The Armonk Chamber of Commerce has chosen Judy Gilmartin-Willsey as its 2018 Citizen of the Year. Judy will be honored at the annual Citizen of the Year golf outing and dinner at The Whippoorwill Club on Tuesday, May 15.
If Judy’s face looks familiar, it’s probably because you know her from Framings of Armonk. Judy and her husband Carter Willsey started the business 28 years ago after working in advertising; the timing was perfect because they wanted to be able to bring their young daughter to work with them. Framings was originally housed on Bedford Road, next to the old lumberyard, and moved to a building located on what is now the DeCicco’s parking lot. The business was then resituated to its current location on the corner of Main Street, where its creative and whimsical windows have been adding character and beauty to downtown Armonk for the past 22 years.
Judy, a graduate of Parsons School of Design, likes to be known as a “yes” person and said she feels it’s her “responsibility to do the best work and contribute to the community.” With a reputation for helping out in any way she can, Judy is involved in a myriad of activities. She is a member of the Grace Notes, an acappella group that performs at nursing homes and assisted living facilities (including the Bristol, located in Armonk), libraries, elementary schools and senior citizen centers throughout the area. Over the years, Judy has mentored the dozens of high school students she has hired to work at Framings. In addition, Judy has helped sponsor and promote the Friends of the North Castle Public Library’s annual Armonk Outdoor Art Show and is committed to helping Armonk businesses grow and thrive. She even leaves used frames and other objects outside her store free for the taking. Her energy and enthusiasm for everything she does is readily apparent to everyone she meets.
One of the things that strikes you when you talk to Judy is her wonderful sense of humor; she loves to laugh and make others laugh as well. It’s a little-known fact that Judy selected Framings’ phone number, 273-4242, because it’s also 273-HAHA. The store used to offer a five percent discount to anyone who came in and told a good joke. Judy said she is considering reinstating the practice despite the fact that customers occasionally tried to take advantage of the offer; she recounted with a chuckle the time someone asked if he could get a 20 percent discount if he told her four jokes.
A co-founder of the Armonk Chamber of Commerce, which was started 15 years ago, Judy is also a co-founder of Friends of Frosty. Originally started as a holiday stroll to celebrate America’s favorite snowman, the Frosty parade has helped put Armonk on the map, with over three thousand people attending the parade this past year. The New York State Department of Tourism named it “one of the holiday events not to miss.”
On being named Citizen of the Year, the humble Judy says that she is “grateful on a lot of levels. I am grateful to be in a town that can support a creative business. At first, I was embarrassed when they told me I had won. But now I think it’s fantastic to be in such good company with the other people who’ve been honored. I will take Carter’s advice and accept [the award] graciously.”
Ed Woodyard, the Chamber’s 2017 Citizen of the Year, said, “Judy’s more than 25 years of dedicated service to the Armonk community make her more than worthy to receive the 2018 Citizen of the Year Award. She and her husband Carter exemplify the personal qualities and provide the outstanding service necessary to build strong customer loyalty and a successful business. Her upbeat energy, good works and positive attitude extend beyond the store itself and into the wider community. Whether it’s her riding her bicycle around town, stopping to chat or waving to friends, Judy’s big smile brings a smile to the lives of everyone who knows her. This award is so well-deserved. Honoring Judy honors all of us.” We couldn’t agree more.
For more information and to purchase tickets to the golf outing, cocktail party and events visit http://www.armonkchamberofcommerce.com/ or call 914-273-2353. All are invited to attend the day of celebration.