By Sheryl Roadcap
TROY — The Troy Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) held its 85th annual dinner Thursday night at the Arbogast Performing Arts Center (APAC) to celebrate and recognize local businesses and citizens for their contributions to the local economy and community.
Once the dinner portion of the evening ended, attendees assembled inside the APAC auditorium for the presentation. TACC Chair Troy Mercer, of Mercer Group Inc., welcomed those in attendance and displayed photographs giving a look back at various 2023 TACC events. The chamber has a total of 28 members who are part of the ambassador team, he said, and in 2023 they conducted 46 ribbon cuttings. The ambassador team helps to promote good will and serves as a public relations team for the chamber; they are always present at new business’ ribbon cuttings.
Last year, the chamber welcomed 63 new members, bringing the total number of chamber members to 485. Mercer also reported the chamber has held an 82% member retention rate.
Next Joe Laber, owner of Cup of Joe Media, was recognized as the 2023 Ambassador of the Year. Mercer said the Ambassador of the Year is awarded based upon ribbon cutting attendance, monthly luncheons and other chamber activities.
A shocked Laber thanked the chamber for the recognition, saying he was very humbled and had nothing prepared, except that “It is fun spreading positivity throughout the city of Troy in a team effort, and there is really no better team than my ambassador team …”
Next, TACC Executive Director/2014 Strawberry Festival Chair Kathi Roetter introduced and recognized 2023 Strawberry Festival Chair Tammy Walkup for her great work with the festival.
Roetter explained Walkup was named as the 2021 chairman in 2018, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things were delayed and her time as chair was pushed back until 2023. Roetter praised Walkup’s work and patience for her turn to serve as chair.
Walkup thanked everyone for their help and the opportunity. She also noted being grateful to celebrate the recognition with her mother, and family, who were present Thursday. Walkup shared that her mother had been very sick during the festival and was grateful she was present Thursday evening.
Mercer next recognized two TACC board of directors who had come to the end of their term, Amy Snyder-Curtis and Sandy Ziegler. Snyder-Curtis thanked TACC for the her time on the board; Ziegler was unable to attend Thursday.
Next, a trio of business excellence awards were handed out. Bonnie Frey, TACC vice chair and owner of Harris Jeweler, presented the 2023 Small Business Excellence Award to Purebred Coffee Co.’s business owners Noah and Meggin Walkup for its continued investment in the Troy community since opening in 2017.
Noah Walkup thanked TACC for the recognition, but said the praise goes to God.
“It’s been an honor to serve the downtown Troy community,” Noah said. “We prayed, ‘Lord, let us be part of something so big that we can’t take credit for it.’ We prayed that over and over again every night … I think as we look back over what has happened over the last several years, we can’t take credit for what has happened.”
TACC’s 2021 Chairman Bob Winner, of Winners Computer, next presented Doug and Ann Knostman, owners of Chick-fil-A restaurant with the Medium Business of the Year. Chick-fil-A has continued to invest in the Troy community since their open in 2016, Winner said, and was nominated for its outstanding contribution to the community by sponsoring several little league teams, volunteering in the community, and supporting local organizations.
Bob Winner thanked TACC for the recognition, as his family moved back to the Troy community he grew up in from Texas, where they had lived for numerous years. He also praised his employees for being a great team and noted being involved in the community with the leadership and development of kids, and that coaching girls basketball is an important way for him to connect and serve the community.
Mercer then presented Hobart Filler Metals with this year’s Large Business Excellence Award. Hobart Filler Metals has been a staple in Troy for the last 100 years, he told attendees. Throughout the years Hobart Filler Metals has supported many non-profits in Troy, expanding several times, most recently with The Sparky Lab, and they’re leading other businesses by example with their HART Program (Hobart Against Racism Team), Mercer noted.
Hobart’s representative Kalob Haven thanked TACC for the honor and recognition.
Lastly, TACC President Joseph Graves awarded the President’s Award to the Citizens for Troy Schools Committee. The President’s Award is typically kept secret until the ceremony, but due to the number of people and the who some of the awardees were, which Roetter was one of, it would have been impossible to keep it a secret. Graves said the award was not given due to the passage of the Troy Schools levy, but rather because of the commitment each member of the group gave of their time and talent desiring to make a positive change for Troy children.
Graves thanked each committee member for their dedication, service, time, energy and passion.
“Your commitment will make a real tangible difference in the Troy community for many years … You went above and beyond exceeding expectations and leaving a lasting mark. This would not have been possible without you, and the Troy community continues to thrive because of the selfless support of volunteers like yourselves,” Graves said. “So from the depths of our appreciation, thank you. Thank you for choosing to give back, for believing in the cause, and for making a difference in the lives of others. You are truly remarkable individuals and we are forever grateful for your contribution.”
Ben Poeppelman spoke on behalf of the Citizens for Troy Schools Committee to thank the TACC for the President’s Award.
“I want to say thank you for the recognition and the award. When I look at this group of people behind me (fellow committee members) and I think of our time together, a quote by Henry Ford comes to mind: ‘If everyone is moving together, than success takes care of itself.’ That’s exactly what happened here. A group of mostly strangers came together; we set aside all differences and focused on a single goal in mind: the betterment of our community through new and updated schools. From there, the group ran itself. Down, each and every part of the process, it was not only amazing to watch, but play a very small part of it,” Poeppelman said, “It is here where I challenge you to become active in our community, find something you are passionate about, set aside any differences, focus on the mission and watch success take care of itself.”