WESTFIELD, NJ -- GWACC (The Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce) celebrated its 70th anniversary with a gala event on Thursday, April 19, at The Primavera Regency in Stirling.  

The 170 attendees enjoyed a two hour cocktail party followed by coffee and dessert served in the ballroom by the Primavera staff. The Duprees, sponsored by Carol Kearney, owner of Unique Cruise & Travel in Garwood, performed a 45 minute set of some of their biggest hits and some cotemporary songs as well. The Chamber began operation in April 1948 where they met at the Rialto Theater and have grown from the original 29 members to over 500.  Baron Drugs, still in existence, was one of the first members.

The honorees of the Gala were:

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  • Jeff & Andy Arkin of Adler’s Jewelers and Dave Williams of Williams Nursery from Westfield who received the Founder’s Award.
  • Chris Schiavone of Shackamaxon Country Club in Scotch Plains and Ron Shovlin of Shovlin Mattress Factory of Fanwood were awarded the Business Leader of the Year Award.  
  • Gary Patti of Gold Medal Fitness in Garwood was the recipient of the Inspirational Business Leader Award.

Mayor Al Smith of Scotch Plains, Fanwood Councilman Jack Molenaar and Westfield Mayor Shelly Brindle made their respective presentations to the honorees. Assemblyman Jon Bramnick presented Gene Jannotti, Executive Director of the GWACC, with a New Jersey State proclamation.

Major sponsors of the gala were the Northfield Bank, Two River Community Bank, DiPaolo Physical Therapy, Spencer Savings Bank, Designer Appliances, Vine Ripe Market and Patricia & Paul. The event raised over $12,000 for the GWACC Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit community based philanthropic organization. Its primary purpose is to provide funds for local college scholarships and nonprofit organizations.

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