Banquet will give small business its day

Apr. 25, 2013 @ 05:03 AM

Although the Lee County Small Business Expo originally scheduled for May 15 is no longer happening, at least not this spring, the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce’s other major May event is moving forward as planned.

The Small Business Banquet, scheduled for May 9, is in its 28th year and will feature food, live music and awards presented to people for their work on the local and state levels.

The local recipients of the Small Business Person and Small Business Advocate of the year haven’t been announced. The banquet’s Lifetime Achievement award, which typically goes to someone known for work on a state, regional or national level, will be presented to longtime WRAL-TV anchor Charlie Gaddy.

“He was the biggest name in news for this area for years,” said Richard Feindel, chairman of the committee that selects the Lifetime Achievement honoree.

Feindel, who is also president and general manager of Sanford’s WWGP and WFJA radio stations, said Gaddy has also been a good advocate for the state. Born in Biscoe, located in Montgomery County near the Moore County line, Gaddy joined WRAL in 1970 at age 39 to host a morning show, later joining the station’s news team as an anchor until his retirement in 1994. He is also well regarded for his work on behalf of those with cerebral palsy; Easter Seals, a group that helps disabled people in North Carolina and Virginia, named its Raleigh children’s center after him.

Bob Joyce, Chamber of Commerce president, said Gaddy was the “Walter Cronkite of North Carolina” and that he’s well deserving of the award. In recent years, Feindel said, the award has been presented to former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt, longtime UNC sports broadcaster Woody Durham, songwriter Maurice Williams, NASCAR legend Richard Petty and country music star Charlie Daniels, who grew up in Gulf, just north of Sanford. The recipients receive $1,000 to donate to a charity of their choice.

Entertainment will be provided by Rip_Chord, an a capella group from Elon University, and there will also be a catered dinner. Tickets to the banquet, held at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center, are $20; dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. following a reception that starts at 5:30 p.m.

Feindel said tickets are available for purchase over the phone or in person at the Chamber of Commerce or the offices of WWGP and WFJA. The Chamber is located at 211 S. Steele St. and can be contacted at (919) 775-7341. The radio offices are located at 2201 Jefferson Davis Highway and can be reached by phone at (919) 775-3525.

“The speeches will be short, the fellowship will be good, and a time to be together with fellow business people is always a good time for our business community,” Joyce said.