Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce president Jonathan McGraw helped kick off its 34th business excellence awards celebrations at a launch event held Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce president Jonathan McGraw helped kick off its 34th business excellence awards celebrations at a launch event held Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Kick off to the Penticton Chamber business excellence awards

Plan is to host the gala in person this year on Oct. 2

The Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce kicked off its 34th business excellence awards celebrations under sunny skies at its office by the Peach on Wednesday morning.

Nominations are now open for the 10 categories, including business person of the year, not-for-profit excellence, workplace culture excellence and business leader.

“It’s been a tough 15 months and some of the businesses, they’ve done well and some have struggled. Some are looking to put this COVID behind them and move forward,” said Jonathan McGraw, Chamber president who spoke on Wednesday.

The awards night is planned for Oct. 2, when “hopefully, many of these restrictions have been lifted and we can celebrate and have a good time,” said McGraw.

“We will be watching closely, but by Sept. 1 we will be going to concerts again so there shouldn’t be anything stopping us from hosting a celebration in person,” said Terry Phillips, event coordinator for the Chamber.

This year’s gala will be held at Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

Last year, the Chamber held a hybrid gala both virtually and in person at select restaurants where guests celebrated within their own bubble.

The Chamber is planning a plan A and B events for the October gala so it can follow whatever is happening with COVID-19.

Plan A, will be very similar to last year’s event where people gathered in person in their own social bubbles at restaurants as well streaming the awards live for those who wanted to celebrate at home.

The second option is to celebrate in person at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre where prior to COVID, the awards would see upwards of 400 guests gather.

“We want to celebrate our business community together. We need to see people face to face. We will keep things tight and clean. Our plan is to be at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre and have two parties under one roof, divided by a wall,” said Phillips.

Last year, Hoodoo Adventures won business of the year, while Paul Crawford, of Penticton Art Gallery, won business leader of the year.

Total Restoration is once again the major sponsor of the event.

If you would like to nominate someone or a business, or learn more about the awards, click here.

READ MORE: Chamber business excellence winners of 2020

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