“I think that this group of people that we’re celebrating tonight — they worked hard in what they did,” said Chris Hogan, who accepted the award on behalf of his family’s farm, Lake Hogan Farm in Chapel Hill.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce — which includes 1,250 local businesses — created the Business Hall of Fame in 2013 to celebrate its 50th anniversary and honor contributors to the local economy and community.
“They were very dedicated to this community and what it stands for — and they had fun doing it. I think that’s what is most important,” Hogan said.
The honorees included Viking Travel, Sutton’s Drug Store, Lake Hogan Farm, Orange Federal Savings and Loan, Seagroves Insurance Agency, Midway Barber Shop and Eva’s Beauty Shop.
Hosted at the Carolina Inn, the event was brimming with laughter and fellowship as those in attendance encouraged each inductee with a standing ovation, emphasizing the communal spirit of unity and support.
The first honoree was Eva Barnett, who owns and operates Eva’s Beauty Shop.
“Miss Eva is an entrepreneur, an astute businesswoman and a woman of God,” said Barbara Foushee from Carrboro Human Services Commission. “Miss Eva offers keen insights and a helping hand to community members,” she said.
Barnett still operates her shop after over 40 years, but only serves her oldest customers and closest friends.
“If I had any (hair), I’d come see you about it,” said Aaron Nelson, CEO and president of the Chamber of Commerce.
Though united in their dedication to quality service, the honorees were individually highlighted for their remarkable gifts to Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
“The memories and stories here are priceless,” said Marc Pons, who introduced John Woodard of Sutton’s Drug Store, one of the inductees.
Pons said Woodard illustrated the secret to building a sustainable business — by being present, which shows people how much they are appreciated.
“It’s so funny, when I meet new people I tell them I own a pharmacy, and they say ‘Oh it’s not Sutton’s is it?’” Woodard said.
Sutton’s Drug Store operated as a pharmacy until 2014 and now serves as only a restaurant and shop.
“They say ‘Gosh I love your cheeseburgers!’ and I say ‘Well, you know, we’ve got some really good drugs too,” he said.
Jean Holcomb — founder of the Chapel Hill-based Viking Travel agency — was introduced as a pioneer for professional women.
“We started at a time when a number of people said to me ‘You’ll never make it, you can’t succeed because you’re a woman,’” Holcomb said.
“But I’m one of those women that would say ‘I’ll show you.’”