John Rinehart started his real estate business from the back of the family grocery store.
The first day he opened, he sold a property.
The first year, he had 69 sales.
From these beginnings in the early 1970s, Rinehart launched a career that has grown to one of the largest independent, full-service real estate firms in York County.
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Along the way, he became involved in numerous civic and community activities.
Thursday evening the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce honored Rinehart with its lifetime business achievement award.
Rinehart said York County was a community that meets its challenges and is "built one block, one family at a time."
Rinehart's award was one of seven honors announced as the regional chamber held its 12th annual meeting. About 400 business and community leaders and their spouses attended the event at the Baxter M. Hood Continuing Education Center at York Tech.
The chamber created a new honor this year, small business achievers, to recognize business owners with fewer than 25 employees.
Five small businesses and owners were selected: Jason Broadwater of RevenFlo, Coltharp Inc., Marvin Hyatt of Good Pharmacy, Mark Mills of MPACT Systems and Eddie Pickett of Quality Cleaning Janitorial Services. Broadwater was named small business person of the year from this group.
Other honors included:
The Citizenship and Service Award in memory of Eddie Black to broadcaster and marketer Manning Kimmel.
The Chamber Ambassador of the Year to Keith Richardson of Peoples First Insurance.
The Fort Mill Area Council Business Person of the Year to Dr. Marc McCartney of McCartney Chiropractic & Massage.
The Rock Hill Area Council Business Person of the Year in honor of John Hardin to Merritt King of Triplett-King & Associates.
The Tega Cay Area Council Business Person of the Year to Dr. Rob Cynowa of Complete Wellness Chiropractic.
This year's annual meeting marked the end of Charlie Miller's second term as chairman of the regional chamber. The incoming chairman is Marvin Smith.
Smith is retired from Domtar, a paper company with offices in Fort Mill and Charlotte. He has served for the past six years on the Fort Mill Area Council of the chamber and the regional board of directors for the chamber.
"When many people retire, they slow down, Marvin is shifting into overdrive," said regional chamber president Rob Youngblood. "He is very analytical and has a great sense of fairness."
Among the goals Smith announced for 2011 are fostering more regional cooperation on job creation and economic development, expanding the Buy York County shopping campaign to a year-round effort, passage of the June "Pennies for Progress" referendum, and passage of the referendum to allow Sunday sales of beer and wine at retail outlets.