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At chamber awards, businesses are 'rock stars' of Arlington Heights

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Arlington Heights business owners and employees partied like rock stars Friday night during the Chamber of Commerce's 72nd annual awards banquet.

The theme of the night was rock 'n' roll -- what incoming chamber board chairman David Jaffe used as inspiration and motivation to the 250 or so chamber members who attended the reception at Arlington International Racecourse.

"You are the rock stars of Arlington Heights," said Jaffe, a Realtor with @properties. "Whether you're a business owner, village official or volunteer, you make Arlington Heights the vibrant town that is the envy of the entire Chicagoland area."

Jaffe said he wants to increase membership in the chamber by 100 and add an additional group to the Business Builders networking program, while also increasing the exposure of existing chamber businesses through video online.

But Friday night was also for looking back and celebrating businesses that have made an impact in the last year.

Outgoing board chairman Jason Miller and board members made a grand entrance to the awards reception, clutching guitars and microphones as they lip-synced to "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News. (Later, local band Exit 147 with lead guitarist Jim Tinaglia, a village trustee, entertained the crowd.)

One chamber board member, Marc Poulos, came to the gala with a wig and his face painted, channeling the band Kiss. Fitting, that Poulos is proprietor of self-titled business Marc Poulos Painting & Decorating, which won the chamber's Small Business of the Year -- a new award for 2019.

"This isn't really the painting we do," Poulos quipped.

Awards were handed out in seven categories.

• Business of the Year went to Fitness 19, owned by Miller and his wife Ashley.

• Waverly Inn, the 72-bed memory care facility that opened in September on Rand Road, was awarded Emerging Business of the Year.

• Arlington Cares, established in 2002 to help residents in need of temporary economic assistance, was named Non Profit Organization of the Year.

• Mary Cay Chisholm, a doctor of audiology with Northwest Speech and Hearing Ltd., was named Business Leader of the Year.

• Susie Holmbraker and John Corbett were named Volunteers of the Year for their involvement with the chamber's Business Builders, the Rotary's Santa Run, and Metropolis Performing Arts Centre's wine tasting event.

• Community Leader of the Year, also a new award, was given to Mike Sidor, an 8-year village trustee who will step down this spring when his term ends. Sidor helped establish the small business development agreement, a village-chamber partnership aimed at getting businesses up and running sooner.

"This is a great chamber and this is a great town," Sidor said. "And when you're a trustee and you're looking at it from a 5,000-foot view, the chamber is just a little portion of it, but such a critical portion of this town."

Pictured: Executive Director Jennifer Mallo and Courtney Bayron Director of Community Relations