Sam Covelli named businessperson of year
WARREN — Sam Covelli, owner / operator of Warren-based Covelli Enterprises — the largest franchise of Panera Bread — is this year’s Boardman Civic Association’s businessperson of the year.
“It is my honor to receive this recognition … Boardman is where our history with Panera Bread began, and we have never forgotten that. As our company grows, so does our profound gratitude to this community,” Covelli said in a news release.
The award is given to local businessmen and-women to recognize their commitment to and presence within the community. It honors successful business leaders who generate employment, resources and quality projects for the township.
Covelli will be presented the award at the association’s annual community awards dinner 6 p.m. today at the Lariccia Family Community Center in Boardman Park.
Covelli Enterprises’ first Panera Bread opened in Boardman in 1998. The company has since opened several more restaurants there, including another Panera cafe, an O’Charley’s restaurant and a Dairy Queen.
In September, the first Panera was relocated to South Avenue and features services like kiosk ordering, rapid pickup, delivery and an updated cafe design.
Covelli Enterprises each year donates to the Boardman High School Athletic and Band Boosters, and the company recently donated to the Boardman Civic Association’s annual scholarship fund for Boardman High School seniors.
The company also supports many other Boardman-area charities and organizations. Most notably, the company hosts the annual Panerathon that has raised more than $2.5 million for the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. It will celebrate its 10th anniversary in August.
The association also will recognize Jenny Kennedy, Citizen of the Year; Tiffany Square Plaza, New Building Award; Petitti Garden Centers, Remodeled Building Award; and Boardman Township Fire Station, Special Building Award.