Eastern Shore Chamber celebrates growth, progress in last year


POINT CLEAR – Even during the pandemic, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce and the community’s economy continued to grow, members said Thursday, Jan. 3.

The chamber’s 98th annual meeting at the Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa in Point Clear. Outgoing Chairman Scott Tripoli said the chamber has continued to grow in the last year. He praised the work done by Chamber CEO Casey Williams and her staff for this work in 2021.

A year ago, the meeting was conducted over the internet due to COVID-19 precautions.

“It’s great to be back together again and 2021 was just such a great year for the chamber,” Tripoli said. “We had around 1,000 members when we began the year and we ended with around 1,120 members. So, hats off to Casey and her team for the growth in membership.”

Tripoli, general manager of the Grand Hotel, said he understands the difficulties faced by local businesses during the pandemic.

“It’s been great getting back together again,” he said. “I say that humbly in the hotel industry because it’s been such a challenge for the service industry with COVID, as it is for all of us, but it’s been nice to see guests coming back the last year, year and a half and the hotel’s just going great. We’re so fortunate.”

During the meeting, Tripoli turned over the position of chairman to Brad Pitt, director of Riviera Utilities. Pitt told members that the area has faced many challenges in recent years and continued to grow.

“I am really excited about the things are coming for this year,” Pitt said. “You guys know the past two years have just been arduous and COVID presents challenges for us as we start this new year. But, you know what, we live in Baldwin County and the past few years have proven that the past few years have proven that we know a thing or two about resiliency. We can come back and we can survive and we can make it.”

“In a time of what was great uncertainty, our chamber led by example and as a result of that our local economy didn’t just persevere, it actually grew,” he added.

Pitt said local businesses continue to be vital to a strong community and the chamber and its staff and members have helped continue that strength.

“Local businesses are the heart and soul of Baldwin County,” he said. “They employ our family members. They increase our economic diversity. They support the many activities that make our area such as great place to live.”

During the meeting, the chamber presented to members who were recognized for their particular contributions.

“As we look back at 2021 and we recognize some of our friends and some of the things that they’ve done, giving back to our community during the year,” Pitt said “I believe that giving back to the community where we live is so vitally important because it not only supports the work of the people that have come before us, but it ensures the future for the generations that will come after us. We’re teaching them.”

The Ambassador of the Year Award went to Wynona Salter of Wynona’s Insurance Agency.

The Young Professional of the Year Award was presented to Conner Weiman of Intimidator Tug and Barge.

The Service Award was presented to Jenny Campbell of Stewart Lodges.

The Community Leader of the Year Award went to Bobby Purvis of Daphne Utilities.

The Non-Profit of the Year Award was presented to The Exceptional Foundation.

The Small Business of the Year Award went to Hughes Funeral Home.

Pitt said he looked forward to what the chamber and its members would accomplish in 2022.

“I love where we live,” he said. “It’s a great, great place to live. The Eastern Shore and all of Baldwin County is truly a unique place to live work and play. You can do it all here. So, I am excited to see what this next year brings.”

Eastern Shore Chamber, meeting