DERRY — The Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce has named its 2019 Business of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year and Citizen of the Year to be celebrated in a roaring-20s themed award dinner on Oct. 3.
Tupelo Music Hall was named the 2019 Business of the Year in a Wednesday announcement. On Thursday, the chamber announced that Community Caregivers of Greater Derry is the 2019 Nonprofit of the Year, and The Grind Rail Trail Cafe owner Melanie Davis was named Citizen of the Year.
Tupelo owner Scott Hayward said he is proud that the music hall was chosen for the honor because he feels there are dozens of other people worthy of it.
“It’s a real honor to be chosen as Business of the Year, especially considering all of the fantastic businesses that we have in our area,” Hayward said. “It’s almost not fair choosing only one. There are so many hardworking people who work 90-hour weeks to make their business thrive and do right by their employees.”
Hayward said sales grew in the business by 397 percent last year and he is projecting 22 percent growth for this year.
Chamber of Commerce President Ashley Haseltine said a nominating committee made up of chamber board members, chamber members and past recipients selected Tupelo for the honor in part because of Hayward’s decision to invest in the Greater Derry community, his efforts to draw in a consumer base from all around New England with top talent, and his willingness to help other businesses in the area with cross promotion.
“Another main factor is how much support he gives the nonprofits in the region,” Haseltine said.
She said Hayward often lets nonprofits use the music hall as a venue for fundraising events.
In 2017, Hayward and his wife, Julie, moved Tupelo Music Hall from its previous location in Londonderry to a 700-seat facility at 10 A Street in Derry.
Last year, he installed a 313-panel solar array on the roof of the venue which produces enough electricity to supply all of the business’ energy needs.
Haseltine said Tupelo was selected from a list of 10 nominations from community submissions and the Community Caregivers of Greater Derry was selected from a list of seven. The committee narrowed each list to three and voted for the winner.
She said the committee wanted to recognize Community Caregivers for the wide scope of work they do in the Southern New Hampshire area for all age groups. The organization is also focused on its growth, with new, innovative fundraisers, Haseltine said.
“They truly service the entire area,” Haseltine said.
Davis joins the ranks of Cask & Vine and Doire Distilling co-owner Andy Day (2018), Art McLean from the Boys and Girls Club (2017), and Clam Shack owner Rick Metts (1998) for Citizen of the Year award.
“Melanie’s nomination includes a lot of the work she does behind the scenes,” Haseltine said.
She said Davis is always lending a helping hand to others in the community, donating when she is able, and she helps to create a sense of community in the town of Derry.
Davis said she’s grateful for the recognition.
“It’s hard to overcome the surprise and disbelief that comes along with being given a title like that, but I’m grateful to anyone who thought I was deserving of it,” Davis said.
Haseltine said the chamber has named a Citizen of the Year every year since 1965.
The theme of the award dinner on Oct. 3 will be “Roarin’ into the 20s,” and attendees will be encouraged to dress in 1920s fashion. It will be held at Birch Wood Vineyards in Derry. Tickets are available at gdlchamber.org.