by kathryn schiliro • photos by patrick yost
Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce to honor individuals, businesses at meeting
A yearly tradition, the Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors has selected the most deserving of local individuals and businesses to receive awards for their community involvement. Meet this year's “Chamber Superlatives.”
Hospitality Business of the Year
Madison Tea Room and Garden, Kathi Russell
Owner of The Madison Tea Room and Garden as well as the Lady Buggie shuttle service that gives visitors a scenic tour of downtown Madison, Russell is heavily involved in the shape of downtown Madison.
Chamber of Commerce President Bob Hughes calls it "adaptive reuse." And Russell's doing a lot of it.
She's most recently purchased the Mapp-Gilmore Funeral Home building on Washington Street, across from Town Park. Her plan is to renovate the space, move her Madison Tea Room and Garden there and, additionally, make the space into a wedding venue.
"She's a very positive person with a very good business plan," Hughes said.
Business of the Year
Back to Wellness, Michael Hughes
Rutledge's Back to Wellness is no longer simply a chiropractic operation.
"It's just grown and blossomed," Bob Hughes said. "He's (Michael Hughes) found different areas to work with folks."
There's also weight loss, nutrition, acupuncture and counseling services in addition to Hughes' chiropractic practice. Most recently, the business opened an entire new wing – complete with murals by local artists – dedicated to continuing the wellness services offered.
Bob Hughes cited Back to Wellness' reach into surrounding counties and the region as another reason the Board of Directors named the clinic "Business of the Year."
Manufacturer of the Year
Anthony International, Jeff Spotts
Hughes said this award was a close one for the Board of Directors, but that Anthony stood out "because of community involvement."
The business was nominated for an "Investing in Dreams" award through Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Anthony has also participated with the Chamber in the past as the "Manufacturer of the Year," Hughes said.
Arts and Tourism Supporter of the Year
Madisonian Chris Lambert is heavily involved with promotion of the arts through the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center.
"What can I say? Chris is there all the time," Hughes said. "She works very hard through the Cultural Center to promote the arts."
Additionally, she's worked with the Chamber of Commerce on the Tour of Homes and opened her house for four days as part of the Antebellum Trail promotion.
"She's always there," Hughes said.
Farm Family of the Year
Mark, Erin and Tate Tewksbury
Recommended by County Extension Agent Bobby Smith, the Tewksbury family has seemingly made it their mission to provide the area with fresh, locally grown produce, offering it through the Locally Grown program or through delivery, giving consumers options.
"They're great with what they do," Hughes said.
Community Spirit Award
While he stays below the radar, Hughes said, Pat Reams deserves credit for supporting local organizations such as the Madison-Morgan County Boys & Girls Club, the Humane Society of Morgan County and the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center.
In fact, Hughes said, Reams was "instrumental in helping restoration efforts at the Cultural Center when the tornado ripped through."
While he owns the Madison ChopHouse Grille, Hughes said, "all of the money the restaurant makes goes to worthy causes."
Reams hasn't asked for any credit, Hughes said, but the Chamber of Commerce felt the need to recognize him and add this award to the list.
Volunteer of the Year
Dianne Yost, Morgan County Citizen
Described by Hughes as "ubiquitous," Dianne Yost does all she can to support local efforts – from being a Tour of Homes docent to working on promotions with the Chamber, she's got her hands in everything.
"You name it, she's there rolling up her sleeves to pitch in," Hughes said.
All will be honored at the Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting on Thursday, June 14 at Cowboy's Hotspot.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting and awards ceremony. To do so, please call Shey Daniels at the Chamber: 706-342-4454.
Printed in the June 7, 2012 edition