Diamond Award winners announced

(Reporter Photo/Stephanie Brumfield)

From left: South Shelby Chamber of Commerce Executive Director April Stone, Charles Culotta, Ruth Hall, Kathy Copeland and South Shelby Chamber Board President Donna Smelcer. (Reporter Photo/Stephanie Brumfield)

By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of its annual Diamond Awards honoring Shelby County businesses and residents Dec. 12 at the Alabama 4-H Center.

The Piggly Wiggly in Columbiana, owned by Charles Culotta, won Business of the Year, while Hot Dogs on Wheels, owned by Ruth Hall, won New Business of the Year.

Kathy Copeland, director of governmental affairs and public relations for White Rock Quarries in Vincent, won Citizen of the Year.

Culotta was nominated by Richard and Linda Cook and has owned Piggly Wiggly for 34 years, or since 1979.

Shelby County School Board Vice President Peg Hill, who served as the event’s emcee, said Culotta was nominated for his business philosophy to “always be fair and ethical in how you treat both your customers and your employees.”

Culotta said it felt wonderful to accept the award.

“We are a well, well blessed company,” Culotta said. “I accepted this award for the store and for the employees. I couldn’t make it without them.”

Hall, nominated by Barbara Zebia, said she was excited and couldn’t believe she was receiving the award.

“My little business idea turned out to be successful because of the chamber,” Hall said. “I’d like to thank Paul’s BP in Wilsonville, Vj’s Restaurant in Shelby, Susan Conn of Main Street Florist and the Hyltons of Wilsonville. Without them I would not be where I am today.”

Copeland was nominated by Terri Sullivan for her work as a volunteer at schools in Vincent and for her involvement in community events such as Art in the Park, the Vincent Christmas parade and the Shelby County Barbecue Cook-off.

Copeland said she feels blessed to work for a company that encourages community involvement.

“I am honored to even be nominated, especially by someone like Terri Sullivan whom I consider to be a work horse when it comes to the betterment of Shelby County,” Copeland said. “I am constantly impressed and inspired by the many people in this county that give tirelessly of themselves.  To be selected as Citizen of the Year is humbling.”