Joliet, IL November 6, 2019

The African American Business Association (AABA), a division of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, celebrated its 2nd Annual Awards Celebration on Tuesday, October 22nd. The Mission of the AABA group is to advocate for the creation, growth and general welfare of the African American businesses throughout the Joliet Region while fostering economic development in the African American communities. The event, held at the Joliet Golf Club, was to honor of 2 local businesses receiving that AABA New Business of the Year Award, and the Business of the Year Award. The other award presented was the Trailblazer award that was presented to a local couple.
The event was attended by almost 100 area local business leaders and chamber members and featured a keynote address by Chris Parker. Another special highlight of the night was Jabari Dent, a student ambassador from Joliet Central who introduced all the nights award recipients. The night was filled with laughter, joy and great inspiration as attendees were able to hear the personal stories of how the award-winners businesses have come to be the great organizations and individuals they are today.
Popus Gourmet Popcorn received the AABA New Business of the Year award during the event. Popus Gourmet Popcorn opened in the Maycrest Shopping Center in 2017 and has been serving the local area with a variety of gourmet popcorn, candy, slushies and sodas. Since it opened, local business owners have participated in several local community events and have quickly become a much-loved institution in the Joliet area.
Also celebrated at the AABA awards dinner, the Carter Realty Group was awarded with the AABA Business of the Year. The Carter Realty Group is a small boutique real estate agency with 14 realtors and is owned by Carmen Carter. Carmen thrives in helping people find their dream home and helping educate clients through the complicated process of buying and selling a home. Her constant training and passion to stay ahead of the curve help solidify The Carter Realty Group as the standout to receive this years’ AABA Business of the Year award.

Last but certainly not least was the Trailblazer Award which was presented to Mittchelena & Charles Meade of Meade Accounting & Wealth Management. Mittchelena Meade is the first African American woman to open her own CPA firm in Joliet, Illinois. She was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois and is a product of the Joliet public school system. In 1975 she graduated from DePaul University and received her CPA in 1985. Meade Accounting began in her basement in 1986 and has grown and evolved to its own location on Clinton St in Joliet with 8 employees. Charles Meade joined the firm in 1998 handling the daily operating activities. Upon joining the firm, immediately became the backbone and support of the firm and continues to do so.

We would like to thank all of those who attended this great evening and a special congratulations to all the AABA Award winners.

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The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry is the largest Chamber in Will County and one of the largest and most active Chambers of Commerce in Illinois representing 1,100 plus member businesses and organizations from a wide variety of categories. The Chamber carries out its mission by advocating in the interest of business and providing opportunities for committee work, networking, promotion, and continuing professional development. The Chamber also strongly believes in a solid educational system base and has been awarded multiple times on the local and state level for the work of their Education Committee.