The dining tables were covered with white linens, centerpieces and lighted votives that provided a special ambiance inside the dining room at Kirkbrae Country Club. Food stations surrounded the space, as servers ambled about offering hors d’oeuvres.
The scene was set for the North Central Chamber of Commerce’s 30th Anniversary Celebration Wine Tasting/Networking Event.
NCCC officials even brought in Steven and Sheri O’Connor, the owners of Nickle Creek Vineyard in Foster, who treated attendees to a wine tasting.
“What a great event,” said John Eramian, who owns Eramian Signs at 140 Shun Pike in Johnston.
Gwen Perry of Eramian Signs agreed, complimenting the Chamber on their selection of food, drink and music provided by DJ and singer Janine D’Angelo. D’Angelo made the rounds, even passing over the microphone to give others a chance to sing along.
It was a night to celebrate, but also a night to reflect on the past 30 years and how the Chamber has grown.
The Chamber originated in 1982 when a small group of business people formed the North Providence Chamber of Commerce. The office was on Smith Street.
“And that was back when gas was approximately 91 cents a gallon and a movie ticket was just $2.50,” said Deborah Ramos, the NCCC president who has been with the Chamber six years. “Today, we have a membership of approximately 225 members – new and old.”
Some of those members, Ramos emphasized during her keynote address, “have been with us since the Chamber’s inception back in the early 1980s.”
Some of those individuals and businesses were recognized last week for their longstanding commitment to the business community in northern Rhode Island.
Louis Mansolillo, who has served as chairman of the NCCC’s annual Apple Fest for the past 14 years, was given an award for “appreciation and gratitude and his dedication to the chamber,” Ramos explained.
Richard Iannitelli was honored with an Appreciation Award for being the longest serving member of the Board of Directors. He owns Iannitelli Agency, Inc of Smithfield.
Ramos called Iannitelli the “go-to person for anything.”
Appreciation Awards were also presented to longtime members in good standing, such as Optical Care, Ltd. of North Providence, Robbins Funeral Home of North Providence and Tri-Town Community Action Agency of Johnston.
Ramos paid tribute to Norma Dilibero of Optical Care, Jeff Green of Robbins Funeral Home and Joseph DeSantis of Tri-Town Community Action.
Citizens Bank, which Ramos noted has been the premier sponsor of the Apple Fest, was presented with a special Appreciation and Gratitude Award.
“There are also many people in this room that have been directly involved in the Chamber. There are too many to mention and dare I not forget, but you know who you are,” Ramos said. “Thank you, and thank you to everyone that believes the North Central Chamber of Commerce helps you – the small business owner.”
As Ramos neared the end of her speech, Kirkbrae servers passed around glasses of champagne for an anniversary toast.
“Let’s have a round of applause as we celebrate our 30th anniversary,” Ramos said. “Everyone please join me, the staff and Board of Directors and, most importantly, each and every one of you; raise your glass and celebrate the North Central Chamber of Commerce.”