MEREDITH — A capacity crowd of more than 240 people filled the dining room at Church Landing as the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting, with the theme “All Hands on Deck.”

The meeting served to introduce new board members as well as presenting the annual Golden Trowel, Golden Hammer, and Environmental awards.

The organization now represents 24 Lakes Region towns and cities with more than 500 businesses, and the awards reflected that large geographical area, ranging from Moultonborough to Loudon.

The Golden Trowel Award recognizes businesses for outstanding renovations and rehabilitations, and this year’s awards went to:

  • The Center Harbor Inn is a renovated seasonal motel that has been converted to a lakeside lodge by Steele Hill Resorts.
  • Outdoor New England transformed a vacant storefront in Franklin into a sports merchandise store focusing on whitewater kayaking and rafting.
  • Studio 73 in Franklin transformed a 1920s house into a hair salon.
  • Kettlehead Brewery converted a former food market into Tilton’s first brewery pub.
  • CATCH Light & Power Mill is a converted Franklin manufacturing building that has been converted in workforce housing.

The Golden Hammer Award recognizes new construction, and this year’s winners are:

  • Tanger Outlets in Tilton built a new, 6,000-square-foot building that houses Five Guys Burgers & Fries and an expanded Starbucks drive-through.
  • Clearchoice MD Urgent Care opened in Alton, providing urgent care and occupational health services.
  • North East Motor Sports Museum opened in a 10,000-square-foot facility on the grounds of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
  • Emerson Aviation built a new, 12,000-square-foot hangar capable of housing jets.

The Environmental Award went to two recipients:

  • The city of Laconia won for two projects it completed in 2017: A $4.3 million project on Lakes Avenue at Weirs Beach, with underground electricity, new streetlights and resurfaced roadway; and creation of a “pocket park” at the intersection known as Busy Corner.
  • The WOW (Winnipesaukee-Opechee-Winnisquam) Trail opened Phase 2 of its multi-use pathway, connecting with Belmont’s Winnisquam Scenic Trail.

The annual meeting also saw the installation of a new board and slate of officers.

Serving on the board of directors are Cecile Chase of Bank of New Hampshire; Lori Contraros of T-Bones/Cactus Jack’s; Darcy Peary of LRGHealthcare; Christopher Dickinson of Meredith Village Savings Bank; Larissa Baia of Lakes Region Community College; Melody Daddio of Steele Hill Resorts; Dirk Nadon of Lakes Media; Adam Hirshan and The Laconia Daily Sun; and Grace McNamara of Lakes Region Public Access Television.

Elected officers are: Chairman Bob Fitzpatrick of Vista Foods, First Vice Chair Ted Fodero of Meredith Insurance Agency; Second Vice Chair Sue Gaudette of Gunstock Mountain Resort; Treasurer Penny Raby of Malone, Dirubbo & Company; and Secretary Kathy Morin of Laconia Refrigeration.

Also serving on the board of directors are Allen Voivod, Epiphanies, Inc.; Donna Keeley, Eversource; Kamal Gosine, MB Tractor & Equipment; Michael Bednaz, WaLa Marketing; Patrick Clausen, Proctor’s Lakehouse Cottages; Ellen Hurst, Beck & Bellucci; and Julie Westcott, Aavid, a division of Boyd Corporation.

Chamber President Karmen Gifford said, “It is so important today in business to be connected, and the chamber continually creates opportunities to connect, be it business-to-business or business-to-consumer.”

The Chamber aims to create and promote a more engaged community and thriving economy for the businesses in the Lakes Region, she said.

For more information, including an online business directory and a list of community events, visit, Facebook, or Twitter, or call 603-524-5531.


Incoming Board Chair Bob Fitzpatrick of Vista Foods, left, joins keynote speaker Gov. Chris Sununu, outgoing Board Chair Jay Bolduc of T-Bones/Cactus Jack’s and Chamber President Karmen Gifford at Church Landing, where the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting on Thursday.


Winners of the Golden Hammer, Golden Trowel and Environmental Awards for projects completed in 2017 gather at Church Landing in Meredith during the annual meeting of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. (Courtesy Photo)


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