The Boonville Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting, officer installation and awards presentation Friday at the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Boonville.

Chamber Executive Director Karen Esser and Board President Vickie Zeller emceed the event. Gigi Quinlan McAreavy, Boonslick Community Director of Economic Development, was the guest speaker and updated the attendees on a variety of ongoing projects which have required her attention since she assumed the role of economic developer this past fall.

“All over the county, [the community] has potential for growth,"  McAreavy said. "We have a great community. I’ve adopted a phrase from Helen Keller which is ‘alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’.”

Following a review of 2019 activities, Esser swore in the 2020 Board of Directors who were present and installed Holly Simpson as the 2020 Chamber Board president, replacing Vickie Zeller whose term had expired. Vickie will remain on the Board serving in an ex-officio capacity. Holly and Vickie recognized three 2019 Board members — Josh Snoddy, Georgia Esser, and Chris St. Romaine — who did not seek re-election and had served the Board for a combined total of 18 years. Holly commented on activities planned for Calendar Year 2020 and touched on some events and activities that will debut in the coming year.

The Chamber celebrated local businesses, presenting six awards in the following categories:

National Recognition to the Boonslick Area Award Warm Springs Ranch

New Partner Award Spirit of ’76 Fireworks

Special Recognition Award Snoddy’s Store

President’s Award Karen Esser

Pat Jackson Distinguished Service Award: Friends of the Boonville New Hope Animal Shelter

Business of the Year Maggie’s Bar & Grill

Each recipient took the opportunity to thank the community and acknowledged the contributions of those who have and continue to support them on a daily basis. For the Special Recognition Award recipients – Jim and Chris Snoddy, their families, and store employees – the comments were emotional and especially bittersweet. After 95 years of business and countless Missouri River floods, Snoddy’s Store has closed its doors. “I’d like to thank everybody”, said Jim. “It’s been a good run. I just want to tell everybody that we’re going to miss the friends made over the years. We’ve felt just a lot of love out there”.

The evening concluded with Esser congratulating the award recipients and invited everyone to stay and enjoy the musical entertainment by The Skinny Wallets.

This article has been updated due to factual errors.