Chamber recognizes businesses, local community members at annual banquet
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual banquet with a Vegas Night on Friday evening, recognizing businesses and individuals prior to an evening of casino games in which attendees could earn tickets for prizes to include a trip to Las Vegas, a week in Surfside Beach, Texas, a hunting weekend, and an LED smart TV.
Board Chair Jennifer Cotter, with H-E-B Plus!, reflected on the past year and looked ahead to the upcoming year for the chamber of commerce.
“I’m excited to continue our journey together and look forward to another promising and successful year,” Cotter said.
In 2019, the chamber launched a new website with new products and services for its members, and between June 1 and Dec. 31 of last year, the site generated 135,873 views. The chamber itself increased by 48 new members in 2019, with an overall chamber growth of 21 percent.
The chamber’s military affairs committee hosted four military affairs dinners, with 400-plus attendees altogether, and the chamber’s three Centex race series runs had 643 participants, with 376 of those from outside of the 76522 zip code.
Cotter shared numbers from the chamber’s two festivals, with Rabbit Rest having 40,000-plus and “substantial” overnight hotel stays, and Krist Kindl Markt, having 32,000-plus in attendance, thanks to its new location at City Park, along with more activities, vendors, and attractions.
Cotter called it an honor for the chamber to be redesignated as the city’s official tourism and visitor bureau, with the chamber also distributing more than 1,0900 information bags at Hood Howdy.
So far for 2020, the chamber has unveiled its new logo, finished the chamber directory and tourism guide, along with adding new elements to the website like banner ads and Cove Marketplace.
“We are going to work hard with your best interests at heart as our valued chamber members and community partners,” Cotter said.
Then came the awards, with Trae Cunningham of Copperas Cove Nursing & Rehabilitation named Chamber Ambassador of the year, with the award for Junior Ambassador of the Year going to Cameron Petet.
Chamber Ambassadors attend chamber functions such as Business & Organization of the Month, assist with membership retention, volunteer for chamber activities, are an advocate for the organization and its members.
Small Business of the Year award went to Soggie Doggies, with Copperas Cove Independent School District receiving the Large Business of the Year award.
Star Group – Veterans Helping Veterans was named the Nonprofit Organization of the Year, and Outstanding New Member of the Year went to Heart of Texas Hospice and Hank’s Tire & Muffler.
The Outstanding Partner of the Year, or the Jim French Award, went to Cactus Lilly Boutique and Chick-fil-A of Copperas Cove. The Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association received the Tourism Partner Award.
Colleague of the Year Award, or the Mark Peterson Award, went to Sharon Tabor.
Robert O’Dell, chair of the Military Affairs Committee, spoke briefly about the chamber’s military affairs dinners it holds during the year, holding them annually for more than 50 years, with that tradition beginning in Ed Rhode’s backyard.
He welcomed anyone interested in being a part of the dinners to join the committee for $25 per year. The cost per dinner itself is $17 per person or $34 per couple, with each couple being asked to also purchase a military couple’s dinner for the same price. The first dinner for 2020 will be held on April 16.
“Not everybody hosts, but your military partnership, our neighbors, get to come here at no cost to them and visit with members of our chamber and businesses of our community, and we can share about what’s going on in Copperas Cove with them,” O’Dell said.
Board Chair Jennifer Cotter will remain as chair for 2020, with Michelle Rocha of Navy Federal Credit Union being board chair-elect.
In addition to Cotter and Rocha, the board is rounded out by Charlotte Heinze (CCISD), Tammy Rodriguez (AdventHealth), Erica McPhail (Century 21),Marsha Siler (AllState – Ira Brand Financial), Heather Duncan Cunningham (AdventHealth), Beth Galick (Refresh), Courtney Tillman (Chick-fil-A), Nancy Nelson (Cinergy Cinemas) and Shaun Smith (Raising Cane’s).