Barrington chamber celebrates 50th anniversary at gala
Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce had plenty to celebrate at its annual dinner and scholarship fundraiser Thursday night.
About 250 chamber members and their guests hobnobbed at the "Spirt of Excellence" gala at Avante Banquets and Conference Center in Fox River Grove. Barrington High School's string quartet and the Barrington Music Institute Repertoire Group provided some of the entertainment.
Making the evening particularly special was that it recognized the Barrington chamber's 50th anniversary. Chamber President/COE Suzanne Corr refected on some of the organization's accomplishments as patrons enjoyed cocktail hour before a dinner buffet that included shrimp pasta, smoked-brisket sliders and a butternut squash soup shooter.
Corr said the membership has been consistent and loyal.
"I think that speaks well to the fact that we are making an impact and a difference in the community," Corr said as she took a break in her duties. "We are serving the business community. We are helping the local economy. We are helping individual business owners achieve their goals. So people believe in the product and the value of the chamber."
Chamber board Chairman Dennis Kelly of FGMK Insurance said its success has stemmed being involved with not only businesses, but also nonprofit groups and charitable organizations. The Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce also hosts an economic summit in cooperation with the villages it serves and handles major events such as the Uncork Barrington wine tasting.
"There's something for everybody," Kelly said.
Since its inception in 1969, the Barrington chamber developed into what its leaders say has become one of the most active and largest business groups in the region.
Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce serves 11 communities and about 900 members. The towns are Barrington, Barrington Hills, Deer Park, Inverness, Kildeer, Lake Barrington, Long Grove, North Barrington, Port Barrington, South Barrington and Tower Lakes.
Thursday's festivities raised money through live and silent auctions for chamber grants and programs, as well as the Lauren Brown Memorial Scholarship fund named after the organization's former head of communications, who was 29 when she died from ovarian cancer in 2012.
Annual business awards were part of the evening. The winners included Barrington Campus Life Center as Community Partner of the Year, Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital's Ilona House as Volunteer of the Year and the 101 West Liberty luxury apartments in Barrington as New Business of the Year.