Bellmore, Merrick Small Businesspersons of the Year

Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce held its annual Small Business Person of the Year Award at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury last month. This year’s distinguished local community winners are:  



 Dan Sabia

Dan Sabia is the founder and CEO of Long Island’s original solar energy company, Built Well Solar. The company is among the “Solar 500”, ranked as a “Top 500 Solar Contractors in the U.S.” five years in a row, and “Best of Long Island” winner.


A longstanding member of the Bellmore chamber, Dan’s roots run deep in the community. Raised in North Bellmore, he graduated from Calhoun High School. His late father was a founder and Fire Commissioner of the North Bellmore Fire Department and his late mother’s family was among the first settlers of East Meadow.

Dan served for 25 years as facilities director for Carle Place School District, prior to which he served as assistant to the director of physical plant for Nassau Community College. A retired Major in the Army National Guard, he was facilities engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers and commander of the 204th Engineers at Camp Smith, and a 9/11 first responder, called back for his expertise in chemical weapons. He received his B.S. in architecture/ occupational education from New York Institute of Technology, and holds industry certifications in solar energy.

Dan resides in North Bellmore with his wife and business partner Nancy Hiler-Sabia, and is a proud parent to Jessica (Sabia) Kane, Amanda Sabia, T.J. and Neil Hiler.


 Julie Puglin-Folchetti and  John Malandro

Partners Julie Pulgin-Folchetti and John Malandro parlayed a distinctive idea of marrying entertainment with gourmet frozen treats into a food truck enterprise called Kona Ice of Long Island that delivers the goods to everybody everywhere in the neighborhood.

Merrick_John Malandro n Julie Puglin

In delivering the tropical goodies to hundreds in the community, its food truck also doubles down on philanthropic ideals to deliver needed donations to local school groups, teams and community organizations with every lick and every bite its patrons and revelers take in.

“Julie and John share our commitment to giving back,” said Tony Lamb, founder and president of the mobile franchise. “They want to have a positive influence on the people in their community, whether it’s new text books, sports uniforms or, simply, a smile.

Many people know when a Kona Ice truck is in the area by the tropical calypso music that fills the air at local event and group gathering. Patrons partake of cups of freshly shaved ice while helping themselves to any of the 10 tastes on the truck’s interactive dispensing system. Individuals select from one or more of the flavors to pour over their fluffy snow or the additional 20-plus flavors and 500 different combinations available.

“For a couple dollars you can experience the excitement of the truck, flavor your own shaved ice, donate to an organization you care about, and kick back for a few minutes enjoying the sounds of the tropics,” said Malandro.

Kona Ice stops include fairs, festivals, corporate events, neighborhood socials, church events and birthday    parties. Julie and John’s truck also maintains regular weekday and weekend routes.


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