By Jeff Fox
Five Independence business leaders are being honored tonight for their contributions to the community.
The Independence Chamber of Commerce has restructured its annual gala, formerly held in January. It’s moving to two ceremonies, one tonight to present three honors and then a breakfast in January to install board members for 2014.
“It’s about the winners. We’re really celebrating what they’ve done for this community,” said Franklin “Kim” Kimbrough, president and CEO of the chamber. The Business Leadership Awards Dinner is at 6 p.m. at the Arrowhead Stadium North Club.
The three awards:
• Susan and Tom Waters, owners of Corporate Copy Print, are the winners of the Businessperson of the Year award.
“It means a lot. It means we’ve got some respect in the community,” said Tom Waters, but he added, “I kind of feel like there’s about a thousand people who should be in line in front of us.”
They started the business 20 years ago and moved to the Square 10 years ago. It’s an independent business, and Waters said if he was doing it over he would look to buy, rather than start from scratch. Nonetheless, he said, “It’s really interesting to see and hear people rooting for you.”
• Cindy Foster and Witt Ross, owners of Vivilore, are the chamber’s 2013 “Rising Star.” They opened the restaurant in the old Sermon-Anderson building on Winner Road in Englewood a little more than a year ago.
• Galen Boyer is being recognized with the chamber’s Legacy Award. Galen Boyer, former president and co-owner of Galen Boyer Pontiac, GMC, Buick and Galen Boyer Motors on Noland Road, was long active in chamber events.
“It is an honor,” he said.
His father started the dealership on Maple Avenue on the Square in 1953 and 10 years later moved to Noland Road. He and his brother, David, took over the business in 1970s, and he retired in 2005.
Boyer, who has named the chamber’s distinguished board member of the year in 1999, says he looks back on his years with the chamber, the 1990s in particular, with a degree of satisfaction from progress made.
“It’s rewarding and fulfilling to book on what we accomplished,” he said.