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New era dawns for Ahoskie Chamber

AHOSKIE – When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Those wise old words take on a new meaning in today’s tough economic times. And perhaps the time is indeed just right to have a seasoned businessman leading the efforts of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce.

At last week’s chamber banquet, Jerry Castelloe said his learning curve is shortening within his new position.

“I had a lot to learn early on, but I now feel that our chamber is stronger than ever,” said Castelloe, named as the Ahoskie Chamber’s Executive Vice-President in January.

Castelloe, who spent 32 years involved in the supermarket business in Ahoskie, added that the key to the chamber’s success is to keep abreast and informed on local affairs.

“It’s about building and maintaining partnerships,” Castelloe said, addressing nearly 300 individuals gathered at Thursday’s banquet held at the Ahoskie Inn. “I feel we have been able to build strong partnerships with, first and foremost, our local merchants and then with the Town of Ahoskie, Hertford County government and the Murfreesboro Chamber.”

Castelloe continued, “Thank-you for expressing your confidence in me. I’m just following the words of (Ahoskie businessman) Stan Dixon who urged me to plan well, work hard and have fun.”

In his remarks, Ahoskie Chamber President Dan Joyner praised Castelloe for his energy and his eagerness to see the chamber reach new heights.

“Jerry is well known and highly regarded in our area,” Joyner said. “In his brief time as our Executive Vice-President, Jerry has demonstrated a remarkable ability to unify and bring people into the chamber who have not previously been associated with chamber activities. Together with him, we stand ready to revitalize our efforts to make Ahoskie a better place to live for all our citizens.”

Joyner called the Ahoskie organization one of the most active and effective chambers in eastern North Carolina.

“This success is due in large part to the time and support from our members and friends in this community,” Joyner noted. “Thank you for the many hours and dollars you have contributed to our chamber.”

However, as Joyner pointed out, the work is not finished.

“We must continue to work together and keep ourselves informed,” he concluded. “We must actively strive to seek cooperation and understanding between all the civic and social organizations in our community as well as city and county government. Your continued commitment and involvement in the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce will insure a brighter future for all of us.”

At last week’s banquet, longtime Ahoskie businessman Howard Brown was named as the Chamber Member of the Year. Brown, a chamber member since 1962, and his restaurant, O’Connor’s (located at 1501 East Memorial Drive) are longtime hosts to the chamber’s annual barbecue and fried chicken fundraiser.

Also recognized were two past Chamber presidents, Edgar “Buzzy” Swain and Marcus Simmons, along with the two immediate past presidents of the Women’s Division, Pat Barr and Rosie Jernigan.

Accolades were given to Pepsi and Duck-Thru for sponsoring the social hour. The unique table decorations – small tires and racing flags (in tribute to the evening’s guest speaker, Chris Powell of Las Vegas Motor Speedway) – were made possible by Eddie Harrell’s Auto & Sports, Wal-Mart and the Women’s Division of the Ahoskie Chamber.