Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Nov. 13 newspaper on Page B4.
JACKSON — The Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce held its 2019 Appreciation Banquet in at the Christ United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center on Tuesday, October 22, to celebrate the Chamber’s 109th year and the 53rd anniversary of the Appreciation Banquet.
The event began with a welcome from Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Randy Heath. This was followed by an invocation given by Rev. Jon Hensler from the Oak Hill Church of Christ in Christian Union.
After dinner, Heath introduced several local and regional dignitaries who were attending the event, including guest speaker Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who spoke briefly.
Norman Gilliland, who’s a member of the Chamber Board of Directors, then had the honor of recognizing chamber members who had milestone anniversary years with the Chamber of Commerce.
Those members were:
- Five years: Verizon Cellular, Diles Hearing Center, Maydelma’s Place, Hopewell Health Services/Woodland Centers, Rowdy’s Smokehouse, Dr. Richard Billman, II Optometrist and Vinton County National Bank.
- 10 years: Animals Unlimited Veterinary Hospital, FMC of Indian Hills, John’s Fire Extinguisher Sales and Services, and Serv Pro of Jackson, Gallia, Meigs and Vinton Counties.
- 15 years: American Municipal Power, Buckeye Community Services, Dakota’s Roadhouse Restaurant, Jackson Metropolitan Housing Authority, Mt. Zion Animal Clinic and Boarding, and Marvin Payne/KFC.
- 20 years: Eisnaugle Custom Framing, Marvin’s gardens/Davis Farms, and So. Ohio Diversification Initiative.
- 25 years: Creative Concepts, and Rick Callebs and Associates.
- 30 years: Classic Plaza, Best One Tire, Jackson Save-A-Lot, AAA Printing/Keith Woolum, and Jackson County Economic Development.
- 35 years: Milton Banking Company, Stockmeister Enterprises, and ERA Martin and Associates.
- 40 years: Osborne Equipment.
- 45 years: Ron Evans Enterprises.
- 75 years: Callahan Insurance.
- 85 years: Jackson Business and Professional Women.
- 105 years: Jackson City Schools.
Susan Daniels, who’s a member of the Chamber Board of Directors awarded beautification awards to The Local, Kelly Wiley, and Walmart.
Opening in 2016, The Local, located on Pearl Street in Jackson in the Masonic Temple building, is a combination salon, spa and art gallery owned by Karisa DeLay. The spa and salon is operated by DeLay, who has been in the salon business in Jackson for the past 18 years.
Kelly Wiley, a local realtor for the past 13 years and broker for Kelly Wiley Realty, is in the process of developing multiple apartments in the downtown area. She currently owns three buildings downtown on Broadway Street just west of Main Street. She has developed apartments in two of them and is working on the third. One of those buildings will house “The Sweetery,” which is expected to open soon.
Late this summer, Walmart completed a renovation of its Jackson store on Main Street, totaling more than $4 million.
The next award of the evening was the Meritorious Service Award, which was given to Johnny Ellenberger. After his service to his country, Ellenberger wanted to provide a service to his community and family as well. And he did just that, for more than 50 years. For his work, then ownership, then management of the Mid-City Cleaning Center for a half-century, Ellenberger received this award.
“For me, it was never about the laundromat business itself as much as it was always about the customers,” he recalled. “My dad instilled in me a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility, but also the fact the customers were always the priority.”
And Ellenberger lived true to that creed.
Two local groups, Jackson Area Kiwanis Club and Jeepin For Joy; received this year’s Community Pride Award.
Assisting the community in countless ways with a focus on youth, from watering flowers downtown in the summer to assisting with the Santa House in the winter, the Jackson Area Kiwanis Club is there for the Jackson area 12 months a year.
The local club was formed in 2004 and now has 25 members.
“The dedication of our members is the key to our success,” commented Kiwanis President Judy Wiggins. “We are very proud to be able to assist the community in all the ways that we do.”
