The meeting was a sold-out event with 210 community and business leaders in attendance to hear about the “state of Davie” and to honor the recipients of the Chamber’s signature awards: E.C. Tatum Humanitarian Award, Business of the Year, and Chamber Ambassador of the Year.
Bermuda Run Mayor Rick Cross welcomed attendees to Bermuda Run. Then Chamber President Caroline Moser opened the meeting by saying, “Today is a huge celebration and a thank you to our members. Without you, our Chamber would not exist. We have worked hard to promote the economic prosperity of Davie County. We have worked hard to support new and existing businesses and help create a strong and vibrant economy. We have connected businesses with resources, promoted networking and collaboration, and helped create a thriving business climate – all because of YOU.
Your membership is also philanthropic; it helps the chamber support a greater cause than you potentially could support on your own. A prime example is IGNITE DAVIE. Because of you, we have been able to pledge a 5-year commitment.
We are proud to be in a flourishing community and proud of all it offers. Through strong partnerships, we have seen tremendous growth in the past year in terms of new businesses, job opportunities, and investment. And the future is even brighter.
Another important arm of the Chamber is tourism. We serve as the Visitor Center of the county. We engage and direct people to Discover Davie and our other informative platforms. We are blessed to have RISE Indoor Sports, RayLen and Lazy Elm Vineyards, Davie Disc Golf in Farmington, Truist Sports Park, and many others that provide memorable experiences. Those memorable experiences bring significant economic support to our local businesses, restaurants, lodging, and other attractions, which helps create jobs and brings in more people to experience all our community has to offer.”
Moser began by recognizing the 2022 Chairman of the Board, Keith Beck of Farm Bureau Insurance. “Keith served as our Chairman of the Board last year, and words cannot express what a phenomenal job he did. Not only did he lead the board with his words, but he led by example. Keith was present in every way. He has a way of connecting with people that leaves them feeling better about themselves, and our members and community took notice.”
Moser next presented the 2022 Class of Leadership Davie. “Leadership Davie (LD)is a comprehensive nine-month training program that develops leaders who want a behind-the-scenes peek at what makes our county run. Participants learn about our rich history and future potential and hear from top-quality leaders and speakers. They develop a connection with a network of influential leaders that are driving Davie County forward.”
Each Leadership Davie class completes a service project to enhance the community. Dr. Ali Hartman discussed this year’s focus on the opioid epidemic, sharing statistics and information about the group’s project. On November 15th, 2022, Leadership Davie co-hosted a community conversation with Davie County Health and Human Services entitled Davie County’s Opioid Crisis: Owning the Problem. The discussion surrounded substance use and abuse in Davie County, the strategies being implemented, and possible solutions.
LD also partnered with S.A.F.E. (Substance Abuse Family Education), which is committed to helping individuals struggling with addiction and loved ones impacted by addiction. They created a website to increase access to information about the organization and raised $1000 to help it continue to serve and access needed resources.
Chamber Board members and Platinum Sponsors then presented the Chamber’s highly anticipated awards: E.C. Tatum Humanitarian Award, Business of the Year, and Chamber Ambassador of the Year.
The Davie County 2022 Business of the Year award was presented to Bryan and Suzanne Lakey, owners of The Station, a modern-day general store & taproom, by Davie County Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Melinda Szeliga, and Platinum Sponsor Carl Carney, President of Davie Construction.
In her speech, Szeliga recognized the winners for their hard work and contributions to the community. “The owners of the 2022 Business of the Year have demonstrated many characteristics worthy of recognition. Strong in their faith, this husband-and-wife team was purposeful and driven. They were energized by a shared vision to create a local destination where folks could come together. He embraced the notion of a retro-rustic taproom. She focused on the idea of a charming, old-fashioned general store. They both knew it had to be a welcoming, family-friendly environment where parents could enjoy a beer, a cider, or a glass of wine while their kids enjoyed a scoop of ice cream or a sno-ball. They found their spot in a vacant iconic landmark in Downtown Mocksville.Joh
After months of renovations, they opened their business in the summer of 2020. New challenges arose almost daily that no business owner had faced before. They had to be innovative and strategic. Taking advantage of their outdoor space, they booked live entertainment and food trucks and had outdoor games, always staying true to their purpose of being a family-friendly destination. They were tenacious and resilient.
