Chamber names Mobley top Citizen, CP Aviation Business of the Year

December 14, 2011
Santa Paula News

Community activist Mike Mobley will be honored as the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and CP Aviation as Business of the Year at a gala awards luncheon to be held at Limoneira Ranch in February.

The Chamber is also awarding a special honor to longtime city resident Gene Marzec, the Dr. Sam Edwards Distinguished Community Service Award. Also in line to be lauded is Rabalais’ Coffee & Bakery, which garnered the Beautification Award for the ambitious redo of the former hardware store and later boutique on the corner of Main and Davis streets.

According to Chamber President Chris Sayer, Mobley “is our ‘Mr. October.’ He’s everywhere, not just the Pumpkin Patch, rolling up his sleeves and getting more done in a day for this town than a lot of people do in a year.”

A past Rotarian of the Year who later served as club president, Mobley has been active in numerous Rotary projects including the Ebell Park Rotary Centennial Project and the annual Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch, among others. Mobley’s wide community service also includes support for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley, which he led as board president and currently serves as a director and the club’s treasurer.

Marzec is a past longtime Santa Paula Elementary School trustee, educator and community activist who has been deeply involved in the Kiwanis Club. For decades Marzec coordinated the annual Kiwanis Club Citrus Festival Parade, and also organized and directed the Downtown Halloween Window Painting Contest. He is also a noted artist and former president of the Santa Paula Society of the Arts, where he remains active. 

“This award,” said Sayer, “is a very fitting tribute to Gene’s lifetime of support for education and the arts.”

CP Aviation is owned by Judy and Clay Phelps. Not only has the business been a staple of flight instruction for decades at Santa Paula Airport, but the Phelps have also been generous in lending out the venue for community fundraisers and celebrations. Judy Phelps was recently honored as the 2011 National Certified Flight Instructor, an award she received at Oshkosh, Wisconsin during its annual airshow, the world’s largest. 

CP Aviation, said Sayer, “has been a mainstay of Santa Paula’s historic airport for nearly 25 years. It is the economic heart of our most enduring landmark.”

Rabalais’ opened this year on East Main Street, bringing homemade Cajun and Creole food, handcrafted baked goods, Peet’s Coffee and a strong touch of New Orleans to the historic downtown. Owners Tracy and David Lippert took a rundown building and spent many thousands of hours and dollars to transform the structure into a favorite place to eat and visit with friends, both inside and outdoors overlooking Main Street. 

Now Rabalais’ offers breakfast and lunch and live entertainment while the Lipperts consider more business expansion. Sayer said Rabalais’ renovation is more than a building, and also “adds easy-going New Orleans charm to Santa Paula’s All-American small town vibe.”

For more information about the February 2012 award ceremony, call the Chamber office at 805-525-5561.

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