The Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce took over the Historic John P. Furber Farm in Old Cottage Grove for its fall banquet Sept. 28.
Nearly 150 Chamber members gathered to review the year, socialize, recognize members in leadership, discuss priorities for the coming year and pass the torch from the outgoing Chamber president to the incoming president.
The Chamber also named its annual award winners. They include:
Business of the Year: Historic John P. Furber Farm, owned by Wayne and Angi Butt. They were recognized for donating their event space to various organizations and nonprofit events, and they refer and sponsor new businesses with the Chamber.
Educator of the year: Longtime teacher Jeannie Kilgore. She's been the reading specialist at Cottage Grove Middle School for 17 years and is active in a variety of school events, including fundraising for student anti-bullying education efforts.
Business Person of the Year: Arlene Myers of Thrivent Financial-East Metro Financial Team. Myers and her team were recognized for their active involvement throughout the community. She provides free workshops on wills and retirement planning, and the Chamber noted her help to raise money for Cottage Grove's new inclusive playground, the WAG Farms Dog Park and the Christian Cupboard food shelf in Woodbury.
Volunteer of the Year: Vickie Snyder of Stone Soup Thrift Shop in St. Paul Park. The Chamber recognized her efforts to work hard toward making Stone Soup run more like a business. She manages the thrift shop and helps plan its fundraisers, including the Stone Soup-er Bowl, Burgers and Brews and a fashion show.
President's Award: Janet Watson-Hays of Werner Electric. Watson-Hays, who also runs her own photography business, serves as treasurer for the Chamber and was recognized for her work in that role and for her efforts on various Chamber events.
The Chamber also recognized three members of its board of directors for their service: Becky Fox of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Kelli Mickelson of Brynn Alden Interior Design and Bruce Liberty from Liberty Heating and Cooling.
Outgoing Chamber president Alex Sheppard of Oasis Chiropractic turned over the duties to Jeff Carter of Merchants Bank, who will serve as president for the next year.