LARNED — Alex Filbert, director of the Larned Area Chamber of Commerce, welcomed Chamber members and their guests to the annual banquet and awards ceremony Thursday night, October 24, at the Larned Knights of Columbus Hall. Members and Chamber staff were encouraged to dress in costume, a nod to the upcoming Halloween holiday. Filbert, dressed in black and white and wearing a halo, used the term “Holy Cow” throughout the evening as she reported a successful year for the Chamber.
Highlights included approval of the city’s second E-Community loan for Cattlemen’s Choice Corrals, which opened shop in the old Straub building recently, she said.
“That’s great news that we’ve been able to help a local business get started in our community,” she added.
Computer skills classes have been offered for member businesses, and entrepreneurial education offered to adults and students alike, interested in learning what it takes to operate a successful business. February 2019 was the first year that Larned hosted The Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge and 38 students in grades 7-12 participated around the region. Of those, 15 were from Larned Middle School and 19 were from Pawnee Heights.
The Chamber also worked to promote local businesses via social media. Friday evenings at 5 p.m., the Larned Chamber of Commerce Facebook page features a short video interview called Fun Fact Friday, and spotlights a local business, Filbert said.
A local college intern assisted the Chamber in producing 10 videos in its “Explore Larned” series, capturing different ways to get out and get involved in the community, highlighting different industries, businesses and organizations.
Filbert also provided a rundown of several retail promotions and upcoming annual events.
“We’ve had a lot of fun at coffee hours and after hours,” Filbert said. “Thank you for everything that you do to make what we do possible to give back to our community.”
Awards were presented for Best of the Year in the following categories: Large Business (Bert & Wetta Sales); Small Business (B&B Quality Meats); Non-Profit Organization (Larned Assembly of God Youth Group); Volunteer (Jenny Manry); Emerging Leader (Dr. Kristy Mull) and Empowering Leader (Larry Carr).
“Our 2019 Empowering Leader of the Year is known as the local legend who gave to their community, their friends and their family every single day,” Filbert said. “This person contributed to the wellbeing of our community in countless ways, such as serving in numerous organizations and various leadership roles. This person is also credited towards the birth and the strength of one of our local long standing businesses and a true community role model.”
Marlene Carr, widow of Larry Carr, accepted the award. Carr passed away in September. She was accompanied by her grandson.
“I know Larry would be very honored,” she said. “He always tried to support his community, and I just want to say thank you.”
The evening concluded with a costume contest and awards bestowed on members who attended in costume. The first prize was awarded to a group who arrived as members of The Addams Family.