Fast forward, and we see this destination spot as energized as ever. Co-founders of the Downtown Mocksville Collaborative, these owners team up with and support other downtown businesses, working together to launch creative, family-friendly events such as the Fairy Walk last July, September’s Pirate Party, and the Spring Community Fling this Saturday. Please join me in honoring Suzanne and Brian Lakey. The Station is the 2022 Davie County Business of the Year.”
The E.C. Tatum Humanitarian Award was presented to a couple for the first time. Josh Hanes and Joe Caroll of Platinum Sponsor Bank OZK presented the 2022 humanitarian award to Phil and Darlene Fuller for their steadfast dedication to the community of Davie County.
“Sharing that the Fuller’s had “dedicated themselves to the community in a quiet way,” Hanes, past chair of the Chamber Board, listed examples of their community involvement.
“They have donated their time and compassion to many other individuals and projects. As Jane Simpson told me, they ‘just get things done.’”
The 2022 Davie County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year award was presented to Brandon James of the Marzano Capital Group by Chamber Membership Services Coordinator Alyson Morse and Platinum Sponsor Adam Sewell, president of My Geek Technologies.
Chamber Ambassadors promote their own companies; promote Chamber events and programs; visit new and existing Chamber members; represent the Chamber at groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings, and other Chamber events and assist with Chamber projects. Ambassadors believe in the Chamber and desire to share with other businesses the many benefits and camaraderie gained by being part of the organization.
Morse shared, “This individual is always ready to assist our Chamber wherever we need them. Whether it be a familiar face at our events or sponsoring a new chamber venture, they are constantly someone I have found very easy to depend on, even if that means bringing their family to a Business After Hours. Please join me in recognizing the 2022 Chamber Ambassador of the Year, whom you may have seen on a billboard or two, our current Chamber Board Member, Brandon James of Marzano Capital Group.”
After the awards ceremony, Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, introduced keynote speaker Ted Abernethy, an economic development & strategic planning consultant with over 35 years of experience directing economic development and workforce development programs.
His presentation was entitled “Davie County: The Economy for 2023 and Beyond” and provided an evaluation of the current economic state of the county, an assessment of trends impacting Davie County’s economic competitiveness, and recommendations for future targets.
He focused on four themes:
Abernethy pointed out that population growth is slowing, not growing. Families are having fewer or no children at all. In 1960, the average family had 3.7 children. Sixty years later, that number had dropped to 1.6. He explained that so far, North Carolina has yet to feel the full impact of the decrease because it has added 2.5 million residents since 2000. However, coupled with an aging workforce, finding labor is and will continue to be an issue. Currently, there are two jobs available for every employable person.
He shared numerous statistics explaining why North Carolina is a location of choice: business climate, workforce, infrastructure, innovation, and state competitiveness. North Carolina is #17 for innovation, #9 for tech sector growth, and #3 for manufacturing.
Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. Global uncertainty is causing many companies to consider reshoring projects. North Carolina is primed to be a winner in that arena.
He discussed job growth, wages, inflation, and other economic themes. Of particular note was the nationwide lack of housing. To continue to grow, Abernethy said communities, including Davie County, will have to find ways to increase affordable housing.
You can view Abernethy’s report here:
Moser thanked the many sponsors that helped make the meeting a success. “This meeting would not have been possible without our generous sponsors My Geek Technologies, Davie Construction, Town of Bermuda Run, Bank OZK, Lambert Funeral Home, Rise Indoor Sports, The Town of Mocksville, One Shot Photography, Johnson Insurance, State Farm-Bandy Insurance Agency, Acquire Personnel, Blackburn Consulting, and Davie Community Foundation.
She also recognized Chamber Champions Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist – Davie Medical Center, Allegacy Federal Credit Union, AVGOL, Comfort Bilt, DEX Heavy Duty Parts, Duke Energy, First Horizons, Funder America, Hampton Inn, Kelly Office Solutions, Marzano Capital Group, REEB Millwork, Scott Bader, TRU Taekwondo, Truist, Village Cleaners, and WinMock at Kinderton.