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Tim Stevens recaps Chamber Annual Meeting/Awards Gala

Huge Production Celebrates Chamber Year and Business Award Winners

by Tim Stevens

Click here to view event photos by Aaron Lurie, VMA Studios.

Community of Hope Ministries and Curry in a Hurry were double winners and Ron Smith of S&A Cherokee was the lifetime achievement award winner Thursday night in the Garner Chamber of Commerce’s 10th annual Summit Awards.
Community of Hope, a 501(c) 3 corporation that assists families in need, was named the winner of the non-profit achievement award and the award for steady growth and achievement. Curry in a Hurry, which was a finalist in four of the six award categories, won for excellence in business and for vision and value.
The other major award winners were Aversboro Coffee for an entrepreneurial spirit and Chick-Fil-A for creating value for its customers.
The awards presentation was filled with joviality as ABC 11 Eyewitness News’ Andrea Blanford returned for her second year as host.
“This is just so much fun,” Blanford told the capacity crowd at The Grand Marquise Ballroom. “It is so good to come and talk about all of the good things that you are doing.”
Smith received the Faye Gardner Lifetime Achievement Award for a lifetime of consistent contributions to his business, to his industry, to the Garner Chamber of Commerce and to the community.
“Business does so much for a community,” Smith said. “And our chamber is just amazing. The chamber and our businesses helped move Garner from being a bedroom community into a thriving community.
“When I came here 40 years ago, we had a population of about 5,000 and you couldn’t buy a suit here. Without businesses, a community can’t prosper.”
Smith said he was overwhelmed with the lifetime achievement award, especially since it is named for Gardner, one of his long-time friends.
“To be recognized by your community really makes an award mean more because it is being done by your peers,” he said. “No one gets involved in the community to receive praise, but it is nice to get a pat on the back.”
Chamber president Neal Padgett said Smith had been a mentor.  Smith helped guide Padgett during his first years at the Chamber and in 2009 was instrumental in the Chamber beginning three major events:  The Connect Conference to discuss business issues in Garner; the Summit Awards and the Broadway Voices concert series.
“And Ron was insistent that he and I meet on a regular basis with Hardin Watkins, who was then the town manager,“ Padgett said. “Ron thought it was very important for the town and local businesses to communicate and to work together when they could. The Connect Conference and Broadway Voices are examples of how the town, the chamber and local business can work together for the community.”
The three Summit Award finalists in each category and the winner were chosen by out-of-state judges from submitted nominations.
There also were People’s Choice Awards in 11 different categories.  A record 22,000 on-line votes, up from 10,000 the last two years, were cast.  Garner Chiropractic and Wellness Center, the winner in the Best Health Care category, received the most votes of the 57 finalists with 800.
The other People’s Choice winners were: Family Auto Service, Xerox/Carolina Office Systems, Garner Police and Athletic and Activities League, Chick-Fil-A, State Employees Credit Union, Carolina Glass & Mirror, Body Wellness Massage Therapy, Bryan-Lee Funeral Home, Be Home Realty and Garner Appliance and Mattress.
Padgett, who has announced his retirement, was given a special award.
“I think it was our best awards ever,” Padgett said.

Ron Smith
2019 Recipient 
Faye Gardner
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Faye Gardner Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual for a lifetime of consistent contributions to their business, their chosen industry, the Garner Chamber of Commerce and to their community. Their actions, achievements and contributions evoke admiration and respect. 
Summit Award Winners
   Chosen by out-of-state judges.
 Huebner Family McDonald's

Aversboro Coffee
Jones Insurance 
Excellence in Business

Curry in a Hurry
First Citizens Bank
Forever First

Capital Chrysler Jeep Dodge
Nonprofit Achievement

Community of Hope Ministries
 La Cocina
Steady Growth & Achievement

Community of Hope Ministries
Wells Fargo
Vision and Values

Curry in a Hurry
People's Choice Award Winners
   chosen by the people!
Best Automotive Services
sponsored by 
CEI The Digital Office

Family Auto Service
Best B2B Partners
sponsored by
Langdon & Company, CPA
Xerox/Carolina Office Systems

Best Community Partner
sponsored by 
BPG Management Company - NC, LLC
Garner Police Athletic & Activities League
Best East & Drinks
sponsored by 
Dr. C. Ashley Mann & Associates

 Best Financial Services
sponsored by 
 Matthews Motors
State Employees Credit Union

Best Health Care
sponsored by
 Be Home Realty
Garner Chiropractic 
& Wellness Center 
Best Home Services
sponsored by 
 State Farm - Lindsey Weaver
Carolina Glass & Mirror

Best Personal Services
sponsored by 

B.E.S.T., Inc. Commercial Roofing
Body Wellness 
Massage Therapy

Best Professional Services
sponsored by 

Coastal Credit Union White Oak
Bryan-Lee Funeral Homes

Best Real Estate Experience
sponsored by 

State Farm - Meg Hunter
Be Home Realty

Best Shopping
sponsored by 
Turner Farms Self Storage

Garner Appliance & Mattress
2019 Klout Award
sponsored by
UNC REX Healthcare
Garner Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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