These days it’s hard to find a complimentary story line about a businessperson. If they’re in a big company they’re greedy and heartless, always looking for new ways to cheat or steal. If they’re in a small business they’re forever battling or being abused by someone.


Our vantage point is a little different. But the rule rather than the exception in this region’s small-business community are folks like Joseph (Chick) Celantano, owner of Chick’s Drive In of West Haven, and the recently deceased Louis Stone of New Haven’s Chapel Construction.


Celentano’s father opened a small drive-in on Beach Street in West Haven in 1950, and the family has been serving hot dogs and seafood now for more than six decades. Chick’s Drive In and its owner have become a fixture and part of the fabric of West Haven. On May 5, the University of New Haven officially dedicated its $40 million, 402-room dormitory, renaming the five-year-old Soundview dorm Joseph E. Celantano Hall.


According to UNH President Steven Kaplan, Celantano donated land adjacent to the existing campus valued at some $2 million to the school.


Thanks, Chick — and can we get a foot-long dog with mustard and kraut?


We first recognized Louis Stone of Chapel Construction in 2007 as BNH’s Corporate Citizen of the Year for his then more than 30 years of generosity to an array of non-profit organizations. Stone put his shoulder to the wheel for organizations such as New Haven Probus, which helps disabled and special-needs clients, the Connecticut Food Bank and most recently as board president of the Clifford Beers Clinic. 


Stone died in an accident on December 2, 2013 while on vacation. His legacy will be commemorated with a June 30 dinner and the Louis Stone Memorial Golf Tournament at the New Haven Country Club, proceeds from which will benefit Clifford Beers Clinic.


From the modest perch of a 20-employee construction company, Stone made a big impact on New Haven by his work and his passion for helping. Here’s your chance to keep Louis swinging for New Haven: register at