Chamber award praises beautification, economic impact

Published 6:06 pm Monday, August 31, 2015

The Washington-Beaufort Chamber of Commerce continues to recognize area businesses with an award given by its Chamber Ambassadors.

The Building a Better Beaufort County award was started several years ago to recognize local businesses for things they’ve done in the community, said Catherine Glover, director of the Chamber. The award’s criteria — businesses that do something to beautify or make an area better and those that provide a positive economic impact — is used to determine recipients. It is awarded three to four times per year.

“We just felt like we needed to recognize local businesses that were investing in our community,” Glover said. “(Ambassadors at the Chamber) felt like we needed to make sure we were thanking them for all the things they were doing.”

The most recent recipient of the award, Rachel K’s Bakery in downtown Washington, met both criteria, as owner Rachel Midgette recently purchased a building that was not in use for her new business. The bakery now employs 10 or more people in jobs that would have otherwise not been available in the county. Midgette also had the building renovated to accommodate the bakery and the outside of the building painted, something Glover feels added a positive look to what was once a landmark in the downtown area, she said.

Other recent recipients include the Washington Daily News, which renovated the historic building in which it is housed; LJ’s Body Shop and Wrecker Service, a new business in Washington; Leggett Organic Farms, just outside of Washington, for its organic farming and renovation of an old home; and Southside Farms in Chocowinity, for creating an outdoor store at its farm through renovation of a barn on the property, Glover said.

The Chamber Ambassadors, made up of 17 representatives from the community, are an extension of the Chamber staff, Glover said. The committee meets to discuss award recipients and aid Chamber staff in ribbon cuttings, networking events and other events and activities.

Glover said the committee also gives a Building a Better Tomorrow Today award to local businesses for their philanthropic efforts. Among the past recipients of the award have been Potash Corp-Aurora, Lee Chevrolet and Tayloe’s Hospital Pharmacy.

“We just recognize them for their philanthropic efforts, like sponsoring things in the community and donating to local organizations,” Glover said. “They support so many local organizations.”