It is often stated that life’s greatest treasures come in small packages.
Though small in stature, Cathy Walsh Gavin is considered to be a giant of a business woman in her local community and throughout the Northeast Pennsylvania region. Not only viewed as a strong business-minded woman, she can best be described as a community servant, a woman of high ideals with a devilish personality and quick wit and a woman of steel with a heart bigger than herself.
To all, she is a friend.
The businesswoman’s career in the food business began as a waitress at Stirna’s Restaurant in 1967 under the tutelage of then-owner, John Stirna. Upon Stirna’s death in 1979, Cathy and her husband, Jim, decided to buy the business.
The rest is history.
Never one to stand still, she began to establish one of the area’s most prominent on-and-off-premise catering businesses in 1985, along with renovation of the restaurant in 2007.
Not one to be satisfied with the status quo, her latest endeavor is the expansion to a larger on-premise catering facility in Dunmore, La Buona Vita, formerly the Parish Center at 200 Reilly Street. In making the announcement eight years ago, Gavin stated she had long been searching for a larger venue to accommodate large catering and special events programs geared to suit all tastes and needs – from weddings and anniversaries, to corporate events, special events, themed parties, graduations, funeral catering, reunions and other catering needs.
“Expansion of on-premise catering services into La Buona Vita will bring together all the right elements to support larger events and ensure that everyone who visits La Buona Vita will have a memorable experience,” explained Gavin in announcing the endeavor. She knew it was the right time and the right space in Stirna’s history to take on the challenges of a larger catering venue full-time.
She says she is fortunate to have her son, Michael, involved with her in the business, as well as a very capable and loyal staff.
“My ultimate goal has been, and continues to be, that of providing outstanding customer service, the best cuisines, a relaxing atmosphere and environment with personal attention to every detail of an event,” she said.
Gavin’s commitment and service to the community is long-standing, as noted by membership in the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce since 1948. Her personal investment in the community is noted through her ongoing commitment annually to such non-profit organizations as Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Residence, Friends of the Poor, Ronald McDonald House, St. Joseph’s Center, Catholic Social Services, Boys and Girls Club, St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen, Gourmet Gala, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association.
She has been recognized for her work and leadership as recipient of numerous awards and certificates including The Scranton Times-Tribune’s Northeast Woman, Lackawanna College’s Distinguished Seeley Service Award, Bishop Hannan High School’s Leadership Award, Goodwill Industries Employer of the Year and Quiet Man’s Society Woman of the Year. She was also recognized by the Society of Irish Women.
The entrepreneur’s success is evident because of who she is.
“Anything is possible, if you dream the dream and work very hard to fulfill that dream,” Gavin said. “Restaurateurs and professional caterers are hands-on professionals who spend 60-80 hours a week in meeting the everyday demands of the business. You really need to be willing to work hard, have a passion for your work and a commitment to excellence to succeed in your endeavors.”