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Tiny’s Grill: A Community Pillar

March 6, 2018

Outside front view of Tiny’s Grill, using First Source Business Services, Players of Utica in background

Making Business Personal

Joanne “Jo” Gerace, Owner/Manager of Tiny’s Grill in Utica, has been a First Source Member for more than 25 years, and as a small business owner, knew that First Source was the perfect place to do her business banking.

Jo’s Story

Joanne Gerace smiling in front of sports memorabilia photos on wall inside Tiny’s Grill
 Joanne Gerace

Joanne Gerace has lived a fascinating and storied life, and many who know her only from Tiny’s Grill may be surprised by her many adventures. The Utica native is an avowed sports fanatic, has worked for the New York Yankees organization, helped the Utica Blue Sox become a successful and profitable business (as eventual General Manager), and then re-launched a local business, Tiny’s Grill, more than 27 years ago. It was something she had always wanted to do. Reviving an older, traditional business fit her well. Tiny’s Grill has been a Utica staple since 1931. The original site was at the Whitesboro circle (where the Utica Aud now stands). Tiny’s moved to the current State Street location—where the Oneida Grill once stood—and Joanne Gerace took over in 1990. 

“I had revived Jazz in Utica by bringing in local and world-class jazz musicians and artists,” says Gerace. “I was also very connected to local professional and amateur sports teams, so we sponsored and hosted them at the Grill. I have always been very community oriented, involved in many local community boards of directors and community projects, from the St. Patrick’s Day parade to downtown Utica projects.” Jo is a member of the Chamber of Commerce (Tiny’s Grill is a previous winner of the Business of the Year award), as well as a member of the auditorium authority since 1984, YWCA Woman of the Year, a Utica Sports Hall Of Fame founding member, a mentor to budding women entrepreneurs, and more. She has worked to make Tiny’s Grill a mainstay in the area. In addition to the iconic life-sized Blues Brothers statues flanking its sign outside, the restaurant is known for its sports and music memorabilia—with many photos signed by the pros—and its traditional Christmas display, including what she believes is the largest collection of nutcrackers in the state (and country)!

 

Tiny’s and First Source FCU

Jo knew she wanted to bank with someone that shared her love of community and embodied all of the wonderful gifts that Utica has to offer.

In her words: “I do both my personal and business banking with First Source, and have for as long as I can remember. They have always been wonderful with the service I receive and their generosity to the community. I have savings, checking, business savings, and business checking, as well as credit card merchant services. We are very happy with everything. The merchant services portion really makes my business run smoothly at the point of sale. It’s important to me to have those aspects of my business run smoothly so I can focus on my customers. First Source makes it easy.”

 

Gerace says she has stayed with First Source for many reasons, primary among them that she always receives personal attention, and good experiences with her banking and the staff. “There have been many people working with me over the years, and I have always had a good relationship with every one...great customer service!” She adds that, as a downtown business, she has easy access to the South Utica branch, including drive-up services. And now, she does the bulk of her banking online; it’s easy and convenient, letting her work around her unique schedule.

“First Source has made it a priority to help our business,” Jo says. “Great customer service, good rates, and many services for a business to take advantage of.” She has recently worked to update Tiny’s Grill, and hopes to use First Source Business Services to keep them running profitably for many years to come.

First Source Business Services

First Source provides a full suite of Business Services, including Merchant Services for POS with Central Payment, Human Resources Management and Scheduling with ADP, Accounting with Quickbooks, business checking and savings accounts, business credit cards and lines of credit, as well as a multitude of business lending options.

Live Smarter

Want to learn more about First Source Business Services? Make an appointment today to meet with one of our Business Services Representatives about managing your business smarter.

 

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