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The business community in Person County is impressive. I was taken aback when I walked into Palace Pointe last Thursday night and saw the crowd in attendance for the annual banquet of the Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce.
There were more than 40 tables spread around throughout the room and, from my vantage point they all looked pretty full. I counted nine people at my table including Bob White and Robert Wrenn, and their wives, from Brooks & White Funeral Home, Beth Davis from the radio station and Mike Chambers and his wife from Footwear Plus.
We enjoyed a wonderful meal before the program started and had several interesting conversations going on all at once. I suspect the same could be said at most every table in the room that night.
Once the program began, there were recognitions and awards handed out. A parade of different people strode to the microphone during the program to present others or to be recognized themselves.
The chamber’s leadership is a diverse group and the membership, too, is made up of a variety of small and large businesses, not mention local units of government.
The fabric of our society is such a complicated thing. I write in this space often about the importance and value of volunteerism. And, often, there are musings on local government. Both those things help make our community stand on its own two feet. But the business community plays an important role in that too. Someone once told me that when you move into a new community, you should seek out and make friends with three people in particular: a lawyer, a mechanic and a plumber. Hopefully, we all have relationships with more people in the business community than those, but I understand the immediacy of the advice I had been given.
Still, one of the things that makes living in a small community so nice is that you have the chance to build relationships with people from so many walks of life. I expect most of us have more than a passing acquaintance with a great many business people in the community.
When I was small, my father ran a grain elevator in the little town near where we lived. I was about Little League age then and he mentioned to me that he had been approached by the local Little League in that town to sponsor a team. He did, but he also said it was amazing the number of requests his little company received to support this cause or that.
Local businesses have always been a source of support for community institutions, whether it be a Little League call team, a school or even a church Brunswick stew. Though the requests can stretch a small business’s budget, they say yes much more than they say no.
Their charitable support helps make our community even stronger.
Thursday night’s banquet was a lot of fun for me. I can’t wait for the next one to roll around.