HERKIMER — Erin Hamlin, the four-time Olympian from the town of Remsen, will likely reflect on her time competing when she speaks during the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting on Thursday.
"If you look at past [Chamber] award winners — family-owned, small business — that’s Erin," said Chamber Executive Director John Scarano during a telephone interview Monday. "She comes from a small village and she’s a hard-working young lady — very, very family-oriented."
Scarano said Hamlin’s turn as speaker ties into the Chamber’s theme of being "regional" rather than focused on just Herkimer County’s borders.
Hamlin competed in the single women’s luge event at four Winter Olympics, most recently in February in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She was the first American woman to win a bronze medal in the sport during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and carried the American flag to lead the American contingent into the stadium in Pyeongchang. She said the Pyeongchang Olympics would be her last.
This year’s annual meeting will coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of the Chamber, which was first incorporated in 1968.
Scarano said listening to its membership has helped sustain the Chamber for five decades.
"We try to stay in tune with what our small businesses members need," he said. "We make a great effort to reach out to new businesses with ribbon cuttings and getting their messages out."
The Chamber offers B2B programs for its members and hosts an annual Small Business Week, scheduled for next month, which highlights the "Shop Local. Shop Small" motto. Scarano also highlighted the chamber’s annual Legislative Breakfast, which gathers the area’s state and federal representatives together to speak about certain issues and take questions from those in attendance.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Scarano said Thursday’s event will include two past executive directors, along with past board members and past award winners.
Scarano said with this being the Chamber’s 50th anniversary, they decided this year’s three award winners — Brown and Randall, Original Herkimer Cheese Company and State Bowling Center — will be recognized as "Golden Anniversary" winners instead of being split into categories.
"We wanted to stick with actual small business members," he said, noting each business being recognized all formed more than 50 years ago and are longtime community members.
Scarano said those interested have the opportunity to make reservations until 12 p.m. Wednesday by contacting the Chamber office at 315-866-7820.
"We want everybody to come and give a cheer to the three award winners and hear about where we came from and where we’re going as a chamber," he said.