Hillside Pizza owners named entrepreneurs of the year

The 2014 Haas Entrepreneur of the Year Award has gone to Craig White and Bob Lindner, founders and owners of Hillside Pizza, which is based in Deerfield.

They have helped groups raise over $315,000 since 2001, opened three restaurants, in Deerfield, Bernardston and Hadley, and also have a catering business.

“Hillside Pizza was nominated by members of the community and selected because they are an outstanding example of a sustainable business that gives back to the community,” said Amy Shapiro of the Franklin County Community Development Corp., which announced the award Thursday.

The public is being invited to a Celebrating Entrepreneur Event on May 15 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls.

Hillside Pizza began with White looking to sell pizzas as an environmentally friendly and health-conscious fundraising product. Lindner was a social worker with a green thumb and “green” ideals and was looking for a place to sell his organic produce.

In 2001, Hillside Pizza officially began as a fundraising operation at the Western Mass. Food Processing Center, a community kitchen run by the CDC in Greenfield.

As Hillside Pizza continues to grow and change the owners say, “We are proud of our efforts and accomplishments and so thankful to share our success with our restaurant patrons, fundraising partners, wholesale and fundraising customers, and catering clients.”

The Haas Entrepreneur of the Year award is named after Dick Haas, founder of Sugarhill Containers and owner of Hillside Plastics in Montague. Dick and Janet Haas believed in family, hard work and community and their values are reflected in their business, according to John Waite, executive director of the CDC, who announced the award at Thursday’s Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast.