Women honored at Chamber annual meeting

By Ruthann Carr

Carolyn Herbert Herbert’s Wine Jelly:  Chamber Business of the Year award. She is flanked by Jim Efstathiou and Garcia.

More than 100 of Fluvanna’s business owners celebrated four women honored for their professional acumen and good deeds Thursday (Oct. 14).

Bertha Armstrong, President’s Award winner, and Garcia.

At its annual meeting and silent auction, the Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce presented awards to the following:

  • Carolyn Herbert: Business of the Year, “Herbert’s Wine Jelly,”
  • Erika Mitchell: Emerging Business of the Year, “Sweet Art Emporium,”
  • Jan Tatangelo: Volunteer Service Award winner
  • Bertha Armstrong: President’s Award winner, Fluvanna’s Monticello Area Community Action Agency

Herbert started her business six years ago to help people with mental health issues who’ve been incarcerated earn an income. Besides making and selling wine jelly, many of the employees come up with their own creations, which Herbert packages and sells. You can buy the products online and in local stores.

Mitchell opened Sweet Art Emporium in Palmyra’s Village Station in February 2019 and provides a place for more than 60 local artists to sell their wares. Like many businesses, Mitchell had to become more flexible and develop new strategies to sell when the pandemic hit.

Emerging Business: Sweet Art Emporium. Erika Mitchell in middle with Willow
Harrison and outgoing Chamber
President Rudy Garcia.

Tatangelo moved to Fluvanna just a couple years ago and didn’t hesitate making a splash in the business community. An ID/Legal Shield representative, Tatangelo has been a tireless advocate for the Chamber and founded Fluvanna Women in Business which boasts more than 40 members. Many Women in Business members decorated the tables at the annual meeting with centerpieces and favors highlighting their own business.

Armstrong is the director of Fluvanna’s MACAA center in Carysbrook. Rudy Garcia and the Chamber honored Armstrong because during the pandemic Fluvanna’s MACAA met the urgent and increased need to provide food for our hungry families. Before the pandemic, the center fed 146 families a month. That went up to 146 families a week. Several area businesses and non-profits stepped up to help MACAA get and distribute food to feed county residents.

The Fluvanna Chamber’s annual meeting and auction is the county’s biggest business event of the year.

Samuel Anderson, CEO of Direct Learning Solutions, was the keynote speaker. Anderson talked about obstacles he overcame to become a serial entrepreneur.  Besides Direct Learning Solutions, Anderson founded Synapse and Enso Media Firm.

He encouraged everyone to work hard, be specific in what they want, value themselves and to care more about what they think of themselves than what others think of them.

Jan Tatangelo, Volunteer Award winner, and Garcia.

Hardware Hills Vineyard owners Andrea and Rob Nickels were seen in the crowd. The Northern Virginia couple bought the former Thistle Gate Winery in July. Andrea Nickels said they were so busy harvesting grapes and making wine they hadn’t met many people in Fluvanna. The Chamber annual meeting was the perfect place to remedy that.

Outgoing Chamber President Rudy Garcia said everyone in the room should be proud of making it through the past two years still in business. A few present, Amy Beyers of Fluvanna Health Clinic and JoAnne Watkins, Small Town Butterfly Boutique, even opened their business in the middle of the pandemic.

The Chamber welcomed three new Board members: Lori Click, RE/MAX Realty; Sarah Sweet, owner of the Scrappy Elephant in the Village of Palmyra and Johnny Williamson, insurance agent with Gary Albert State Farm in the Food Lion Plaza on Turkeysag.

The new Chamber Executive Committee was also announced: President Darryl Gibson, Vice President Bonnie Mackin, Treasurer Rudy Garcia and Secretary Sarah Monceaux.

Attendees bid on more than 30 items provided by local businesses for the Silent Auction which raised over $2,200 for the Bill Hughes Memorial Scholarship.

Annual meeting sponsors were Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Airport, Monfalcone & Garris PC, Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel, UVA Community Credit Union, Goosehead Insurance The Mackin Agency, Rivanna Woods Financial Tax Services and Jefferson Pharmacy.

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