Penticton businesses recognized at Chamber’s Excellence Awards

Diana Stirling was still in shock after walking down from the stage receiving her award for Business Leader of the Year.

Co-organizer and sponsor Diana Stirling (left) and Jerry Pokorny (middle) of the Gateway Gives and LocoLanding Community Toy Drive estimated more than a 1

Co-organizer and sponsor Diana Stirling (left) and Jerry Pokorny (middle) of the Gateway Gives and LocoLanding Community Toy Drive estimated more than a 1

Diana Stirling was still in shock after receiving her award for Business Leader of the Year.

On Saturday, she was one of 15 business owners who were recognized at the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce 29th annual Business Excellence Awards.

“Surprised, yes,” said Stirling.

The award goes to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the business environment with their overall business acumen, customer service, community involvement, leadership and employee relations.

Read more: Stirling puts fun in community involvement

Read more: New toy drive comes to Penticton

LocoLanding Adventure Park is known for its generosity to the community and charitable groups. Stirling said that stems for her own love of Penticton and feeling honoured to do business in the city.

“I think Penticton is truly the best place to do business, to raise a family and I love the sense of community here. I think that anywhere you would like to visit and you can actually live and work, I love it,” she said.

Stirling thanked the community for providing the support back to her.

“When I looked out at the audience I saw so many business leaders and community leaders and they are the ones that always when I make the call to ask for help — they are the ones that help in a heartbeat and that is our community,” she said.

Other nominees in this category included David Prystay, Leigh Follestad, Peter Beauchamp, Tarik Sayeed, Tracy Van Raes and Vanessa Jahnke and Carolyn Bursa.

The Business of the Year award came down to a tie vote. Both Boyd Autobody and Glass and Lake City Casinos Penticton will share the award that recognizes a business that stands out among peers as a leading organization both in its approach to business and in service to the community. These two businesses were chosen because they demonstrated outstanding business operations, customer service, employee development/relations, site aesthetics, marketing, innovation, community contribution and allowance for disabilities.

“It was unexpected and it is such validation for what the staff have done this year and what Gateway is providing a new facility. To be able to receive this award is, there is really no words for it. I am still a little speechless and just ecstatic,” said Michael Magnusson, general manager of Lake City Casinos.

Lake City Casinos is currently undergoing expansion with a $25-million construction of the new casino. It is expected to be completed in spring of 2017 and create another 150 new jobs, on top of the approximate 140 they already have.

Read more: Ground breaking for casino a symbol of growing economic activity

Magnusson said being able to give back to the community through not only jobs but to charitable organizations is important to their company. He added the sense of family and the way businesses care about other business is second-to-none.

“I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else. The passion in this city is so strong that collectively we can’t fail,” he said.

Boyd Autobody was also caught off-guard winning the Business of the Year award.

“It was a great surprise. It was an honour enough just to be nominated and all of a sudden to go up there and win with the casino was definitely an honour, that’s good company” said Boyd manger Ryan Wuthe. “I’ve got a really good crew. Should I be surprised? Probably not, the crew speaks for itself so it’s a good staff to work with.”

Boyd bought First Rate Autobody and Collision on Carmi Avenue five years ago and Wuthe took over as manager in 2014.

“Since taking over the business we’ve put some real effort into investing into our local people. All the staff here is local. We’ve put a great effort into investing back into our community and I think that’s a big part of it,” said Wuthe. “Whether it’s being a part of the farmers’ market or raising money for the SPCA or the YMCA or being part of Peach Fest, I think it all contributed to just making us a better business.

“I firmly believe that investing in your community just pays back tenfold, it’s a given. I live here. I have kids here. I have a family here. I understand the importance of it and love doing it.”

The awards kicked off the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce celebration of the vital role small businesses play in the community for Small Business Week which runs until Oct. 22.

“Small business plays a big part in the local economy in Penticton and they play a critical role in creating jobs at home,” said Brandy Maslowski, executive director of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce. “Small Business Month is a great opportunity for our community to celebrate these hard-working businesses that bring great ideas and entrepreneurial spirit to our city.”

The chamber is encouraging Penticton residents to show their support for small business by mentioning their favourite business on the chamber Facebook page during small business week.

“Promote and celebrate local small business this month by shopping, buying and eating local and be sure to nominate your favourite small business on the chamber Facebook page,” said Maslowksi.

Penticton Chamber Business Excellence Awards winners:

Total Restoration won the Community Support Excellence Award. This award goes to a business that passionately promotes community projects, events or festivals. This business has community at the core of its mission and vision.

Proving they have exemplary service, products or attractions to Penticton visitors and encouraging them to return again and again Hoodoo Adventures was chosen for the Hospitality/Tourism Excellence award. Hoodoo Adventures strengthens the vision of Penticton as a destination with their product and service.

DM Productions are the winners of the Home Based Business Excellence award, demonstrating excellence in product innovation. This award is given to a business that consistently shows excellence and quality in service and merchandising. The creative firm specializes in audio, video and multimedia.

Strengthening the economic base of Penticton for six decades, Berry & Smith Trucking is the winner of the Industrial and Manufacturing Excellence award. The family-based business is among the biggest trucking firms in the B.C. Interior.

Read more: Penticton business reflects family and community ties

Jumping Beans Play Café opening in 2015 providing a family friendly environment, maintaining employment practices that support working families and promotes community efforts to support healthy families. They are the winners of the Family Friendly Excellence award.

Read more: Jumping Beans offers twist of cafés

Clint George is an accomplished artist that has been commissioned to design various steel art pieces including The Gathering for the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre’s 50th anniversary. His company, Iron Indian Steelworks, is the recipient of the Aboriginal Community and Business Excellence award that was handed out for the first time this year at the Business Excellence Awards. This award recognizes the contribution a business has made through inclusivity with the local Aboriginal community and the significant positive impact to the community.

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The People’s Crafthouse was chosen as the winner of the Agriculture and Agri-Business Excellence award demonstrating leadership and outstanding achievement in the commitment to advancement and sustainability of the agriculture industry. Owner Jason Cox had a successful year, which included getting the opportunity to pitch to the investors on the CBC Tv show Dragon’s Den (air date not yet announced).

Read more: Craft soda maker to pop into Dragon’s Den

Demonstrating a consistent adherence to high quality customer service and support ABK Restoration Services Ltd. is the winner of the Professional Service Excellence award. For over 20 years, ABK Restoration has been helping home owners and businesses in the Thompson Okanagan.

Tony’s Meats and Deli stands out from their competition providing custom cut meats with a established an loyal clientele. Open since 1998, they provide locally made sausages, local and European cheeses, sauces and spices from around the world, a full service deli and more. Tony’s Meats and Deli is the winner of the Retail Excellence award as a company that has established strong relationships with its customers, staff and being proactive to changing market trends.

Named one of the country’s best managed companies, Wildstone Group of Companies is the winner of the Workplace Culture Excellence award. This business fosters a culture and commitment to employee development inspiring loyalty, driving performance and a good work ethic.

Read more: Business hits top 50 companies in the country

Another new award category was handed out at the 29th annual Business Excellence Awards. Tourism Penticton was the recipient of the Excellence in Marketing Innovation award which recognizes businesses that have embraced creativity in its marketing efforts through a unique campaign that increases business and exposure.

Read more: Tourism says it was a successful summer for business

Wine Crush Market is a new business in Penticton that is already turning heads. They are the winners of the sustainability Excellence award for demonstrating environmental performance with their products, activities and service. Owners also were the recipients of the New Business Excellence Awards becoming an outstanding corporate citizen in the community.