Chamber Honors Two Pioneering Business Families

The Giachinta and Pidala families: a foundation of Philipstown's economy for three generations

Annual Baumgarten Scholarship also presented

By Michael Turton

The Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce paid tribute to two local families – the Pidalas and the Giachintas – at its 2012 awards dinner on March 22.  Master of ceremonies and Chamber Vice President Vinny Tamagna praised the families as “…pioneers and the foundation of Philipstown’s economy.”  In a community of 10,000 residents, the honorees could not be described as anything but impressive – both in terms of the number of businesses the two families own and operate – and the contributions that their companies make to day-to-day life in the area.

The honorees included: Joseph Giachinta – Mid Hudson Concrete; Steven Pidala – Pidala Landscaping; Richard Pidala and James Pidala – Pidala Oil; Andrew Pidala and Peter Giachinta – Pidala Electric; and Michael Giachinta – Putnam Tire. For the past three generations and more, it’s been about your families’ caring about this community and caring about those who work for you,” Tamagna said.  “You’ve helped build one of the most beautiful places in the country. The Giachintas and the Pidalas should be very proud.”

Joe Giachinta spoke briefly on behalf of the two families. “We’re not first generation. Our grandfather came here in the 1920’s – with nothing,” he said.  “He built the first seawall at the Cold Spring dock – a lot of people don’t realize that.” He also described his grandfather’s and family’s other early business ventures  including keeping stables for the Cold Spring Fire Company’s horses in the large building across from the present-day Depot Restaurant; plowing the road from Bear Mountain to the local ferry dock; running a taxi, and owning a bar and restaurant. “And we think we have it hard today!” he said.

Giachinta said that the two families owe their success to the support given to them by the local community over the years – and he encouraged residents to continue to patronize local businesses. “Even with the Internet,” he said, “Let’s go to local websites – and buy here. If you really need to go outside – go outside.”

“This is really a great honor. We are humbled,” Giachinta said.

(L-R) Jonathan Kruk, Vinny Tamagna, scholarship winner Matt Hughes, Bill Nugent, Matt's mom Diane Hughes and father Dan Hughes, Nat Prentice

Also on the agenda was the annual presentation of the Phillip and Esther Baumgarten scholarship. The $1,000 award goes to a local student who has been actively involved in community service. This year’s winner was Matt Hughes, a senior at Haldane High School. The scholarship originally recognized only Mr. Baumgarden for his role in helping to revive Cold Spring’s economy when he opened the Hudson Peddler – the first of many antique shops in the village. He also served as Chamber of Commerce president. After his death, it became a tradition that his wife Esther always attended the annual dinner to present the scholarship honoring her husband. Mrs. Baumgarten was a much loved resident of Cold Spring. Her white-on-green “Dysfunction Junction” street sign located in her backyard evoked many a chuckle from passersby. When Esther passed away last year, the Chamber decided to honor her service to the community by adding her name to the scholarship.

It was announced at the dinner that Russell Polo of , a company based in Poughkeepsie, will create a new and improved Chamber website. The dinner was held at Dutchess Manor and attended by about 50 people.
Photos by M.Turton

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