The Opelika Chamber of Commerce held its 80th Annual Meeting Luncheon last Friday.

The event was held at the Opelika High School indoor practice facility at 11:30 a.m. The presenting sponsor of the event was H & S Commercial & Industrial Supplies & Services.

The Opelika Chamber is proud to have hosted such a successful meeting with more than 400 people in attendance.

The Auburn University Hotel & Dixon Conference Center provided the meal while attendees observed a presentation on the highlights of the chamber’s 80th year in service.

The Opelika Chamber achieved a five-start accreditation  this year for the first time in its history.

This level of accreditation puts the Opelika Chamber in the top 3% of all chambers of commerce across the country. Only 128 other chambers have achieved the five-star accreditation status.

Many awards were  presented to deserving businesses and members of the Opelika community. The award winners are as follows:

• Spirit of Opelika, sponsored by the Opelika Observer –  Kate Larkin

Larken stated in a Facebook post that she was completely surprised to win this award.

“I have never been so surprised in my whole life! Seriously … never. Ever. I am still in shock,” Larkin wrote.

Chamber President Ai Rauch said “This was my favorite moment from Friday. The only question I asked was ‘Why did it take so long for her to win this?’ Kate, you are a joy and Opelika is lucky to have you.”

“I know [and or] knew all the previous year’s recipients and I am so very humbled and honored for my name to even be mentioned among them,” Larkin said.

• Distinguished Service  – City Council President Eddie Smith

• Visionary Award – State Representative Jeremy Gray

• Legendary Award – Samford & Denson

• Ambassador of the Year – Billy Plummer S & S Termite Control

• Community Partner – Opelika City Schools

• Service Champion – Tori Mejia, Spa Eleve

• Young Professional of the Year – Melissa Munford

• Small Business of the Year – Angel’s Antiques & Flea Mall

• Large Business of the Year – Baxter International

• Diamond Award – East Alabama Health

• Chairman’s Award – Chuck Beams

In addition a few community partners presented awards:

• Keep Opelika Beautiful – Mary Barnes Newman

• Opelika Main Street – Whistle Stop Bottle & Brew

• Auburn Opelika Tourism – Opelika Auburn Pickleball Club.

About the Opelika Chamber of Commerce:

Founded in 1941, the Opelika Chamber has been serving the Opelika business community for almost 80 years. Under the leadership of Ali Rauch, the president and CEO, a staff of four work diligently to be the recognized leader and advocate of the business community, acting as a catalyst for a thriving economic and entrepreneurial environment, collaborative community initiatives and a better quality of life for its business owners and citizens alike. We’re building economic and member vitality through partnerships, programming, education and community involvement.


Turn to A6 for photos from the event.