A couple of new categories and a whole lot of happy business people were among the highlights of the 2012 WestShore Community Awards, handed out on Friday, Sept. 28 by the Chamber of Commerce.
Winners in 14 categories received glass trophies and accolades from peers, for a wide variety of accomplishments in business and community contribution.
Chamber marketing and events manager Julie Urquhart said this has been the biggest year for the awards so far, with two new categories, far more nominees (230, compared to last year’s 90) and a sold-out crowd attending.
“It was really amazing to see what the nominators wrote about the nominees,” Urquhart said. “Not only is business thriving, but the community really stood up and supported these individuals.”
Business of the Year went to Patricia Wade Design in the individual category, Feel Good Yoga and Pilates in the two to 19 employees category and Saunders Subaru in the 20+ employees category.
One of the new awards is the Resilience Award, which goes to a business that has overcome challenges and excelled.
Colleen and Terri Park have been running their Serious Coffee franchise for nearly seven years now, through thick and thin, and received the Resilience Award. With a location a bit difficult to get to, and constant construction across the street at Capital City Centre, the Parks say it has been a bit of a tough run in recent years.
The recession, the introduction of the HST and the increased minimum wage have also proved challenging for the small business, but through it all the Parks have survived and reveled in their role as small business owners in the community.
“We’re still here, we’re still working and trying to just hang on. A lot of small businesses I think are feeling the same thing,” Colleen said.
“We just dug our heals in and said we are going to make it work. … We just come in like every other day and chat away and enjoy it. Life’s too short not to come in, because I love what we do.”
Last year the couple was forced to let go of all their staff and they now run the coffee shop themselves, seven days a week, doing everything from cleaning to picking up supplies. They said winning the award was a huge honour.
“To win was a bonus,” Colleen said. “I think just to be nominated and recognized is just fabulous.”
The other new award is the New Business Excellence award, which went to two companies: Joseph’s Coffee House in View Royal Square and The Sign Pad, in Colwood.
Urquhart said the awards are important to recognize good work in the community and to continue to promote the growth of business on the West Shore.
“This encourages them to continue doing good work,” Urquhart said.
“I saw their faces when we’re at the awards show, when they were being recognized … They were just so pleased and honoured and proud of their accomplishments. These types of events can only encourage more good within the community.”
Full list of winners:
Community Service: PJ Music Studios
Healthy Communities: Stillpoint Community Acupuncture
Business Integrity: Simon Says Roses
Environmental Stewardship: Royal Bay Bakery
Civic Leadership: Debbie Qayum
Outstanding Customer Service: Eye Etiquette Optical Boutique
Resilience Award: Serious Coffee Colwood Corners
New Business Excellence: The Sign Pad
New Business Excellence: Joseph’s Coffee House
Young Entrepreneur: Tina Barabonoff, Platinum Floral Designs
Employee of the Year: Ken Langdon, Olympic View Golf Course
Business of the Year (Individual): Patricia Wade Design
Business of the Year (2-19 Employees): Feel Good Yoga and Pilates
Business of the Year (20+ Employees): Saunders Subaru
Non Profit Organization of the Year: ReStore Habitat for Humanity, Victoria