Chamber meeting draws big crowd

Published 11:23 am Saturday, March 26, 2011

BY Merle Monahan/Contributing Writer

FRANKLIN—The 57th annual membership meeting of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce drew a capacity crowd Thursday night as outgoing President Dan Hoctor handed over the gavel to his successor, Kevin S. Sutton.

Hoctor presented the 2010 Business of the Year award to Highground Services Inc.

Nancy Parrish introduced Highground executives John Warren and Jim Strozier. She praised their commitment to excellence in their work and their dedication to the community.

“You are so deserving of this award,” she said.

Hoctor spoke about a number of things accomplished during the past year, including the acquisition of the chamber property, which was deeded to the chamber by Sol Rawls Jr. Rawls was the chamber’s first president.

Hoctor said the chamber website was up and running and suggested that “members check it out.”

He said the chamber had participated in eight business grand openings and awarded the Donna C. McCullough Scholarship to Southampton High School graduates Erin Spivey and Jake Pittman. Both are now attending the University of Virginia.

The chamber initiated prescription cards for members and others in the community to get more affordable medications and continues its partnership with Bronco Federal Credit Union on a prepaid Visa card that residents can spend with local merchants, Hoctor said.

In closing, Hoctor introduced the chamber’s executive director, Teresa Beale, who was chosen as the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director for 2010.

In taking over as the new president, Kevin Sutton said the chamber would continue sponsoring events as in the past, including networking, business after hours, chamber golf and the business expo.

He also said new programs are starting, such as business and leadership seminars. He said there had been a discussion about having a Chamber Day at the chamber office.

“This will give the public an opportunity to learn about the services the chamber provides,” he said.

Sutton said the chamber plans to start meeting with each member to hear their concerns and to learn how they could better serve them.

Another plan is to organize a young professional group to share ideas for different community services.

Hutton thanked Hoctor for his service to the chamber and presented him with gifts, including a clock.

Retiring directors Clyde Parker, Dr. Patsy Joyner and Randolph Cook were recognized for their years on the board.