Kicking Off Another Year

by Jun 28, 2024Online Exclusives, Southport Oak Island

At its 49th annual meeting, Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce gathers to celebrate its members and welcome new leadership.

On June 26 Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce gathered at the Southport Community Building for its 49th Annual Meeting. This meeting serves as an opportunity for the membership to network, celebrate the success of the fiscal year and refocus for the coming year.

Burney’s Bakery of Southport, Bald Head Coffee & Tea House and Nonnie’s Baking Company provided a sweet breakfast. Keynote speakers from the N.C. Department of Transportation — Deputy Division Engineer Trevor Carroll and Corridor Development Engineer Division 3 Michelle Howes — gave a detailed update about transportation improvements in development and under construction as well as a briefing on unfunded future projects.

The meeting also serves as a platform for the leadership to pass from the current president of the board of directors to the next. Teresa Carroll (Edward Jones) passed the presidential gavel to Brooke Rudd-Gaglie (Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc., REALTORS). Prior to relinquishing the presidency, Carroll reflected on the past year and made several recognitions.

Southport NC Annual Chamber Membership Meeting

“We have refocused our efforts and the members’ resources to create additional member-centric opportunities like the Coastal Health, Fitness & Beauty Showcase and the Fashion with Friends Fashion Show,” Carroll said. “Both events were hugely successful and showcased different segments of our membership. We also packaged our membership levels to streamline the event sponsorship opportunities — giving our members options to increase support and business visibility.”

Carroll stressed the need to grow the membership and challenged the current members to recruit one new member in the next 30 days.

Carroll awarded this year’s President’s Award to Ben Frazier (The State Port Pilot).

Southport Chamber Membership Meeting President Award

“Your dedication extends beyond professional achievements,” Carroll said to Frazier. “You have been a champion of numerous charitable causes, dedicating countless hours to volunteer work and ensuring our chamber thrives through community memberships.”

Carroll continued by thanking Frazier for his “exceptional service and for making our community a better place.“

Caroll announced Felicia Sexton (Independent Associate of LegalShield/IDShield and Carolina Crab Brewing Company) as the 2023/2024 Ann Hollingsworth Ambassador of the Year. Sexton represented the chamber at the 58 functions during the year.

Carroll completed the awards by recognizing fellow retiring board of directors, Lisa Benna (Benna Consulting, LLC), Cindy Capps (Rusty Hooks Dockside Grill & Sunset Deck), Heather King (Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center), Brina Neeley (Coastline Insurance Associates of NC & Beach Body Contouring & Wellness), Pamela Sexton (Cattail Cottage). The Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors of which five directors are elected annually and serve a three-year term.

Southport NC Membership Meeting

Incoming 2024-25 President Brooke Rudd-Gaglie (Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc., REALTORS) thanked Carroll for her service and leadership and addressed the membership.

“One of my fondest memories dates back to when my father, S.R. “Buddy” Rudd Jr., chaired the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament,” she said. “A group of us would run around on the docks, poking fisheyes, jumping from dock to dock. I won’t say who, but one of us missed the dock and landed directly into the marina water. Never could I have imagined that one day I would be sworn in as the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce president. This morning, we heard words like “overpass” “interchanges” and “expansion projects” as Trevor and Michele from NCDOT updated the room. We have grown from an area not even on the map to a sought-after destination. Now, you may be asking yourself why I shared the story about the U.S. Open years ago. As members of the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce, we are guardians of our history and storytellers of our area. Our members embody the essence of a small town, extending warmth and hospitality to those who hear the stories and can’t wait to arrive and experience adventures. I am hopeful all our members realize how important they are and what roles they play in the lives of so many. Businesses who aren’t yet members, come on and join. Join in with stories you have that can be told. Together we can grow in numbers but retain that down-home feel woven through small towns everywhere.”

49th Annual Chamber Membership Southport

Rudd-Gaglie introduced the 2024/2025 Board of Directors. Individuals elected by the membership to fill those retiring positions were Kevin Annas (MOcean Contracting, Inc.), Victoria Bellamy (Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center), Jessica Niedomanski (Coastline Insurance Associates of NC, Inc.), Carysa Overcash (Cape Fear Fitness) and Jeffrey Stites (Southport Magazine). Those continuing their terms on the board include Justin Cutrell (First Citizens Bank), Jackie Del Prete (Dunes Mercantile Gifts & Guitars), Gina DiSabato (Island Treasure Hunt), Hugh Fosbury (iTrip Vacations of Oak Island & Captain Newton’s Inn), Jack Hamilton (Hamilton Realty Group at eXp Realty), Will Mitchell (Corning Federal Credit Union), Bradley Narron (BEMC) and Felicia Sexton (Independent Associate of LegalShield/IDShield and Carolina Crab Brewing Company).

The Annual Meeting sponsors were by Berry, Padgett & Chandler, PLLC; Burney’s Bakery of Southport, City of Southport, Dosher Memorial Hospital; East Coast Moving, LLC; Grey Outdoor, LLC, J.R. Huntley Homes, Lil & John Sweetreat Ice Cream Parlor, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Oak Island Sporting Goods, Osteo Health & Balance, TotalEnergies Renewables USA, LLC – Carolina Long Bay, Tranquil Harbour Restaurant & Bar and Wall Recycling.

If you would like to join the chamber, contact Karen Sphar at (910) 457-6964 or email at