Dennis Strickland, who died January 13, 2022, was posthumously awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award and Glennville Citizen of the Year by the Glennville Chamber of Commerce at the civic group's annual banquet on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Accepting the award were Dennis' widow, Sindy Strickland, and the couple's two sons, Jack and Clint Strickland, and the plaque was presented by Chamber Executive Director Shellie Smith. Also attending were other members of Dennis' family and the Strickland's Pharmacy staff.
In her comments on Dennis, Shellie mentioned his contributions as a family man, as a dedicated member and deacon of First Baptist Church of Glennville, as owner/pharmacist and friend to many at Strickland's Pharmacy, and as a public servant as Ward II City of Glennville council member and Glennville Downtown Development Authority member. He donned many hats to help others, always humble and unassuming in helping those with whom he came in contact.
"Dennis helped countless people in his pharmacy, and just in the last year was the first to offer the COVID vaccine as a drive-thru service on the weekends so as to make it easy for local citizens to be vaccinated. Dennis genuinely cared for others and always had time to ask about your family members," said Shellie.
He was also quite active in several civic clubs, serving as an officer, and usually president, including the Glennville Rotary Club, Glennville Lions Club, and Glennville Chamber of Commerce, a selfless individual in all that he accomplished. Dennis was also previously selected by his peers as Tattnall Citizen of the Year and Glennville Citizen of the Year, just over ten years ago. Dennis was well known as an ardent University of Georgia (UGA) Dawg fan, and UGA is where daughter Sydney Anne is now attending college at her father's alma mater and where her brothers, Jack and Clint, will be attending this fall.
Other Citizen of the Year nominees were Brad Anderson and Jay Hales.
Brad Anderson is the owner of two funeral homes in the county, Glennville Funeral Home in Glennville and Low Country Cremation and Burial In Reidsville. The Glennville Funeral Home, 7600 square feet, is built on the former location of his grandparents' home. Brad has been in the funeral business since the mid-1990s, graduating from the Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service. He and his wife, the former Ashlea Rogers, have one son, Ward. Brad is an active member of several local civic clubs.
Jay Hales is Vice President of South Georgia Bank (SGB), with his office in Glennville. He has been with the bank for 17 years, starting in 2005. He graduated from the Georgia Banking School at the University of Georgia in 2010 and from The Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University in 2015.
He serves as IT Officer/Director and is in charge of everything technology related. He is a member of the Glennville Chamber of Commerce, serving as Treasurer for several years. He chaired the Glennville Sweet Onion Festival Parade for many years, with assistance from SGB staff. He and his wife, Melissa, have two children, Jena and Jack.
Large Business of the Year Award: Adams Poultry & Hardware
An elite award presented at the banquet was to Adams Poultry & Hardware as Large Business of the Year for the year of 2021. Although owner Stacy Adams was unable to attend the event because of recent surgery, the award was accepted by his mother, Faye Adams, who is also the widow of Rudolph Adams, the founder of the company. Also attending and accepting the award were April Adams, Stacy's wife; Stephanie Adams, Stacy's sister; and Cash, Case, and Cage Adams, the three sons of Stacy and April.
Rudolph Adams began the poultry business in 1978-79, traveling to Glennville from the family's home in Douglas. This allowed the children to continue attending school in Douglas. However, in 1987, Rudolph built a large warehouse on Jackie Dasher Road, across from where the current Adams Poultry & Hardware is now located. Stacy, who was attending South Georgia College at the time while also working at a Walmart Distribution facility, made the move to Glennville to work with his father, while also attending college in the evenings at Brewton-Parker College. In 2000, after Rudolph died, Stacy took over the business, with the assistance of his mother for several years. Since the new spacious building of Adams Poultry & Hardware opened in the fall of 2019, the expansion has included a full line of hardware, building supplies, tools, Georgia boots, and a huge lumber yard. Just in the past few months, April has been instrumental in adding a boutique with children’s, men's, and women's clothing; camouflage clothing galore; Hey Dude shoes; loungewear for females; and other items.
Faye Adams mentioned that Rudolph would be pleased to see the heights to which Stacy has taken the business that Rudolph began 44 years ago as well as the eagerness that his and April's three sons have taken in working in the business.
Other nominees for the Large Business of the Year Award were Badcock Home Furnishings & More, Georgia Power, and Brannen-Kennedy Funeral Home.
Badcock Home Furnishings & More opened in 1987 and was owned and operated by Gwen and Richard Whittaker for 35 years. It was sold to Mathew Pridemore in December of 2020 under the management of Clayton Hall initially, with current manager Makayla Thompson. The store offers furniture for every room in the house, appliances, lawn equipment, and numerous other items.
Georgia Power is the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company, America's premier energy company. They serve 2.7 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties. Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, coal, and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric, and wind.
Brannen-Kennedy Funeral Home is family owned and operated and has been serving Tattnall County since 2006 by Bobby Brannen and Don Kennedy. This funeral service was founded in 1935 by the Rimes family and has remained family owned and operated for over 85 years. The staff includes Bobby Brannen; his wife, Betty Ann; and daughter Casey Brannen-Strickland, with Eben Banks, Bobby and Betty Ann's grandson, planning to be the third generation in the company.
Small Business of the Year: Wiregrass Designs
The Small Business of the Year award was recognized as Wiregrass Designs, owned and operated by Libba Thomas. She began the business out of her home as a t-shirt and cap business in 1999, after her retirement from the State. She soon expanded the business to all kinds of wearable and promotional items.
In August of 2012, Libba opened a boutique on Highway 301 N. next to Kicklighter Realty, which has been highly successful. The shop now carries a diverse inventory of children's clothing, home accents, jewelry, wedding accessories, and numerous other gift items as well as men's and women's apparel. However, the promotional aspect of Wiregrass Designs and embroidery are viable parts of the company.
