Chamber celebrates Sweet Home Andalusia [with gallery]

Published 2:19 am Friday, February 1, 2019

Banquet honors business, civic leaders

The Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated all things Andalusia in its annual banquet Thursday night.

Themed “Sweet Home Andalusia,” the event drew a crowd of 550 people who strolled through a display of the community’s history that began with pine trees and Indians, and featured an antique automobile, farm equipment, a train, multimedia presentations of historic photographs, and a cottage from Candyland.

A recording of the Leland Enzor Sr., then mayor of Andalusia, welcoming guests to a 1958 groundbreaking at PowerSouth opened the banquet.

“The great prosperity that we enjoy today was engineered and carefully planned by those that came before us,” Enzor said.

Andalusia’s current mayor, Earl Johnson, was recognized as the newest inductee in the Andalusia Leadership Hal of Fame.

“So many of the things we count when we think of Sweet Home Andalusia, we have because our mayor had a vision,” Michele Gerlach said in her introduction of Johnson. “He saw a thriving community that loved its history, but didn’t rest on its past laurels; a community that could dream big and create a bright future with jobs, retail and amenities.  He was willing to take risks, and he aptly brought together partners to make his vision of a beautiful, thriving small town a reality.”

Christopher’s Fine Diamonds and Jewelry was named the small business of the year.

“The Lawrences have made countless contributions to not-for-profit organizations throughout the years,” Chamber Executive Director Chrissie Duffy said. “Among the most notable are their efforts to enhance cultural arts through the Andalusia Ballet and support the Andalusia Elementary School.”

The Lawrences pioneered a fundraising effort that puts material funds into the hands of every teacher at AES.

Darby’s Village Pharmacy was named mid-sized business of the year.

“David and Laura Darby are both committed to serving the community that supports them,” Duffy said. “You will see them represented at just about any event or fundraiser, just like you can count on them to go the extra mile for their customers.”

Taylor Linen was named large business of the year.

“Taylor Linen is a family-run business where the employees are treated like family,” Duffy said of owners Beth and Riley Taylor.  “To meet the demands of the industry, Taylor Linen continues to adapt with technology upgrades like microchipping inventory and increasing capacity with the addition of new washer and ironer production lines.”

The Chamber awarded its business of the year community service award to Gitty Up N Go.

“In the past two years alone, Gitty Up N Go has donated over a quarter of a million dollars to local charities, over half of that to our local schools,” Duffy said. “Their giving is done quietly, yet the impact is overwhelming and far-reaching.”

Outgoing Chamber President Will Bumpers presented the president’s award to Skip Enzor.

“Through his creative videography and production skills, Skip has provided a great deal of positive content about Andalusia, benefitting not only our chamber, but our local school systems, our municipalities, our animal shelter and countless charities,” Bumper said.