The Nassau County Council of Chambers of Commerce named Lisa Umansky, owner of Polka Dot Pound Cake, Rockville Centre’s Businessperson of the Year at its 34th annual Legislative Breakfast on Oct. 19.
According to Rockville Centre Chamber President Chris Acheson, Umansky was chosen by fellow chamber peers for her fantastic entrepreneurship and her high level of activity as a chamber member.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Umansky said. “I joined the chamber to network with like-minded business owners and to brainstorm how to make the community a better place. Getting an award is not something you think about when you join.”
Umansky’s quaint boutique bakery popped up on Long Beach Road in 2013, a time of commercial growth and rebirth for the neighborhood following Hurricane Sandy. Prior to that, Polka Dot Pound Cake sold its large variety of delicious loaf cakes at 13 farmers markets across Long Island.
“I no longer wanted to rely on markets and wholesale,” Umansky said. “That was a turning point for the business.”
Nearly six years later, the entrepreneur credits the shop’s success to timing and location. “There were a lot of new businesses coming to that area of Rockville Centre and a great combination of what was being offered,” she said. “It’s residential, so there’s a lot of foot traffic. I wanted to make the shop a homey, cozy spot for locals who live directly in this area.”
Umansky has become a positive force in the Rockville Centre business community, which helped her earn the honor presented to her at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
“She’s extremely deserving and has been an integral part of the chamber,” Acheson said. “She always volunteers at events and helps spread the word in her business’s area.”
Umanksy joined the chamber shortly after opening shop in Rockville Centre. Three years ago, she started what has become the annual Snowman Hunt, which kicks off on Small Business Saturday and runs through the holiday shopping season. The event, which takes place from Nov. 24 to Dec. 22 this year, lets families with children search for stuffed snowmen in dozens of local shops.
“I felt the town needed something to be a part of, and it’s been successful in promoting Small Business Saturday,” she said. “In an age when ordering is done from the comfort of the couch, this event redirects people back into their hometown for holiday shopping.”
Now, Umansky looks forward to the next chapter for Polka Dot Pound Cake. This summer, the bakery expanded to include a café and will shortly roll out its new café and tea menus.
“We’re reaching another level just like we did six years ago,” Umansky said. “I’m so thankful for all the wonderful customers who supported us all these years, and we’re really excited for our first holiday season with the café.”