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Chamber honors 3 companies as the years best in Hall
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Warehouse manager Charles Higbee drives a forklift Wednesday at Hollis Transport Agency in Flowery Branch. Hollis Transport Agency was named the small industry of the year at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Industry Appreciation Luncheon. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Three Hall County industries were recognized today as industries of the year at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Industry Appreciation Luncheon and Program.

  • Small industry of the year (0-150 employees): Hollis Transport Agency Inc., 4515 Cantrell Road, Flowery Branch
  • Medium industry of the year (151-500 employees): Cargill, 935 Interstate Ridge, Gainesville
  • Large industry of the year (more than 500 employees): Wrigley, 4500 Atlanta Highway, Flowery Branch

Three Hall County companies were recognized Wednesday as top industries of the year at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Industry Appreciation Luncheon.

Business and community leaders filled the Chattahoochee Country Club for the event, sponsored by Lanier Technical College in Oakwood.

Hollis Transport and Distribution, 4515 Cantrell Road, Flowery Branch, was chosen small industry of the year; Cargill, 935 Interstate Ridge, Gainesville, as medium industry of the year; and Wrigley Manufacturing, 4500 Atlanta Highway, Flowery Branch, as large industry of the year.

They were chosen from among 10 nominations total for the three categories, said Shelley Davis, the chamber’s vice president for existing industry, adding that Hall County has about 300 industries.

Small industries are regarded as having up to 150 employees; medium industries, 151-500 employees; and large industries, more than 500 employees.

“Though Gainesville-Hall County’s existing industries don’t make front-page headlines every day, the investments that these companies provide, the jobs they create and their community involvement is invaluable,” Davis said.

The chamber “appreciates our manufacturers, processors and distributors every day, and we wanted to take this time for an event to allow the entire community to recognize what they mean to us and the impact they have upon our economy.”

Holding an event to recognize the companies “is long overdue,” she said.

Kit Dunlap, president and CEO of the chamber, agreed with that sentiment.

“Sometimes, we take them for granted, and we shouldn’t,” she said. “It’s important to show publicly what industries we do have.”

Wednesday’s event also featured Commissioner Ken Stewart of the Georgia Department of Economic Development as the keynote speaker.

Recognizing area industries “is most appropriate and I’m glad to be just a small part of it,” he said.

Brian Hollis picked up the award for Hollis Transport, which was founded in 1979 and has 20 employees. The company grew in spite of rising fuel and discounted freight prices, adding 150,000 square feet of space in the past two years.

Hollis Transport also provided free space and trucking to the Georgia Mountain Food Bank to feed hungry families, according to the chamber.

Matt Pearson picked up the award for Cargill, which was established in 1966 and recently increased employment to 335 from about 235. The company’s estimated local economic impact, according to the chamber, is $11 million annually.

The company also sponsors Cargill Cares, a civic involvement board that focuses on contributions to educational, health and environmental programs.

Cargill also offers an employee assistance program, tuition reimbursement program and a wellness program for its employees.
Jim Concannon accepted the award for Wrigley, which was established in 1971 with 100 employees and now has 850.

Wrigley, an early Partner in Education, recycles 75 percent of solid waste it generates, and its safety programs have led to a 50 percent reduction in workplace injuries, according to the chamber.

The chamber handed out other awards as well. Elan Drug Technologies was recognized for environmental stewardship; Sherwin Williams’ Atlanta Distribution Service Center, safety; Kubota Manufacturing of America, top employer; and SKF USA, corporate citizenship.

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