Nearly 160 area business professionals and area leaders attended the Cary Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner celebration in January. The event toasted the passion of our volunteers and chamber leaders and highlighted the chamber’s accomplishments for 2012.
During 2012, traffic on the chamber website at www.carygrovechamber.com surpassed 1 million hits, indicating that thousands in the community turn to the chamber for info on local business, events and more – a great benefit to our membership. Our membership continued at over 500 members, steady since 2009. The Cary Farmers Market grew to 23 vendors and continued as a major community asset for residents, receiving rave reviews and attracting shoppers from Barrington, Crystal Lake, Algonquin/LITH and other areas into our community.
In addition, our second Fox River Grove Cruise Night was a season finale success to the summer car shows. And Cary Cruise Night continued to be a local favorite.
During 2012 we also started a highly successful lunchtime networking opportunity – the Noon Shake Up – supporting local restaurants and attracting 25 to 50 people to network and mingle over lunch. We also gave more back to the community than ever before: $2,000 in scholarships to local students, $2,100 to the food pantry and hundreds more to other local causes.
The chamber also recognized those members who stood out in 2012, showing an outstanding level of commitment to both local business and the community. Our 2012 chamber award winners were Chamber Member of the Year, Cary Bank & Trust; Board Member of the Year, John Opatrny, Stone Hill Shopping Center; Event Sponsor of the Year, Gypsy Glen K-9 Kastle Pet Resort; Volunteer of the Year, John Pletz, ServiceMaster by Pletz; Leadership Award, Chuck Barrett, Frisch & Barrett Insurance Agency; Distinguished Service Award, Joe Genarella, Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning; and New Members of the Year, Sherwin Williams – FRG and Marlene McGinnis of Watkins. Special Recognition Certificates were awarded to the villages of Cary and Fox River Grove and Algonquin Township for their partnership with the chamber and the community.
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The 2013 Cary Grove Community Showcase and Indoor Farmers Market will be Feb. 23 at Cary-Grove High School, 2208 Three Oaks Road, Cary. Nearly 100 booths showcasing local business, community and government will be in attendance. The Farmers Market will feature farm fresh produce, meats, cheeses, jams, specialty foods, baked goods, breads, dips and spices, unique accessories and much more.
We will be raffling a trip to Cancun from Cary Travel Express and Apple Vacations; some restrictions apply and taxes and fees are additional. Raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5, but coupons for free raffle tickets will appear in ads and flyers throughout the community.
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Register for the Fox River Grove Business Roundtable on Feb. 21 at the Fox River Grove Village Hall, 305 Illinois St. Guest speaker Village President Bob Nunamaker will give a “State of the Community" address. The cost is $15. To register, visit www.carygrovechamber.com or call our office at 847-639-2800.
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Our next Noon Shake Up event will be at noon Feb. 27 at da Baffone Cucina Italiana, 111 N. Main St., Crystal Lake. Join us for lunch and networking with new prospects. The cost is $20 and includes a delicious family-style meal, tax and tip.
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Our “Meet Your Leaders” Legislative Breakfast will be at 8 a.m. March 4 at Foxford Hills Gold Club, 6800 S. Rawson Bridge Road, Cary. Guest speakers will be state Sen. Dan Duffy, state Rep. David McSweeney and McHenry County Board leaders. The fee is $20 and includes a buffet breakfast.
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Applications are being accepted for the 2013 Summer Season of the Cary Farmers Market. The event attracts about 1,500 residents each Sunday, June through September. For an application form, visit www.carygrovechamber.com.
• Suzanne Corr is the executive director of the Cary Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.