By GREY PENTECOST C-T Staff Writer
Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce officials reminisced about the past year and set the stage for the new one during their annual banquet Thursday night.
Chamber President Marcia O’Neil gave a rundown of some of the chamber’s 2011 statistics. The chamber welcomed 36 new members last year, bringing the membership to around 350. There were 11 ribbon cuttings for businesses, and the chamber sold $47,000 in chamber gift certificates, “which keeps spending local,” said O’Neil.
She told attendees the new community resource and business guide was made possible by “your sponsorships and all the articles you contributed. “By partnering with chamber members, we were able to keep the production of this guide local.” O’Neil also thanked the chamber’s Jeanne Bogue, who O’Neil said played a major role in getting the guide completed.
In recognizing accomplishments of the chamber and its members in 2011, two awards were given during the banquet: the Small Business of the Year award and Chamber Champion. Roxboro MedAccess was named Small Business of the Year for 2011, presented by Ronnie and Rodney Bowes of Ronnie’s Appliances, recipient of the 2010 award. In listing many positive attributes about Roxboro MedAccess, Rodney said the business was the first of its type to open in North Carolina. “They provide fast, exemplary customer service at affordable prices in a convenient location,” he said, also noting the business’s humanitarian efforts, community involvement, and contributions to the county’s economic development.
Dr. Dan Phillips and Dr. Kimmie Yarborough of Roxboro MedAccess expressed appreciation for their employees, patients and the community. Addressing those they’ve served who were in attendance Thursday, Yarborough said, “You guys are why we’re in business, and thank you so much for letting us take care of you.”
The Small Business of the Year award is presented jointly by the small business committee of the chamber and the Small Business Center of Piedmont Community College.
Jim Stovall was named 2011 Chamber Champion, with 2010 champion Danny Talbert reciting such reasons for his selection as Stovall’s “visionary approach and progressive ideas;” large number of volunteer hours and community service; advocacy for the chamber and community; anonymous contributions to individuals and organizations and “generosity of spirit.” Talbert also dubbed Stovall “the father of economic development in Person County for the last 20 years.” Upon accepting the award, Stovall said, “Over that last 20 years, I’ve worked with so many wonderful people here in Roxboro and Person County who truly love Roxboro and Person County, and have worked diligently to bring jobs to Person County. I accept it in their honor, because it’s a true team sport, and without everybody’s help, I couldn’t have gotten this.”
Looking toward a new year, the chamber also conducted the passing of the gavel for chairman of the board Thursday night, when past chairman Dennis Canter of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Roxboro handed the reins to Ernie Wood of Summit Consulting. Canter said he felt fortunate to have followed past chairmen such as Brantley Burnett, Jeff Fitzgerald and Russell Rogers. Wood praised Canter for a job well done, and thanked the staff of Summit Consulting for helping him be able to assume the role of chairman. “Without your encouragement and support, I would not be able to stand here,” he said. Wood also commented on the good relationship the chamber has with its corporate sponsors, the city, county, small businesses and others. He urged those present to do as much business as they could locally and support other members of the chamber, adding, “…let’s try to make this next year a very successful one for business.”
Entertainment for the evening was provided by Sapphire, a quartet O’Neil is a part of, and keynote speaker Paula Hudson Hildebrand, chief health and community relations officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Hildebrand gave a humorous presentation on “Life, Laughter, and Leadership.”