Henri and Shelley Najem, owners of Bella Vita Lakeside, have been operating their family-owned business since 1994.

Bella Vita Ristorante, a thriving restaurant with plenty of outside seating in the summertime, music concerts and open air bars, has been at its present location for 10 years and opened the year Tom and Jeannie Britt started the Geist Community Newsletter. Shelley Najem, owner of the restaurant, said in a phone interview that her years of advertising with Britt have made a world of difference to her business.

Over the years Britt has been the master of ceremonies at community fundraisers and supported the community with his newsletter. Najem said she’s been a loyal advertiser and become good friends with the Britts.

“Tom does a lot for the community by letting people know when new businesses open. He publishes elegant articles when we do a remodeling, when we offer special offers and when we have a new beer, and he lets people know what’s going on in the community as well. We’ve been in the catering business for 20 years and 15 years as a restaurant, and we prefer to use the newsletter for advertising rather than radio or television. It is the most effective and most inexpensive way to advertise.”

In her years at this location, Najem has seen what used to be cornfields turned into thriving businesses, and the Geist Community Newsletter has played a big part in this economic upturn.

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