On the biggest night for the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, several entrepreneurs were praised for their success and contributions to the community.
The organization held the 47th annual celebration at the Exposition Center Tuesday night and recognized accomplishments and work of local businesses and business owners and employees.
Awards were given to individuals and businesses in several categories such as small business, entrepreneurial success and business person of the year. The biggest award of the night went to Sherry Matthews, editor and publisher of The Sampson Independent, for Outstanding Chamber Member of the Year. Matthews, who was unable to attend the event, sent her thanks, via video, for a community that has supported her through the years.
Small Business Excellence Award
Matthews Cards and Gifts earned the chamber’s Small Business Excellence award.
“The people on our staff and in the community have done more than you can imagine to make us a success,” Jim Matthews, owner, said.
Matthews Gifts has been in business for more than 45 years. They started out as the “gift department” inside the parent company, Matthews Drugs, and over the years expanded to meet the needs of the community.
“Always remembering our roots, we are proud to be known today as a gift specialty store,” Matthews noted in the description of the business. “We have an appreciation for the retail gift industry and have enjoyed being a part of ever changing trends through the years. We are truly grateful for generations of loyal customers and our employees, past and present, who love and care for Matthews Gifts.”
The award was presented by Lisa Turlington on behalf of last year’s recipient, Cherry Naylor, who was absent from the event.
Other nominees for the night were Southeastern Outdoor Products and Dubose National Energy Services Inc.
Entrepreneurial Success Award
Rebecca’s of Clinton was honored with the Entrepreneurial Success Award.
The store opened its doors November 2007 in downtown Clinton as a children’s boutique. Over the course of several years, the boutique has evolved from exclusive children’s to a mix of ladies and children’s boutique clothing, shoes and accessories. The boutique caters to a wide range of ages with customers as young as newborn to 88 years old.
“We are proud to reside in Downtown Clinton and to be a part of such a wonderful and supportive community,” Rebecca’s owner, Rebecca Kennedy Lee, said.
The other nominees included JDS Advertising and Jeffrey G. Bell, DDS, PLLC.
Business Person of the Year Award
Chuck Spell of Hog Slat was named as the chamber’s Business Person of the Year.
“I was fortunate to grow up in this community and come back and work with two excelling corporations,” Spell said when receiving his award.
Spell was born and raised in Clinton and graduated from Clinton High School and attended North Carolina State University and obtained a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. He later received his masters in business administration from Campbell University.
Upon completing his undergraduate degree in 1994, Spell started his professional career with Schindler Elevator Corporation. Over the next 23 years, he accepted roles with increasing responsibility within the Schindler organization, and in May of 2016, Spell joined Hog Slat as the director of manufacturing.
Spell is many boards, including the Economic Development Commission Advisory Board as chairman, Triangle East Workforce Development Board, and Sampson Community College Foundation.
Spell and his wife Lisa have two children, Nicole and Austin. Nicole is a freshman at North Carolina University studying engineering and Austin is a seventh grader at Sampson Middle School.
Other nominees were Donnie Lamm and Dr. Ted Thomas.
Community Service/Non Profit Award
The Christian Food Bank of Salemburg was honored as with the Community Service/Non Profit Award at the banquet.
The Christian Food Bank works to feed the hungry, and to give a hand up when people need it. From the location in Salemburg, they distribute food to approximately 350 families each month, as well as distributing to another 275 shut in and assisted living folks.
Other nominees were Sampson High School Alumni Association and Sampson Community College.
The Garnie Edwards Ambassador of the Year Award
Patty Cherry of Sessoms Medical was honored with The Garnie Edwards Ambassador of the Year Award for her assistance to the organization’s program such as member of the week, ribbon-cuttings and business after hours events.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.