, Relay for Life, Planting Purple for Pop, Water Resources Agency, San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and many other local organizations. They have donated plants to Chamberlain’s Children Center and Ladd Lane School. Outside of work, their employees have been involved with the United Way Board, Saint Benedict’s as conformation teachers and Eucharistic minister and Small Steps.

In a statement, Chamber Executive Director Juli Vieira said, “The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate all the Business of the Year winners and thank them for their tireless service to our community.”