On Friday, Feb. 7, the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted its sold-out annual meeting at Great Wolf Lodge with over 400 members and guests attending.

The celebration began with the unveiling of a freshened brand and logo.

“Our members told us that our formal name, the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, sounded dated and did not reflect the work we are currently doing, so we have shortened it to just The Chamber — Leading Business in Cabarrus,” said Executive Director Barbi Jones. The new logo with bright green and blue replaces an older version with a simpler, updated look and feel.

After S&D Coffee and Tea’s announcement that it was being acquired by Westrock Coffee Co., The Chamber recognized S&D Coffee and Tea’s CEO Ron Hinson for over 40 years of service and leadership.

“We wanted to thank Ron for all he has done for this community,” said Jones, “and to make it clear that he and S&D are staying. It will be business and growth as usual.”

After lunch, 2019 board Chair Owen Parker, general manager, Hilton Garden Inn, recapped a great 2019 for The Chamber, including the addition of 108 member companies; 45 ribbon-cuttings; increased advocacy and public policy initiatives and updates; free educational webinars for members; 33 graduates from Leadership Cabarrus; stakeholder discussions around education, workforce development, health care and infrastructure; and multiple networking events.

The Chamber’s biggest success was joint support with partners across the state to pass legislation for association health plans that would allow small businesses to band together their purchasing power to reduce health-care costs. This initiative is currently being federally litigated; however, The Chamber will be ready to serve members through partnership with the N.C. Chamber should the courts rule in favor of AHPs.

Parker ceremoniously turned the gavel over to 2020 board Chair Randy Welch, district manager, government and community relations, Duke Energy, who previewed new initiatives for The Chamber this year. While continuing all previous programming, advocacy and network events, The Chamber is additionally promoting the importance of preventive health.

Through a partnership with Atrium Health, The Healthy Workplace Toolkit will soon be available on The Chamber’s website. It is a free, downloadable guide with segments on healthy nutrition at work, increasing movement, support for healthy employees, tobacco cessation support, breastfeeding at work, mental health support, and corporate health tips. This will be a free tool for the community, not just chamber members, and is possible due to a grant from the NorthEast Foundation and Children WIN.

The Chamber is hosting The Chamber Charge 5K, presented by Uwharrie Bank, on March 14 at Cabarrus Brewing Co. All are invited to walk, run or just enjoy the company of others. This is a great way for companies to build teams to represent their businesses.

Brian Francis, owner, Francis Consulting Services, and public policy consultant for The Chamber, updated members on advocacy and policy work done on local, state and federal levels. While many of The Chamber’s initiatives were successfully represented in the state budget, it was vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper, and the legislature was unable to overturn it. The Chamber will continue to advocate for and support important issues that impact members and businesses, including education, infrastructure and health-care initiatives.

Each year, The Chamber honors six member businesses and individuals in various categories. This year, Market Street Studios profiled the sponsors and the winners for each award. This year’s award winners are:

» Volunteer Business of the Year Award, sponsored by The Chamber — Charlotte Motor Speedway.

» Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by F&M Bank — Cannon Health, a Division of Cannon Pharmacy.

» Nonprofit of the Year Award, sponsored by Hilbish Ford — tie, Bethel Enrichment Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cabarrus County.

» New Business of the Year, sponsored by Pinnacle Financial Partners — Abbott’s Frozen Custard.

» Ambassador of the Year, sponsored by Sharp Business Systems — MaryEllen MacDonald, Southern Trust Mortgage.

» Duke Energy Citizen and Service Award — awarded posthumously to Sam Leder, Potter & Co. and former Concord City Council member.