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Effingham Chamber to Honor Small Business of the Year
Effingham Chamber of Commerce

Special to the Herald

Effingham County -- The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce announced the recipients of its 2023 Small Business of the Year, Community Impact, and Beacon Awards. The awards will be presented at the Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Awards Reception on June 29, beginning at 6 p.m. at St. Boniface Church Hall, 1952 Highway 21 South, Springfield. Tickets are $60 per person and include admission, hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine and soft drinks.

Wiley's Home Center, owned by Wiley and Detra Thomas, was chosen by a vote of the chamber’s board of directors as the 2023 Small Business of the Year. Wiley’s Home Center was nominated for the award by Donna Horton because “Wiley's is a family-owned business that has served Effingham County and beyond for over 35 years. The backbone of this business has been honesty, integrity and over and above customer service. Wiley's truly does make your house a home.”

Toni Hardigree of Platinum Properties was selected as the 2023 recipient of the Chamber's first Community Spotlight Impact Award. Hardigree was nominated for encouraging "a healthy work-life balance with her staff, gives back to the community through philanthropic involvement, always promotes shopping local, and is very involved in the Chamber, Rotary, and real estate continuing education to better serve her clients."

The chamber’s Ambassadors selected Jeannie Lane, branch manager for Ameris Bank in Rincon, for the chamber’s Beacon Award. The Beacon Award is given to the chamber Ambassador that has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Lane, a graduate of the Leadership Effingham Class of 2022, is a faithful presence at chamber events, often helping staff to make events go smoothly. She has also offered use of Ameris Bank’s meeting room for chamber board and committee meetings.

The chamber's most prestigious award, the John Adam Treutlen Award, remains a closely guarded secret until the presentation at the Annual Awards Reception. The award is named in honor of Georgia's first (post-British) governor, who arrived in Colonial America as an indentured servant and rose to become a wealthy merchant and landowner. The first Treutlen Award was presented in 1986.

The chamber's annual meeting is a celebration of the accomplishments of the previous year. The chamber's new Board of Directors and officers are also installed at the event.

The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven organization focused on business advocacy and sustainable economic growth in our region. For more information, call (912) 754-3301, e-mail, or visit