The Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated local business and community achievements in 2017 with a festive New Year’s Eve Eve gala at the Fireman’s Sports Arena on Saturday, Dec. 30.
The Chamber presented its year-end awards to open the evening.
Executive Director Joy Stump opened the ceremony by presenting the Citizen of the Year Award to Navona Hart, of Real Living Cornerstone.
“Navona is totally community minded,” Stump said. “She is someone who gives of her time, energy and resources to make Farmville and surrounding area a better place to live, work and play. One look at Navona’s website and you will see the full range of organizations that she supports. Navona is involved, and she makes Farmville a better place to live.”
Brad Watson, chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, was named Member of the Year.
“When Brad started as the Chamber Board chair, he had a great vision of what the Chamber should be,” Stump said. “He spent a lot of time working with me to meet this vision. I’ve seen so much positive change under his leadership.”
Watson commented on his 20 years with the Farmville Chamber.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with an amazing group of people in the Farmville Chamber,” he said. “These people have made the Chamber successful, and that in turn has made me look successful.”
Watson continued the program with the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award. “This award is only presented when someone has made a tremendous and positive impact on our community over a long period of time,” Watson said. “Last year we honored our first recipient, Dr. Nancy Haga. This year’s recipient is Hunter Watson.”
Brad Watson went on to describe the lengthy business career of his father, Hunter Watson, who began his career at W.A. Watson Insurance Company and later co-owned Hubbard Insurance Agency before moving to Davenport & Company LLC.
“In 1985 Hunter Watson opened Farmville’s first stock brokerage firm,” Brad Watson continued. “Davenport brought the first stock quotation machines to Farmville.”
“Hunter Watson has served the community generously and tirelessly,” Brad Watson concluded. “He has seen many endeavors come to fruition.”
“I’m proud of what I’ve done for the Farmville area,” the elder Watson stated.
Hunter Watson noted the three new hotels slated to open in Farmville in 2018.
“Good things are happening in Farmville,” he said. “There’s still a lot to be done, and I want to be a part of it.”
In addition to individual awards, the Chamber presented four local business awards. The annual Looking Our Best Award went to Camp Paradise at High Bridge Trail State Park, New Business of the Year Award was presented to Third Street Brewing Company, and The Fishin' Pig was named Business of the Year. A new award, Non-Profit of the Year, went to the Southside SPCA.
Farmville businesses, represented by individual tables in the arena, were recognized this year with awards for the best table decorations. The Virginia Children’s Book Festival won the creativity award; the Helton House table was most relevant to the New Year’s theme; and Bojangles received the award for best business promotion.
Following the award presentation, members and guests enjoyed dancing with En ‘Novation, light hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.
Since 1948, the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce has strived to improve the lives of those living and doing business in the community. Alongside its members, the Chamber provides educational initiatives, promotes tourism, serves as an advocate for local businesses, and seeks opportunities to aid a diverse and growing population.