VPC named Blowing Rock Chamber “Business of the Year”

VPC named Blowing Rock Chamber “Business of the Year”
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By David Rogers. February 12, 2019. BLOWING ROCK, NC — With notable construction projects in the High Country region either completed or underway, as well as its promotion of high profile community service initiatives like Purple Heart Homes and Habitat for Humanity, VPC Builders was recognized on Tuesday as Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce’s “2018 Business of the Year.”

COVER IMAGE: Matt Vincent, left, accepted the Business of the Year Award on behalf of VPC Builders –All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.

Matt Vincent was on hand to accept the award on behalf of VPC, the recognition nominated and voted on by Blowing Rock Chamber members.

Mountainaire Inn’s Jim McDowell, right, received the Community Service award from Jim Pitts (Blue Ridge Mountain Club), especially recognizing his initiatives to promote entrepreneurship at Blowing Rock School, as well as organizing science and technology-related initiatives at the school

It was a festive atmosphere surrounding the annual award luncheon, this year hosted and catered by Meadowbrook Inn, a Blowing Rock lodging and restaurant enterprise managed by Savara Hospitality. The expansive, ground floor ballroom proved the perfect venue for the Chamber event celebrating a year of significant accomplishments.

Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce CEO Charles Hardin served as emcee for the event. Among the achievements of the Chamber in 2018:

  • More than a 10% increase in membership, including 55 new members. Total membership at year-end was 550
  • More than a 97% membership retention rate
  • 461,000 visitors to the www.blowingrock.com website
  • Published 52 member newsletters (weekly)
  • Almost 12,000 (11,617) people following the Chamber on social media
  • Some 14,000 distributed copies of the organization’s Visitor Information and Member Directory
  • Hosted 12 ribbon cuttings for new businesses
  • Staged 14 networking events
  • Received 29 Chamber Partners
  • Completed 72 public initiatives to support business
  • Co-hosted with the Boone Area Chamber the regional “Economic Kickoff” event at Appalachian Ski Mountain
  • Completed the purchase of the building housing the Chamber offices at 132 Park Avenue, the historic former home of Grover Robbins, who founded the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce in 1927
Jim Pitts of Blue Ridge Mountain Club received “Volunteer of the Year” recognition for not only his past service as an officer and board member of the Chamber, but his ongoing work with Art in the Park and service to the Village Foundation, including in being instrumental for the completion of Mayview Plaza

Other businesses and individuals were recognized for their contributions both to the Chamber as well as to the community.

  • Economic Driver Award — Beaver College of Health Sciences, Appalachian State University
  • Volunteer of the Year Award — Jim Pitts of Blue Ridge Mountain Club
  • Outstanding Business Service — First Citizens Bank, Rita Davis and Team
  • Jerry Burns Ambassadorial Award — Charlie Sellers
  • Best Customer Service Award — Spice & Tea Exchange
  • Community Service Award — Jim McDowell of Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins
  • Commercial Renovation Award — The Ridgeline Restaurant
Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce CEO Charles Hardin served as emcee for the event.

Hardin also recognized the service of outgoing Chamber chairman David Barker, owner of Blowing Rock Market, who will continue to serve on the board of directors as Immediate Past President. Billy Chick, of Edward Jones & Co., was introduced to the membership as the new chairman of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce.

Philip Borneman (Premier Sotheby’s), Suzanne Miller (Blowing Rock Antique Center), and Karen Diamond (Diamond Properties) were also recognized by Hardin for their valuable service while on the Chamber’s board of directors.

In recognizing Suzanne Miller, right, for her service on the Chamber’s board of directors, Hardin brought appreciative smiles and chuckles in describing Miller as “the Energizer Bunn” of Blowing Rock

About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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