One Bridge City business had the aroma of sweet success at the 42nd Annual 2012 Installation Banquet held tonight by The Bridge City – Orangefield Chamber of Commerce, held at the Bridge City Community Center.

Wayside Florist was named the 2011 Business of the Year. The longtime shop on Bland Street beat out the other nominated businesses, Collision Clinic and Golden Triangle Family Care Center.

Owner Linda Shinkle said in an emotional thank you speech how she and the business carried on after the death of her husband last year and how the flower shop is like her child.

She added flowers touch many lives in Bridge City and she has been privileged to help customers with their occasions — from birthdays to funerals.

Employee Jennifer Mott stood beside Shinkle during her speech.

The other main event was the presentation of the 2011 Citizen of the Year award to Pastor John Harrell of Bridge City United Pentecostal Church.

Harrell said he has been in love with Bridge City ever since he arrived 41 years ago. He said the Scriptures speak of heaven on earth and it’s been that way for him since he arrived in the city for the days of his pastoral calling.

Larger churches in other cities have asked him to pastor them, but he never seriously considered leaving Bridge City. Additionally, his children grew up in Bridge City, attended Bridge City schools and graduated from Lamar University.

“I’ve always been proud to say I’m from Bridge City, Texas. Especially after Hurricanes Rita and Ike and how our community responded. I always felt I would come at a time as such as this,” Harrell said.

He next spoke of the loss of loved ones and how difficult that is, but also how lives are far richer for knowing them.

“Our community is made up of such people. When I’m asked what I want to be remembered for, I want to say I pastored a fine group of folks at the Pentecostal Church on West Round Bunch Road in the midst of a wonderful people,” he said.

Chamber President Bobby Vincent gave the 2011 annual report to the audience.

He said the finances of the chamber got “real low” at one point before members rolled up their sleeves and began to make a difference with events such as the mystery dinner theater and the golf tournament.

“We’ve had some struggles but we came out of it,” Vincent said. “We’re now financially stable. I checked on June 5 and the chamber had $79 in the bank. I just checked it again and now we have $27,000 in the bank.”

Vincent attributed the turnaround to a lot of hard work from the membership and the city.
The chamber will continue doing successful programs such as hosting coffees at different businesses and new things like spotlighting businesses.

He added when businesses prosper through the chamber of commerce’s efforts, the city is successful.

Vincent also announced the chamber’s executive board and the board of directors for the year.

The executive board is:
• President- Bobby Vincent
• President Elect- Brandy Slaughter
• Vice President- Mike Johnson
• Treasurer- Janna Achord
• Immediate Past President- Eric Andrus
The board of directors are: Donna Scales, Beverly Satir, Adrienne Colletti-Platt, Jerry Jones, Jerry McInnis, Robert Sullivan, Shirley Zimmerman, Kim Davis and alternate, Victor Enmon.