The success and resilience of local businesses was celebrated Thursday night with the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce 38 Annual Business Excellence Awards.
In his opening remarks, chamber president Robin Cardew acknowledged the hardships Vernon area businesses have had to endure over the last few years. From shutdowns, to labour shortages and ongoing supply chain issues.
“We are humbled by your drive, passion, perseverance, courage and hard work that creates employment, provides diverse products and services and ensures we have a strong and dynamic community,” Cardew said.
In addition to businesses of all sizes, non-profit organizations were also recognized.
Mike Nolan with Community Foundation North Okanagan explained non-profit groups are recognized because “they must have a business model, they must be financially sustainable and maintain a satisfactory work environment for their workers and serve a client base.”
But he says there are two key differences in running a non-profit business, “One, their workforce might consist largely of volunteers, and two, their purpose is holistic, for the greater good of the community.”
Castanet was recognized as Professional Business of the Year. The award was accepted by general manager Leah Martel.
"We love being part of this amazing community. We look forward to sharing more daily news stories, saying hi at local events and working with so many unique and hard-working business owners," Martel said.
In order to be nominated for the Diversity Excellence award, companies had to show inclusive policies, have progressive hiring practices and provide diversity training to staff.
Community Futures was the recipient and thanked the chamber and award sponsor Kal Tire for “seeing this as a true category.”
The loudest applause of the night came when Nolan said he was not going to rush through reading the list of 24 nominees for Non-Profit Excellence: “Because my get through it quick approach would not do justice or give respect to the commitment of the hundreds and hundreds of volunteers in our community who have inspired these nominations.”
The award was given to the North Okanagan Hospice Society.
Another highlight of the evening was when the winning team from Turning Points accepted their award for Employer of the Year. Staff nominate their employers for this award. Executive director of communications Laurie Case attributes the strong leadership team of Randeen Wejr and Crystal Morris for the company's win.
“The foundation that they have both laid for all of us has created an incredible work place,” she said.
The cultural safety officer with Turning Points also took time while on stage to give her thanks to fellow members of Vernon’s business community who on several occasions during the night took time to verbalize acknowledgement of ancestral land recognition.
Morris thanked her peers in four languages – English, Syilx, Secwepemc, and Saanichton.
Winners of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards for 2022 are:
- Large Business of the Year: Fox Plumbing Heating Cooling Electrical
- Medium Business of the Year: COBS Bread
- Small Business of the Year: Home for Dinner
- New Business of the Year: La Carraia
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Mykola Zrazhevskyi and Maksym Yenin - Yenin.art Studio
- Business Leader of the Year: Troy Hudson - Sovereign Lake Nordic Club
- Employer of the Year: Turning Points Collaborative Society
- Customer Service Award: Fox Plumbing Heating Cooling Electrical
- Trades Business of the Yea: Richbuilt Homes
- Non-Profit Excellence Award: North Okanagan Hospice Society
- Tourism Business of the Year: Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre
- Professional Business of the Year: Castanet
- Restaurant of the Year: Eatology
- Diversity Excellence: Community Futures North Okanagan
- Retail Business of the Year of the Year: Kaleco Clothing
- Chamber Champion: Neuron Mobility
- People’s Choice, business: Kasper Denture Clinic
- People’s Choice, non-profit: Good Food Box