gmhTODAY Spring 2022 - Page 19

LARGE BUSINESS of the Year : CORDEVALLE
SMALL BUSINESS of the Year : THE NEON EXCHanGE

OF AWARDS

LARGE BUSINESS of the Year : CORDEVALLE
Since the opening of the championship golf course in 1999 and the full resort in 2000 , CordeValle has been an impressive luxury resort offering world-class golf , wine tasting , and spa services . Managing Director and President Luca Rutigliano , who came on board in 2006 , and his staff have made CordeValle a strong business and philanthropic presence in the community .
Rutigliano , originally from Italy , grew up around fantastic cuisine and large , family-style meals . He became a chef , and his passion for travel and the culinary business led him around the world opening restaurants and training chefs . Rutigliano said , “ I wanted to learn about culture , and food is the base mark of culture .”
He always dreamed of moving into a broader role than the culinary side of the business . In 2006 , he jumped at the opportunity to be Managing Director / President at CordeValle . “ I was so excited , and I am very passionate about doing this .”
Rutigliano met his wife , Luba while he was living in New York . They moved to the area for his job in 2006 , and settled in Gilroy in 2008 . They have two children , and love the Gilroy community . Rutigliano said , “ Gilroy has a sense of community I never found anywhere else in the world . I found a sense of belonging .”
He also enjoys the culture , the Garlic Festival , the fantastic weather , amazing location , and all the beautiful parks .
Rutigliano and his team bring their commitment to the community to CordeValle . As Mark Turner acknowledged , “ Under the leadership of Luca Rutigliano and … the executive team … you really make a big difference in our community .”
Rutigliano said CordeValle is honored to receive the Spice of Life Award and it has taken the “ the commitment of a team of people ; they are extremely special . Whatever we do in our community , we do from the bottom of our heart . We believe in giving back and investing in the community .”
Rutigliano ’ s goals for CordeValle are to remain the best in the industry , to provide as many jobs as possible , and to contribute to local charities . They also plan to continue programs such as the CordeValle Youth Golf Foundation , which supports youth golf programs throughout Santa Clara County .
SMALL BUSINESS of the Year : THE NEON EXCHanGE
The award may say " Small Business ," but The Neon Exchange ' s Owner , Toni Bowles , is doing big things .
Bowles had a vision for the space to serve three general purposes : an event space , an office space , and a co-working space for those who telework , and intentionally created a strong sense of community inside and out .
Achieving her goal of bringing together nonprofits , for-profits , and government organizations to host a variety of events and activities , the Neon Exchange has become the new heartbeat of Downtown Gilroy . Regular events include : meal-packing for PitStop Outreach , an online cooking show called “ The Neon Kitchen ,” bazaars and boutiques supporting local vendors , bridal shows , quilt shows , and more . Bowles also hosts holiday toy drives and downtown events , like the Third Friday Art Walk .
From Hollister , the family became a part of St . Mary ’ s Parish and School in 2015 . Bowles said she first noticed her building due to its unique architecture and bright colors that caught her eye .
The idea for starting the business came when Bowles was struggling with work-life balance , an increasing commute , and the desire for a more creative outlet within her community . After 18 years working for the Santa Clara Superior Court as a deputy manager for the grants and special projects division , she was ready for something new .
After leaving her job in 2018 , she and her husband purchased the former Louis Hotel on Monterey Street in Downtown Gilroy . They renovated the first floor and opened for business in October of 2019 . Next , they completed the upstairs remodel during the pandemic closure , and began leasing space later in 2020 .
Bowles said that receiving the Small Business of the Year Award “ validates my outlandish idea of transforming a former hotel into an elegant event and office space that would attract a cross-section of the population for common good … it really just puts a huge smile on my face knowing that I am understood .”
The Neon Exchange ’ s newest venture is to host a micro-business opportunity for local start-ups facing fiscal and resource barriers . “ My goals for the community are to model ways in which residents can contribute their gifts and talents to the revitalization of Downtown and to show how government , nonprofits , and for-profit businesses and organizations can work together for the common good .”
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