The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

November 18, 2012

Deadline nears for Business Hall of Fame nominations


DANVILLE — Nominations are being accepted for the business men and women who will be inducted in 2013 into the Vermilion County Business Hall of Fame.

Nominees could be a Vermilion County business man or woman — living or deceased — who has made a positive impact on commerce in the county and a lasting contribution to the area’s business climate.

The nominee could have made an impact in the past or is active in the community and helped bring a new industry to anywhere in Vermilion County, managed or worked at a local business, or helped to create a climate conducive to business success.

The business hall of fame was created to instill local pride and highlight past and present businesses in the area.

Last March during a special ceremony for family and friends of the honorees, the freestanding computerized interactive business hall of fame display was unveiled at the Vermilion County Museum, where it is permanently housed on the second floor of the museum center and is open to museum visitors.

“Everyone looks at it that comes here,” said Sue Richter, executive director of the museum at 116 N. Gilbert St.

The business hall of fame display — which was built in cooperation with ThSnyder, DTI Solutions and Media One Visual Arts — features a touch-screen monitor that allows visitors to look through photos of this year’s inductees and learn more about them and their businesses.

Richter said the display also highlights the businesses and industries that are a part of the county’s history.

The five individuals who were honored in the inaugural business hall of fame group earlier this year for their contributions to business and industry in Vermilion County and to the community were the late C. S. (Sherm) Paxton, who more than 100 years ago founded the Grab It Here grocery stores in Georgetown and grew that business into a chain of 70 stores located within a 75-mile radius of Danville; the late Robert R. (Kish) Bookwalter, a Danville attorney, business entrepreneur and a driver to construct Danville Stadium; Lou and Sybil Mervis, Mervis Industries and Foundation, who have developed and grown countless businesses as well as provided educational opportunities for youth in Vermilion County; and James “Big Jim” Darby, founder and owner with his children, of Greenwood, Inc., which includes Sunset Funeral Home and Memorial Park, Trigard and Trigard Memorials.

An appointed panel will review the nominations for the new group and determine who will be inducted into the business hall of fame during a ceremony planned for March 10.

“We’ve had some excellent nominations already, but we would like to have a full deck of people — some younger folks as well as some folks from the past,” said Linda Bolton, director of business development and government relations at Vermilion Advantage.

“There are a lot of great business people in our area, but we especially want to honor the folks who help build the community and give back while also preserving local business history,” she said.

Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen said, “As with the individuals selected and honored this year, we are seeking nominations of the people who built Vermilion County and continue to help it grow,”

While the business hall of fame is focused on recognizing business people, Haugen said it is their connection to the community that makes them special.

“Many people are successful in business, but the business hall of fame honors those who have gone the extra mile, beyond their business acumen, sharing their time and resources to build and grow Vermilion County,” she said.

Co-sponsors for the 2013 event are Vermilion Advantage, Neuhoff Media and the Commercial-News.

To nominate

Forms to nominate a business man or woman who has made a difference in the history of the Vermilion County work force are available at Vermilion Advantage, 28 W. North St., or on its website at; at Neuhoff Media, 1501 N. Washington St., or on its website at http://www.vermilioncountyfirst,com; and at the Commercial-News, 17 W. North St., or on its website at Nominations are due Nov. 26.

For information, contact Linda Bolton at Vermilion Advantage at 442-6201 or e-mail her at