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Wakulla County Chamber Announces Winners for Business Excellence

Wakulla Chamber of Commerce Announces Winners of the 2012 Business Excellence Awards – Sponsored by CenturyLink and Waste Pro
by Jo Ann Palmer

The Wakulla County Senior Center was all decked out for Memorial Day and was the perfect setting for the 8th Annual Business Excellence Awards banquet Thursday, May 17. The Chamber membership was there to “salute” the best of the best businesses for 2012.

Categories judged were Start-Up Business of the Year, Non-Profit Organization of the Year, The Environmental Stewardship Award, Wakulla Area Business of the Year, and new for 2012, Member of the Year.

President Amy Geiger welcomed all those in attendance and recognized our sponsors, CenturyLink, Waste Pro, elected officials, Tax Collector Cheryll Olah, County Commissioner Alan Brock, Aide to Rep. Leonard Bembry, Laura Jersey, County Administrator David Edwards, Sopchoppy City Council Member Lara Edwards and Vice Mayor Richard Harden, and St. Marks City Manager Zoe Mansfield. Past President Kimberly Moore, MBA gave the invocation.

Following a delicious dinner, Amy introduced our guest speaker, Herb Donaldson. Herb is the President of the Healing Art of Wakulla County, and founder of the Palaver Tree Theatre. Herb works with the Wakulla Historical Society to preserve our rich history and folklore in a way that will pass down for generations. He also volunteers with many organizations, giving back to his community.

Herb talked about his life experiences as a young man in Buckhorn, working summers, and how money burnt a hole in his pocket.  He inspired us with his story telling to know that we could grow a business if we just put our mind to it.

Tammie Barfield introduced Broward Sapp of CenturyLink and Ralph Mills of Waste Pro and once more thanked them for their sponsorship of this annual event.

The nominees this year were once again outstanding. They represented a cross-section of our diverse area, and an understanding that their customers, clients, employees, friends, co-workers and neighbors, sincerely appreciate all they do.

While the Business Excellence Awards are only 8 years old, last night there were two special recognitions of members who have supported the Chamber since the early 70’s and who have been in business much longer.

Ronald Fred Crum was recognized for 58 years of business.  He was in the audience as everyone heard that what they now know as Crum’s Mini Mall, was once the state inspection station, an auto body repair shop, tire and oil distributor, and even the county ambulance service.  Crum’s is now known as the house of 3000 fishing rods and reels, and where you can buy a pair of shoes, a souvenir of Florida, or fill you tank with gasoline or diesel.  Congratulations Ron and Eloise for your years of continuous business.

Next we jumped forward a couple of decades to 1986.  Noah and Mildred Posey had been in business for 20 years already. If you have ever eaten deviled crab from an authentic crab shell, it was probably produced by the Poseys.  Noah still arrives at work every morning at 4:30 to make sure things run smoothly at their two current businesses, Posey’s Up the Creek and Posey’s Dock Side Café.

Through their businesses, the Poseys have generously been able to give back to our community.  Congratulations to the Posey family for being one of the oldest Chamber members.

Next up, nominees were called and representatives were presented with a certificate from the Chamber, recognizing their nominations.  Congratulations again to all our nominees. Start-Up Businesses:  GamerZ Paradise, Black Bean Cuban Cuisine, International Gold Gymnastics, Tally Up Tax and Accounting, Wakulla Produce, Dreams Daycare, Mike’s Seafood Grille, R. Alan Andrews, PA, Learning Curve Tutoring, Rock Landing Marina, Synovus Mortgage Corporation, Jo’s Dollar World.

The winner in this category was International Gold Gymnastics. They pride themselves on being the best facility in the Big Bend area, offering certified coaches and a safe environment for all their students to achieve great skills in gymnastics.

Non-Profit Organization of the Year nominees: Wakulla County Coalition for Youth, CHAT of Wakulla, Harvest Thrift Store, Big Bend Hospice, Florida Green Guide Association, Covenant Hospice, Wakulla County Senior Citizens Center, WORKFORCE Plus, Big Brothers, Big Sister of the Big Bend, Friends of the Wakulla County Library, NAMI Wakulla, Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, Panacea Waterfronts Florida Partnership

This year’s winner was The Friends of the Wakulla County Library.  The Friends have made it possible for Wakulla County to have the library building, and to offer the outstanding services to our community, which include a summer program for both children and adults.

Environmental Stewardship Award nominees were: Waste Pro, Tucker Life-Health Insurance, Hydra Engineering, Florida Environmental & Land Services, Inc, Wildwood Resort, Tallahassee Energy & Construction,, St. Marks Outfitter.

Wildwood Resort proudly claimed the award in this category.  They represent an organization that considers the impact on our environment before every business decision.

Wakulla Area Business of the year nominees were: Subway, Callaway Auto & Truck Repair, Talk O’ The Town Deli, Shepherd Spring Animal Hospital.

The winner was Callaway Auto and Truck Repair.  Mike and Sherry were nominated by a customer who sang their praises of honesty, hard work and outstanding customer service.

Member of the Year nominees were: Gail Campbell, John Shuff, Sharol Brown, Mary Wallace, Amy Geiger, Kimberly Moore, Sherri Kraeft, Ronald Fred Crum, Courtney Peacock, Jo Ann Palmer

This award was new this year.  Designed to recognize an outstanding employee, or volunteer of a Chamber member.  Congratulations go to Gail Campbell, and outstanding member of this community.

We concluded the evening with the recognition of our Business of the Year. Nominees were, VCA Wakulla Animal Hospital, Posey’s Steam Room & Oyster Bar, Ouzts’ Too Oyster Bar & Grill, Inspired Technologies, Cook Insurance Agency, Wakulla Area Times,3Y Ranch & Outdoor Equipment, Bright Beginnings Daycare, Best Western Plus, Wakulla Inn & Suites, Ace Hardware, Hydra Engineering, The Wakulla News, BlueWater Realty, Ed Gardner, OD, Keith Key Heating & Air,, Wal-Mart, Waste Pro.

The winner was BEST WESTERN PLUS Wakulla Inn and Suites.  They achieved PLUS status with Best Western Corporation based on their customer service. Niraj and his family invest in our community with very generous contributions to local organizations and by promoting tourism, bringing economic growth to our area.

Congratulations once again to all our winners. If you are not a member of the Wakulla County Chamber, find out what the benefits are.  Go to and get involved.