Chamber banquet gives awards, honors citizens

Published 12:40 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2023

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The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce (GACOC) hosted its 14th Annual Membership Banquet on Sept. 14. More than 160 guests were in attendance as the GACOC presented several awards to businesses and individuals for their contributions to the community.

Tracy Salter, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, said when a large group comes together in this way to celebrate great things it makes a positive impact on the community. 

“It was such a special night as we celebrated the contributions, dedication, longevity, and history of many businesses and individuals in our community,” Salter said. “Greenville is such a special city, filled with wonderful citizens, businesses, organizations and strong city leadership. A special thank you to our sponsors for their gracious contributions to make the banquet a success.”

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Small Business of the Year was awarded to Uncle E’s Barbecue & Catering. This award honors a Chamber member small business that demonstrates steady growth, solid leadership and a strong commitment to the success of the Greenville area.

Arlene Perdue, Co-Owner of Uncle E’s Barbecue, accepted her award through tears as appreciation for their hard work was recognized. 

“I cried because we worked really hard,” Perdue said. “I’m grateful someone saw fit to recognize what we’ve done. I want to thank the citizens of Greenville and county for supporting us, the board members for giving us this award and I want to thank God for everything he has provided for us.”

The Large Business of the Year recipient is Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. This award honors a Chamber member large business that maintains consistent growth and strong performance, understands its customer, has an engaged workforce with effective leadership, and is continually innovating to support future growth.

Distinguished Business of the Year recipient was awarded to Robert Trent Jones at Cambrian Ridge. This award honors a local Chamber member business that has demonstrated exceptional business practices and has contributed to the well-being of the community, has demonstrated leadership and continuous service to the city and county.

The Milestone Award went to Greenville Cash & Carry and Structural Wood Systems. The award honors a chamber business celebrating 50 or more years in longevity.  

Locally owned by Ernest Dean, Greenville Cash & Carry has served the local community and Dean recalled his part in reviving and supporting the Chamber in his early days as the business owner.

“William Lewis called me and he said, ‘We’re losing the Chamber of Commerce,’” Dean said and described the Chamber’s low enrollment and need for assistance.

“Eight other business men, William Lewis and I, went out every day that week. At the end of the week we had over 100 members.”

The Spirit of Greenville recipient is Barbara Middleton. This award honors a business or individual who volunteers countless hours for the betterment of the Chamber and Greenville.

The John D. Murphy award recipient is Paul Flubacher. The award is given to a citizen who shows a great commitment to bettering the community. It is named for the longtime plant manager of the now defunct Allied Manufacturing Company who was renowned for his involvement in the community, working with various charities and serving on several local boards.

Pastor John Girdley received the Unsung Hero Award. The Unsung Hero award recognizes non-profit/volunteer organizations or individuals who work behind the scenes to go above and beyond to help their community.

The Citizen of the Year recipient is Dr. Duane Williams. This award is an honor bestowed upon an individual that makes a positive impact on the community and its government and who aims to maintain community projects that support the well-being of others.