Monday, February 27, 2012

About 100 attend Chamber awards event at college

By Alex Ruf
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Thursday night the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce gathered local business and community leaders at Midway College to celebrate the community of Woodford County. Twenty-three awards were given out, ranging from best local coffee (McDonald’s) to tourism achievement (Wildside Winery).

The awards included Best Place to Shop in Midway, which was won by the Damselfly Gallery. Midway Boutique placed second and Celtic Trends placed third. (Chamber photo: Eric Thoreson of Damselfy, left, and Clare McCarthy Parisel of Celtic Trends) In the contest for best breakfast, Lunch Box and Wallace Station, owned by Holly Hill Inn, placed third, behind winner McDonald’s and runner-up Callie’s, both in Versailles.

The last time this type of event was held in Woodford County was in 2006, and this time the agenda was very different, chamber Executive Director Tami Vater said. This year’s event was geared towards getting more business leaders to come to the event, and appreciate the community of Woodford County.

“What is good for Woodford County is good for all of us,” Chamber board Chairman Tommy Haggard said during his opening remarks. Haggard seemed to set the mood for the rest of the ceremony. Everyone seemed to be on board with the communal spirit of the awards. This was most notable during the award for best place to shop in Versailles. The top three stores – winner Pretty in Pink, runner-up Truly Bluegrass, and Marketplace On Main, are neighbors.

The chamber gave four organizations an award designed to embody the spirit of the county. Community Spirit Awards went to the county planning commission, the Woodford County Farm Bureau, the Woodford County Parks Foundation, and Woodford Tomorrow, a new group that is trying to build bridges between development and preservation interests.
From left: Chamber Executive Director Tami Vater and Woodford Tomorrow's Deborah Knittel, Dave Arnold, Hank Graddy, Patti Butler and Brett Butler. (Chamber photos)
Also announced at the ceremony was Woodford County’s recent certification as a Work Ready Community by the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board. The certification takes into consideration high school graduation rates, education attainment rates of adults, and availability of broadband Internet. Woodford County exceeded all the requirements.

This year the chamber chose to try something new by including rotating categories, which will change from year to year. The categories can be suggested by members of the community. A goal of the chamber is to give every business in the county the chance to be named best in some category.

The ceremony began with an acknowledgement of the hard work it takes to run the chamber. Volunteers have clocked more than 7,500 hours, without which such events wouldn’t be possible.

After the ceremony, Vater and Pam McKinney were asked what they thought about the success of the event. Both viewed it as very successfulsaying only two people who won awards were not at the ceremony. They estimated that more than 100 people attended the event, and said they expect larger turnouts in the coming years.

Here is a complete list of the winners:
  • Leadership All Stars: Tina West, Joanie Anderson, Aaron Soard, Shannon Sloan Soard and the SIFE Program 
  • Distinguished Farmer of the Year: Bobby Payton
  • Outstanding Farmer of the Year: Bobby Gaffney
  • Chamber Business Member of the Year: Woodford Wicks Candle Company 
  • Tourism Achievement Award: Wildside Winery 
  • Education Spirit Award: Woodford County Woman’s Club 
  • Community Spirit Award: Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission, Woodford County Farm Bureau,  Woodford County Parks Foundation and Woodford Tomorrow.
  • Best Horse Farm: 1st, Lane’s End; 2nd, Winstar; 3rd, Three Chimneys 
  • Best Place to get a Cup of Coffee: 1st, McDonald;s;  2nd, Starbucks;  3rd, Cornerstone Pharmacy 
  • Best Place to Shop in Midway: 1st, Damselfly Gallery; 2nd, Midway Boutique; 3rd, Celtic Trends 
  • Best Place to Shop in Versailles: 1st, Pretty in Pink; 2nd, Truly Bluegrass; 3rd, Marketplace on Main 
  • Best Veterinarian:1st, Dr. Bradley Keough;  2nd, Dr. Ashley Keith; 3rd, Dr. Dale Eckert 
  • Best Real Estate Agent:1st, Brenda Rollins;  2nd, Cindy Shryock; 3rd, Carolyn McDonald and Brad Lawson 
  • Best Place to Get Breakfast: 1st, McDonald's 2nd, Callie’s; 3rd, Lunch Box and Wallace Station 
  • Best Bank: 1st, Citizens Commerce; 2nd, United Bank; 3rd, Kentucky Bank

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