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Posted April 22, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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BB&T named chamber's business of year

Liz Gum financial center leader for BB&T in New Market
Liz Gum, financial center leader for BB&T in New Market, stands outside the branch at the corner of Old Cross Road and Congress streets. Rich Cooley/Daily

By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

NEW MARKET -- With the bad reputation attached to the banking industry of late, BB&T must be doing something right to remain a pillar of the community.

Local financial center leader Liz Gum cannot pinpoint the reason why the bank was named the New Market Area Chamber of Commerce's business of the year last week at the group's annual banquet. The bottom line is that BB&T continues to stress its core values and community service, she said, with the only difference being that over the past year it has been forced to do those things on a "tight" budget.

"We haven't really changed anything," Gum said.

BB&T, with five local employees, has been a downtown mainstay for about a decade. Gum said each branch is run with a community focus to better communicate with its customers.

Showing community support outside of the office is also something BB&T is committed to, she said. In New Market, that often results in participation in parades, sponsorship of a Little League team and advertising on ball fields. Despite the tough budget in the last year, BB&T did not cut any of its sponsorships, she said.

Gum said she was surprised by the chamber's recognition. She attributes the increase in traffic at the branch to employees' friendliness and nothing else.

"I didn't think that we had done anything that was out of the ordinary."

Also at the chamber banquet, which was held at The Shenvalee, New Market Area Library as named organization of the year and Allen Johnson was named person of the year.

The library moved into a new building, next to the Arthur L. Hildreth Jr. Municipal Building, that features many environmentally friendly aspects, not to mention more space than its previous location on Congress Street.

Johnson, meanwhile, was recognized for his many years of service to the community, which began in 1954 when he came to town as a member of the Merchant Marines trying to help a bank that had been robbed of $400,000, former Mayor Tom Constable said.

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