Keynote speaker describes huge growth opportunities in store for Rockford
Photos by TOM SCOTT
The cost of the “Taste of Rockford” buffet at the annual Rockford Chamber of Commerce ceremony was likely the best dining deal members’ have ever experienced. The evening’s entertainment, included election of board members, an awards ceremony recognizing Business of Distinction and Business of the Year, and a humorous Year in Review. The restaurants who provided food and beverages included D&W Fresh Market, the Corner Bar, Jody’s Restaurant, Herman’s Boy, Epic, Polly’s Passions, the Gristmill, Twisted Vine, and Grill One Eleven. Dad’s Tents provided the linens and centerpieces for the tables. Floral arrangements were provided by Polly VonEschen.
Andy Tidey, of the Corner Bar and Chamber Board member, announced he is leaving Rockford and moving his family out west. Businesses and individuals received recognition in a variety of categories with Blaine Kellermeier of Kellermeier Plumbing, Inc. receiving the highest honor of Business of the Year. Other winners were Dan Biemer in the new category of Networker of the Year. Lynda Nance and Polly VonEschen tied in the category of Volunteer of the Year. Beth Altena, Managing Editor of the Rockford Squire newspaper was struck speechless at the announcement that the newspaper had earned the Business of Distinction Award in the Community Service category. Joel Koch of Bluegrass Promotional Marketing was recognized in the category of New Business.
Keynote speaker Mike Guswiler, Executive Director of the West Michigan Sports Commission, touted the economic benefits of the sports complex which will be built in Plainfield Township off Ten Mile Road. He said there was “no better community than Rockford” for the sports venue. Hosting baseball, softball, cross country skiing, archery and more, the complex will be a boon in visitor spending and an economic engine for the greater Rockford area. Guswiler said a complex of similar size in a town comparable to Rockford made a huge difference in economic vitality. He said the sports complex there spurred the growth of three hotels to fifty hotels with an eighty-five percent occupancy rate. “It’s all about economic growth enhancing our quality of life.”
The annual meeting, open to members of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, was held at the American Legion banquet facility, 330 Rockford Park Drive.