Rowan County Chamber set to celebrate its 95th birthday

Rowan County Chamber set to celebrate its 95th birthday
2020 Chairman Gary Blabon, left, will pass the gavel to 2021 Chairman Bob Honeycutt, right. (Source: Submitted photo)

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 95th Annual Meeting at a virtual Power in Partnership program on Thurs., April 15, 7:30 a.m. with production quality enhanced videos and award presentations.

Annual Meeting Committee Chair Cindy Hart (Great American Publishing) said, “We’ll make this year’s 95th Annual Meeting a wonderful Spring virtual program and celebrate in person with a super-duper Business After Hours mixer at the new Bell Tower Green Park in the Fall.”

The traditional passing of the gavel ceremony -- with some fun twists -- will be conducted from 2020 Chair of the Board Gary Blabon (Novant Health Rowan Medical Center) to 2021 Chair of the Board Bob Honeycutt (F & M Bank).

Annual award videos will be shown in a “Publishers Clearing House” style presentation to Chamber Volunteer of the Year; Small Business of the Year and the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award.

Sponsors for the 95th Annual Meeting include: Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, Duke Energy, F & M Bank, Trinity Oaks, Atrium Health, Food Lion, Fisher Realty, Inc., Premiere Federal Credit Union, Godley’s Garden Center and Nursery, Hood Theological Seminary and Rowan EDC.

The Rowan Chamber was officially chartered on March 19, 1925. It began as the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce and later expanded to the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber recently started a Past Chairs Council and will recognize charter members, long-term businesses in the community and historic accomplishments all year long.

The Chamber’s first Annual Report shows support for bringing Catawba College to Salisbury; lobbying for better roads; and work on establishing a “creamery” in the community. Early business leaders included: Sam Carter, President; L. S. Moody, Sec.; Ross Sigmon; J.O. Draige; P.A. Wallenborn; S. H. Snider; Stahle Linn; C. L. Coggin; J. L. Fisher; J. F. Somer; J.V. Wallace; T. M. Hines; and, J. F. Hurley, Jr.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Gateway Building development. The Chamber conducted two separate fundraising campaigns, led by Paul E. Fisher and Pete Teague. The building was complete in February 2001 with a building dedication ceremony held in May 2001.

More recent accomplishments of the Chamber include priority project identification and advocacy efforts in conjunction with our community partners for: Yadkin River Bridge (now Veterans Memorial Bridge); I-85 four-lane expansion through Rowan County; I-85 exit at Old Beatty Ford Rd. (now Exit #65 and Kannapolis Crossing a new mixed use development of commercial and residential property); Rowan County Airport funding (now Mid-Carolina Airport); North Carolina Transportation Museum; Rowan-Cabarrus Community College; and Rowan-Salisbury School System.

Please join us for the Chamber’s 95th Annual Meeting in conjunction with the Power in Partnership program. If you are not a Power Card holder, individual reservations are welcome; however, the reservation deadline is Tues., April 13 by 5 p.m. The cost is $15 for members and $25 for non-members. Contact the Chamber for information on reservations or sponsorship opportunities at 704.633.4221 or or

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