Libba Thomas is also well-known for her design of the annual Glennville Sweet Onion Festival t-shirt, which is a unique and creative way to highlight the festival and its surrounding festivities.
She has one son, Drew Thomas, who is also the son of the late Danny Thomas. Drew and his wife, Lindsay, have three sons: Wilkes, Jack, and Eli.
Other nominees for the Small Business of the Year were Gibson McDonald Furniture and Pine Forest Christmas and Collectibles.
Gibson McDonald Furniture, located on downtown Barnard Street in Glennville, in addition to several other locations, was started in 1934. Their large showroom is filled with mattresses; living room and bedroom furniture; dining room sets; appliances; home décor; and more. Furniture includes the names of Ashley, Catnapper, HomeStretch, Rustic Canyon, and Vintage.
Pine Forest Christmas and Collectibles opened its doors in 1903 as another avenue of sales for Judy and Jody Blanton's Pine Forest Nursery and Florist. After Jody retired in 2008, he kept the shop open until his health began to fail. Since then, his daughter, Rachelle, and her husband, Ritchie Swindell, have begun keeping the shop open on Saturdays. Although the shop continues to carry vintage Christmas items, it carries much more, such as antique furniture, often refinished by Ritchie, and a variety of fascinating antiques and glassware.
International Business of the Year: Mascot Pecan Company
The International Business of the Year award was presented to Mascot Pecan Company, with employee Maureen O'Brien accepting the award on behalf of owners Tim and Kenny Tarver.
The Mascot in Glennville had a humble beginning in 1955 as a roadside tourist stop and gas station, started by Mills and Juliet Tarver. It quickly became known for its unique handmade candies and fresh Georgia pecans. Once began as shelling pecans by hand and putting them in bags for tourists soon expanded into a small mail-order business of shipping pecans. An automated cracking system was added by Mills, and Mascot Pecan Company began specializing in fresh-shelled Georgia pecans.
The Tarver sons, Kenny and Tim, bought the business from their father in 1991, and they have evolved the business into an integrated shelled pecan and candy processor for the specialty food enthusiast.
Mascot's new markets include exports of praline pecans to Saudi Arabia and shelled pecans to bakeries in Canada and to distributors in the UAE and Europe. Mascot Pecan Company continues to evolve with the changes in the pecan and candy business by taking advantage of opportunities as they are presented.
They are probably best well known locally for their chocolate covered pecans, which are sold by fund-raising groups throughout the United States.
Other nominees for the International Business of the Year Award were Nature's Choice and Bland Farms.
Nature's Choice is owned by Drew Thomas and was founded in 1978 by his late grandfather, Julian Thomas. In January of 2004, the leadership of the company was passed on to Drew. Under his supervision and leadership, Nature's Choice continues to expand and thrive. The company provides bagged and bulk bark products to customers throughout the southeastern United States as well as internationally.
Bland Farms has a history dating back over 70 years when Raymond Bland started a small 50-acre farm by planting peanuts and corn, followed by tomatoes. Now headquartered in Glennville, Bland Farms is the largest grower, packer, and shipper of sweet onions in the United States, representing approximately one-fourth of the entire Vidalia sweet onion volume. Bland Farms was the first company in the industry to market sweet onions year-round.
Lynda Goodell was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award.
Glennville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director also recognized several new businesses that began in Glennville during 2021, and who all became Chamber members. They are as follows:
Get Nail’d Salon, Jose Alvarez; B&M Appliances and Auction, Micheal and Bethany Dasher; Boy Mom Creations, Jessi Peacock; MedEx Immediate Care, Kay Spires; B&T’s Fresh Market, John Triplett and Clark Brunson; VRose Beauty Bar, Viviana Florez; Fellowship Nutrition, Mary Martinez; Pink Blush Salon, Melody Esquivel and Guadalupe Melchor; The Bloom Label, Lesley Trapnell; Mary Kay, Terra DeLoach; Farmers Insurance Stargel Agency, Sonia Stargel; and Mercer Brooks, Casey Ellis Butler.
The theme for this year's event was "Welcome Back, Glennville," with an array of globes, old dictionaries, and other memorabilia from Glennville High School on the tables. Attorney and local historian Dylan Mulligan also regaled the audience with trivia questions related to pictures on the tables of former historic Tattnall school buildings.
Dinner music was provided by pianist and local Tattnall County High School student Dylan Lightsey.
The 2022 Glennville Chamber Board of Directors also took their oath of office as administered by Mulligan, as follows: President, Amy Goodell; Immediate Past President, Salena Rentz; Vice President, Garrett Waters; Secretary, Terra DeLoach; Treasurer, Candace Copley; One-Year Directors, Marie Dubberly and Amy Terrell; Two-Year Directors, Alan Volskay and Nate Rentz; and Executive Director, Shellie Smith.
Sponsors for the Chamber banquet are as follows:
Gold Level ($400) - Badcock Home Furnishings, Brannen-Kennedy Funeral Home, Georgia Power, Get Nail’d Salon, Glennville Bank, South Georgia Bank, and Strickland’s Pharmacy.
Silver Level ($200) - Adams Poultry and Hardware, Armstrong’s Cricket Farm, Canoochee EMC, Caughey Hearn-State Farm, Eddie Anderson, Farmers Insurance Stargel Agency, Fries Farms/Claxton Poultry, Glennville Funeral Home, Glennville Sweet Onion Festival Committee, Mascot Pecan Company, Nature’s Choice, New York Life/Charlton Rogers, and Terrell’s Heating and Air.
Bronze Level ($100) - Buck’s Barber Shop, Donna and Alex Tootle, and Kyle Sapp.