By Derek Kim
Williamston Post staff writer
WILLIAMSTON—Wendy Shaft could not hold back her emotion Monday night.
Shaft and her husband, Don Bixler, were recognized as the 2013 members of the year at the Williamston Chamber of Commerce dinner. Gracie’s Place hosted the night of food, awards and music from local band ‘Help!, We Might Be Heroes.’
Shaft and Bixler own Limner Press, a full-service letterpress on 121 High St. The business is known for its old-fashioned printing style, with equipment dating as far back as 1910.
“A lot of businesses ask us to do their stationery or have us design their signs,” Shaft said. “We have built our business on good service, and love being a part of the community.”
Her mother’s recent death made the dinner a special night for Shaft, as she remembered her hard work and dedication to their business.
“(The award) was in memory of her,” Shaft said as she paused to wipe away her tears.
“Don and I love Williamston and it is just nice to be appreciated.”
Executive director Barbara Burke said Shaft and Bixler have worked tirelessly to make the chamber and community a better place. While selecting the members of the year, the board of directors looked for people who love Williamston and selflessly promote the town.
“Wendy and Don were very deserving of the award,” Burke said.
Whit Moncrief, last year’s winner, presented the award as the night came to a close. Moncrief is chief ambassador for the chamber, leading activities such as luncheons, fundraisers and parade floats.
“The chamber personally for me has been the best networking I have ever been a part of,” Moncrief said. “The more you put in, the more you get back.”
He said the chamber has connected business owners in town. There are 154 businesses in the chamber.
“We understand for everybody to succeed, everybody needs to give a little helping hand,” Moncrief said.
The chamber is not only composed of Williamston residents, as Samuel Daniels was also in attendance. Daniels owns Smiles with Style, an orthodontic office with locations in Brighton, Fowlerville and Howell.
Daniels said he joined the organization to gain access into the community. He said he would be interested in opening an office in Williamston if space became available.
“Williamston chamber is extremely organized and very well connected,” Daniels said.
As valuable as networking is, it is just one of many attractive qualities he has found. Daniels said he notices a particular attribute in Williamston residents, one he finds portrayed in Shaft and Bixler.
“Williamston people are very community oriented, very loyal to their town,” Daniels said.