Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce marks 60 years with James Bond-themed gala

H.R. Stewart received the chamber’s diamond award

Rita McDade and Brandy Benyo take a photo at the photo booth during the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce 60th Anniversary Celebration dinner April 12, 2024.

The Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 60th anniversary Friday with a gala at Boulder Ridge Country Club in Lake in the Hills. In a nod to the Chamber’s longevity, the dinner had a “Diamond Heist” theme.

Attendees wore James Bond-inspired attire and played a live-action, Cary-Grove Chamber-themed game of Clue before a dinner and awards ceremony. The game also served as an icebreaker as participants had to talk to other people and exchange cards in order to play the game. Some Chamber members and ambassadors were suspects in the game, and some local businesses served as locations in the game.

There was a silent auction and photo booth at the event. People could bid on items such as a pair of Cubs tickets or a one-hour massage at Tranquility Wellness Studio and Spa, among other items.

Mary Schepp, who is a Chamber ambassador, was one of the suspects in the game but wasn’t the culprit. “Nobody got killed by me at my place,” Schepp said about being a suspect.

The Chamber reflected on its 60th anniversary but also handed out its annual award. Paul Schifferer won Emerging Leader of the Year, Shannon Morreale won Board Member of the Year, Big Lou’s Move Crew was New Member of the Year, Mercyhealth won Event Sponsor of the Year and Bob Lueders won the Ambassador of the Year award. True Value Manufacturing and Stryker won the Chamber Partners of the Year award.

The Chamber ambassadors “promote goodwill and communicate the mission of the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce to new and existing members,” among other things, according to the Chamber website.

“I have 20-plus members that are my members,” Lueders said.

The Chamber also gave a Diamond award to its longest-tenured member, H.R. Stewart Inc., which specializes in heating, ventilating and air conditioning, and was founded in 1930.

“It’s a very great honor,” Nancy Stewart said of the award. “We were very surprised” to find out about receiving it.

Jim Stewart said he “was excited to know” H.R. Stewart Inc. is the longest-tenured member, adding it’s great “to be three generations strong.”

Chamber CEO Lynn Caccavallo said the Chamber is “heavily invested in [the] community” and an “integral part of the community.”

Caccavallo said she will turn 60 this year and said it was “kind of ironic” she and the Chamber will both be 60 this year.

Sandra Nies, the Chamber board chair, said “it’s a big deal” that the Chamber is turning 60.

“It’s a good community,” Nies said.

Cary Mayor Mark Kownick briefly spoke at the dinner and touted the Chamber as being “an economic engine for us.” Kownick also talked about the downtown project and said it didn’t cost taxpayers any money, being entirely funded by grants.

“We really work on their behalf,” Kownick said about the village of Cary and the Chamber.

Caccavallo said she hopes the Chamber “keeps growing and going” over the next 60 years.