Among the community projects they are involved in are assisting the Victory Grange in making Apple Butter for the Apple Festival, One Day Community Service Project, Christmas Tree Festival for the American Cancer Society, treat bags for Santa and assistance at the Santa House, Back To School Clothing, Library Craft Night and summer reading program, July 3rd Family Fun Day at Manpower Park, local school reading program, Apple Festival 5K Run, filling of 20,000 Easter Eggs and donations to sports program, the food pantry and Shop With A Cop along with other programs.
And that doesn’t include possibly their most visible project. Each summer, the club accepts donations, and then cares for, day after day after day, seven days a week, the flowers on the period lighting in downtown Jackson which beautifies and brings to life the downtown area.
For Jeepin For Joy, its coordinator, Jason Gillum, helping to provide toys for kids at Christmas has been a labor of love for more years than he can count.
In 2016, Gillum wanted to expand his program and include more people, including JAFE, which now is the sponsor for the Jeepin For Joy rides. The first ride was in August three years ago, when 52 Jeeps showed up to go on a 100-mile journey that included journeys to Buckeye Furnace and the Moonville Tunnel in Vinton County.
“We did it as a fundraiser to buy Christmas gifts,” said Gillum, who still serves as the coordinator. “Those taking part can either bring toys or buy a shirt with the proceeds going to purchase more toys.”
This year, a feature ride was the Jeepin For Joy Mud Run. They also were able this year to buy a trailer to store the toys and had a booth at the Jeep Fest in Chillicothe.
Gillum is the owner of multiple entities, including the Gillum Insurance Agency, Gillum Rentals, Gillum Farms aka Honky Tonk Stables, and is the event coordinator for the Stockroom 601 and the new Park’s Edge Event Center.
The next to last award given was the “Entrepreneur Of The Year” Award, which was given to Whit’s Frozen Custard.
In September 2016, owners Jonda and Brad Dunn, with Jonda as the manager, opened Whit’s Frozen Custard in the mall on Huron Street.
But that wasn’t big enough, and in November 2018 because of growing business demand, Whit’s moved one door down to a 50 percent larger facility in the same location.
“We frequently stopped at the Whit’s Frozen Custard in Waverly, and I said to Brad I would like to have one of these one days,” said Jonda. “It took us two years to decide to move forward, but we finally opened.”
Jonda, though, already had vast experience in producing delicious food items, operating Jonda’s Sweet Treats since 2007, beginning by simply baking sugar cookies. She then went into the catering business, and will once again cater the chamber’s Appreciation Banquet this year.
The final award given was the “Business Of The Year” Award, which was given to Iron City Pipe and Supply.
Iron City Pipe And Supply had a decision to make this year, whether they were moving on out, or moving on up to a newer, larger location. And more importantly, whether to stay home.
Fortunately for Jackson, they chose larger, newer and home, and for that reason they were honored as the Jackson Area Chamber Of Commerce Business Of The Year.
“Every time a business chooses to stay rather than go, especially one such as this that is so valuable to industry, it sends a very positive message to those looking to come here as well,” said Heath. “It is great that this successful business and all of its employees get to stay home.”
Until this year, Iron City Pipe And Supply had been located on Broadway Street in Jackson since its inception. When Bellisio Foods announced its expansion and needed more land, and Iron City Pipe And Supply felt it needed more space, Bellisio Foods purchased Iron City’s location on Broadway Street and the search for a new home was on.
And after assistance from many, they found their building, a building that was first a pants factory in the 1950s, later a plastics manufacturer and then a box manufacturer, but now the new home of Iron City Pipe And Supply on Bennett Avenue.
“This location allows us to be on the highway in minutes,” he noted, “and being in a rural area, it is advantageous to our customers.”
Iron City Pipe And Supply is primarily an industrial based supplier, supplying pipe, valves and fittings to major industries and those contractors who work for those industries, such as power plants, the natural gas industry, chemical plants and large production facilities.
But that is really only one-half of their business, as they also have safety supplies available, such as hard hats, safety vests, tools, anything related to construction work. They also sell over-the-counter work tools to the general public that are used on work sites.
Health concluded by saying that it was such a “wonderful” event this year.