In an event that has been described as Lowell’s Academy Awards, the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce held its 2021 Gathering of the Membership last Thursday, September 30, 2021.
Normally held at the start of the year, the 2021 event was moved to the fall because of concerns regarding COVID-19. The revamped event skipped the traditional dinner and instead served up an “epic charcuterie.” The crowd was smaller than in than in previous years, but those in attendance enjoyed good food, good company and the opportunity to recognize some of the people and businesses that make Lowell The Next Place to Be.
Here’s a look back on the evening:
The Gathering of the Membership was held at The Fairway of Kent County, which was formerly known as Deer Run. Easy Idle String Band kicked off the entertainment with live music as guests grabbed some food and mingled.
Miss P’s Catering provided the “epic charcuterie,” and epic it was.
A variety of food spanned a long table overlooking a beautiful view outside.
And, of course, there were delicious desserts as well.
By 7:30pm, everyone had hopefully had their fill of food, and it was time to begin the evening’s program.
Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liz Baker kicked things off, and Jodie Seese offered the invocation.
Then, the podium was turned over to Rick Seese to present the night’s honors.
First up was the Lowell Area Historical Museum, which received the Non-Profit Spotlight Award. The museum was lauded for finding innovative ways to continue its programming throughout the pandemic, such as the launch of the popular ABCs of Lowell History series. It was also noted that Executive Director Lisa Plank recently received the 2021 Gordon Olson Award from the Kutsche Office of Local History at Grand Valley State University.
Shown here are member Becky Reagan, museum board president Jim Doyle and Plank (l to r).
Up next were the Brick Awards which are given to businesses making a significant investment in the Lowell community.
Maple Ridge Manor was the first recipient. The company invested $8 million into Lowell with the construction of an assisted living and memory care facility on Foreman Street. Boasting numerous amenities, large rooms and friendly care, Maple Ridge Manor is rapidly filling with new residents.
Enwork was the second Brick Award recipient. In fact, this is the third Brick Award for the office furniture manufacturer.
The company invested $5 million in expanding its facility which is located off Lincoln Lake Avenue, just north of town. In presenting the award, Seese noted Enwork is the largest provider of conference tables in the country and has delivered office furniture to clients that include The White House.
After the Brick Awards, it was time for the Most Promising New Business honor. That went to Meds Cafe.
Seese assured those in attendance that this was no token award, and Meds Cafe had smoked the competition by being the first adult use marijuana store in town.
Canfield Plumbing & Heating was honored with the Business Appreciation Award. It was noted that the company has long been supportive of Lowell non-profits and the business community, and its gift card promotion from last year helped local businesses keep their doors open during the pandemic.
Finally, it was time for the big award: 2021 People of the Year!
This year’s honor is shared by Bob and Amanda Rogers who have a long list of contributions to the community — from organizing Love Week to leading area Girl Scouts. The couple noted they do not volunteer for recognition, and they encouraged all in attendance to also help out however possible.
To learn more about how this couple is making a difference in Lowell, check out our profile of Bob and Amanda Rogers.