Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, has announced the winners in its 2016 Fan Choice Awards.
The month-long awards, in recognition of Small Business Month, triggered an outpouring of support for local small businesses, as hundreds of votes were cast in four categories via social media. From Oct. 4 to Nov. 7, voters rallied behind their favourite restaurants, retail stores, hair salons and more.
“It’s so satisfying to see the overwhelming number of positive nominations from members of the community,” said Heather O’Coin, a business banking advisor at Valley First. “Local businesses are the backbone of our economy. In fact, local business accounts for more than 93 per cent of jobs in B.C’s private sector. I’m proud to be part of recognizing and supporting these business owners for their accomplishments.”
In its second year, the Fan Choice Awards applaud small- to medium-sized businesses located in the regions where Valley First operates that provide a product or service that is second-to-none. Winning businesses are determined based on popular vote by community members. This year’s winners will receive a plaque and decal for their storefront and major bragging rights.
Among the winning businesses is Doug’s Homestead, which specializes in artisan smoked and fresh meats. Based in Hedley, Doug’s Homestead is owned by Brent and Linette McClelland who first took charge of Doug’s in 2007 and have turned it into a must-stop destination along B.C.’s Crow’s Nest highway.
“It’s an honour and delight to be recognized in the Best Retail Store category in the Fan Choice Awards,” said Brent. “We’re proud of the booming business that Doug’s Homestead has become, and so grateful for the support of locals and visitors to the area that has got us where we are today.”
As Brent puts it, he and Linette made a lifestyle choice in trading the Lower Mainland for the Interior. And, after a few early years of learning, they couldn’t see themselves anywhere else.
“It’s an incredible place to be,” said Brent. “We meet people from all over and Doug’s reputation continues to grow. We’re proud of what we’ve created and grateful for the support that has got us we’re we are today.”
“Brent and Linette are such positive people. They took a chance purchasing a business in the Interior… and it’s paid off. They’ve built a thriving business that is known for its excellent products and service. Their story is one many dream about but few have the courage to make a reality,” said O’Coin.
Winning businesses include:
Best Restaurant, Café or Coffee Shop:
- Bliss Bakery + Bistro (Peachland)
- Blue Hills Lavender (Armstrong)
- Front St. Brasserie (Penticton)
- The Bench Market (Penticton)
- Little City Merchant (Enderby)
Best Retail Store, Brewery or Winery:
- Dirty Laundry Vineyard (Summerland)
- Doug’s Homestead (Hedley)
- Monte Creek Ranch Winery (Kamloops)
- The Painted Chair (Oliver)
Best Auto Repair Shop, Auto Body Shop, or Dealership:
- Boyd Autobody & Glass (West Kelowna)
- Dan’s Tire Service (Kelowna)
- Neighbourhood Auto Body Ltd. (Penticton)
- N & L Automobile Service (Princeton)
- Enderby Auto Body (Enderby)
Best Wellness Clinic or Studio:
- Affinity Family Wellness (Kelowna)
- Moksha Yoga Kelowna (Kelowna)
- NuVista Chiropractic and Wellness (Penticton)
- Prime Physiotherapy & Performance (Kelowna)
- PRO-Active Pilates (Penticton)
Nominations took place on Valley First’s Facebook page. Participants were invited to comment on weekly posts to nominate their favourite businesses.