Basking Ridge Business Owner Wins U.S. Small Biz Award
Anthony Sblendorio of Basking Ridge, owner of Back to Nature Home & Garden, wins award as Small Business Person of the Year.
Anthony Sblendorio of Basking Ridge, landscape architect and owner of Back to Nature, has been named the 2013 Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Council of America.
Sblendorio launched Oldwick-based Back to Nature in 1994 as one of the first eco-friendly landscape architecture firms in the area to primarily focus on regenerative design. He and his wife Maria opened the retail Back to Nature Home & Garden center in Basking Ridge in 2011.
Sblendorio was nominated for the award by his wife, Maria, said Kate Kurelja, marketing director for the center.
As Back to Nature has grown and expanded, the firm's roots remained focused on eco-friendly practices, and the company expanded from design to construction and building to the retail center at 3055 Valley Road in Basking Ridge, according to Back to Nature.
When Back to Nature Home & Garden opened in 2011 at the intersection of Valley Road and King George Road, Kurelja said that everything in the store was pesticide-free — including seeds, bulbs, deer repellent, starter organic vegetable plants, personal care products, garden furniture made from recycled materials or U.S. raised cedar, and more.
The store also holds classes and events on such nature-oriented topics as composting, honey bees, organic gardening and spring yoga, according to the center's online schedule.
The letter from the Small Business Council announcing the award said, "Mr. Sblendorio, you represent the type of small business person who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit coupled with a commitment to family and community that the SBCA looks for in its award winner."
Sblendorio is in good company, Back to Nature noted in announcing the award. Former award winners include Vita-Mix Executive Chairman John K. Barnard; Mark Levine, CEO & founder of UnitedCompanies; and founder of Jabara Venture Group and VentureKids, Fran D. Jabara.
The award ceremony at which Sblendorio will be recognized is scheduled to take place at the 30th Annual Congressional Awards Reception on May 8 in Washington, D.C where awards will also be presented to senators and representatives who have been particularly helpful to small business development, according to Back to Nature.