The Napa Chamber of Commerce (NCC) is giving the local community a little extra time to nominated and vote for your favorite new/old existing business; favorite owner, manager, employee, server or concierge, etc.; or favorite NCC member.

Visit napachamber.com and enter your candidates for the following four categories — Large and Small Business of the Year, Member of the Year and Customer Service Person of the Year.

All nominees will be acknowledged and celebrated, and winners will be announced at the 129th Annual Meeting and Awards luncheon on Friday, Jan. 26 at the Napa Valley Marriott.

The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. and for the third consecutive year will be emceed by Golden State Warriors radio play-by-play announcer Tim Roye.

This event will again sell out very quickly as more than half of the individual tickets and corporate tables for the event were purchased in the first week of release, and the maximum ballroom capacity is only 300 attendees.

Last year more than 1,200 NCC members and local residents participated in the nomination and voting process, up by more than 500 from the previous year and about 1,000 more than in 2015 (my first event as president and CEO).

We’ve made a huge effort to deliver this process back into the rightful hands of the community, and your response has been tremendous.

We’re hoping to keep up — and increase – that collaboration momentum this year.

This Chamber appreciation celebration is our signature annual showcase event and just keeps getting better every year.

One of the highlights of last year’s luncheon was re-introducing a local business that established itself in Napa in 1985.

There were actually tears in the audience as the video played telling the story of Alexis Handelman and her amazing team at ABC Bakery (2016 Small Business of the Year), as the video played and shared a compelling story that many were hearing for the first time.

The crowd reactions upon seeing ABC as the category winner, and immediately following the end of the video, remains one of the most memorable moments of the past three years.

To see the video and recap of the 2017 winners and event, or to purchase event tables/tickets for the upcoming luncheon, please go to napachamber.com (events category for recap).

Santa Rosa is also “open for business”

I’m glad we recently made the family decision to spend a weekend in Santa Rosa to pay respects to our North Bay neighbors.

Our kids got an up-close and personal look of the severe damage in the community most impacted by the fires.

We all immediately realized how fortunate we were, and how completely different our experience could have been with another simple shift of the howling winds.

It’s still very difficult to wrap thoughts around the Atlas Peak fire starting less than a quarter mile from our house, eventually burning 52,000 acres. We were spared but so many others were not.

Our weekend highlight was dinner at Stark’s Steak and Seafood. It’s a great place owned by Mark and Terri Stark and one of six operating in Sonoma County before the fires took away local favorite Willi’s Wine Bar. The spirit of the staff and customers was amazing – as was the food.

Travis Stanley is the president and CEO of the Napa Chamber of Commerce. Call 226-7455 or visit napachamber.com.

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