ALACHUA – The room was packed to capacity for the Alachua Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet held Thursday evening. The banquet featured award presentations as well as the ever popular silent auction. And before the evening was over, outgoing President Jim Brandenburg passed the gavel to newly-elected President David Pope, and a new Board of Directors was installed.
Brandenburg presented a year in review accompanied by a video highlighting a variety of historical locations, landmarks and businesses throughout the community as they appeared years ago.
Alachua City Manager Traci Cain delivered a state of the city address, outlining achievements over the past year. In spite of the economic downtown, and decreases in revenues, the city is in a strong financial condition Cain said, pointing to the most recent audit of the city’s finances.
Annually, the Alachua Chamber of Commerce names a Business of the Year. Thursday, the Chamber bestowed that award upon the local Walgreens. Accepting the award was David Flinchum, manager of the store located at the intersection of Alachua’s Main Street and U.S. Highway 441.
Presenting the award to Flinchum, City of Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper lauded Flinchum and Walgreens for their strong involvement in the community.
The local Walgreens routinely contributes to various school and community functions, and each Christmas provides at no charge photos of area children taken with Santa at the downtown Hitchcock’s Park.
The prestigious Officer of the Year award went to Jesse Sandusky, a detective and the public information officer at the Alachua Police Department (APD). APD Chief Joel DeCoursey presented the award to Sandusky.
Volunteer of the Year was awarded to outgoing Chamber President Jim Brandenburg, who served as the longtime principal of Alachua Elementary, and retired at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
Brandenburg handed over the gavel to incoming Chamber President David Pope. Pope then conducted an installation of the 2012-13 Board of Directors and Officers. The 2012-2013 Board of Directors are President, David Pope; Vice-President, David Flinchum; Treasurer, Sandy Burgess and Secretary, Bob Page. Board members include Marvin (Rack) Bingham, Jim Brandenburg, Bud Calderwood, Linda Rice Chapman, Julius Davenport, Crystal Hancock, Alan Hitchcock, Amanda Payne, Merrie Shaw, Jerry Smith, Ted Wilson and Gib Coerper, who serves as the city liaison.