Chamber celebrates businesses, year [with gallery]

Published 2:02 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017

In a packed house, the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated a year in which its membership grew by 30 percent; recognized local educators and businesses; and culminated its “blue jean banquet” with entertainment by trick rope performer Loop Rawlins.

Outgoing President Jennifer Curry said the small town has made big accomplishments.

“The fact that the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce has already made a significant impact in this community is so encouraging and something which I know Chrissie, Maggie and the Board of Directors will be building on for years to come,” she said. “The Chamber has reached unimaginable accomplishments for the past two years since these two ladies joined our team.”

In the last two years, more than 100 new members have joined the chamber.

There were several awards presented during the night’s banquet.


Andalusia Leadership Hall of Fame

Mayor Earl Johnson presented the Andalusia Leadership Hall of Fame award to Seth Hammett.

Johnson said Hammett is the only living member inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Previously inductees include John Scherf, Charles Dixon and Solon Dixon.

Hammett quipped that he was pleased to be alive to accept the award and that he was sharing “rarified air” to be included with the group of leaders.

Johnson applauded Hammett for all he’s done for Andalusia. He represented Covington County in the House of Representatives from 1978 until 2010 and served three terms as speaker of the house.

He served as chief of staff for Gov. Robert Bentley and was director of the Alabama Development Office. He is president emeritus of LBW Community College and was the founder and first president of First National Bank of Andalusia. He currently works as vice president of business development as PowerSouth.


Distinguished Service Award

The Chamber awarded its annual distinguished service award to District Attorney Walt Merrell, who was not present. His daughter Bay, who accepted in his behalf, said her father was on a trip that had been planned for a year.


Business awards

Walker’s was named mid-sized business of the year. The company has been an anchor in Andalusia’s downtown for more than 50 years.

“They have spearheaded, adapted, innovated, renovated and truly stood the test of time,” Curry said. “In the last few years, Walker’s has added additional showrooms and renovated some of Andalusia’s most historic space.


CCB Community Bank was named large business of the year. The bank will mark its 70th anniversary this summer.

“Covington County Bank, now known as CCB Community Bank, began in July 1947 in Andalusia,” Curry said. “It has grown from five employees in one location to 116 employees in four locations, growing assets from $170,000 to $460 million.”


The Andalusia Star-News received the community service business of the year award.

“No one organization shows more enthusiasm and support for our community’s evnts, sports and civic clubs than the Andalusia Star-News,” she said. “Thank you for your tireless efforts and contributions to this community.”

Other finalists included PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, Copleland Computer Solutions, Bass Agency Real Estate, White and McClung, Comfort Care Hospice, Oasis Salon and Lena Ellen Boutique, Taylor Linen Services, Outlaw Realty and The Gallery.


Board members

The Chamber recognized past President Stallion Sasser and Cary Baker, both of whom are rotating off the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Current board members include President Daniel Wells, Casey Tell, Vicki Popwell, Tim Bryan, Shannon Glenn, Heather Owen, Maci Jessie, Will Bumpers, Missy Pierce, John Yanes, Billy Bimbo, Kim Carter, Ruck Ashworth, Chris Lawrence and Vickie Wacaster.