by Morinville News Staff – Photos by Lucie Roy

It was an evening in China for local businesses Thursday night during the Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce’s annual Awards Night Gala. This year’s event sold more than 230 tickets, a 40 per cent increase in turnout over 2014’s event. The evening’s theme was a tribute to the Chamber’s recent business trip to China and included Chinese drummers and dancers as well as a Chines buffet by Chef Doug Adsit of The Green Bean.

Awards were given out for home-based, small, medium, and large businesses of the year, as well as awards recognizing the top new business of the year, the Legacy Award, Community Spirit Award, the Youth Entrepreneur and Service Award, and the Chamber Board’s Integrity Award. Chamber members received plaques for years of membership ranging from five to 35 years.

Chamber President Simon Boersma said the evening was an opportunity to showcase businesses that work very hard to ensure that there is strong customer service within our community. Additionally, Boersma said it was an opportunity to celebrate the year’s business and economic development successes.

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Above: Large Business of the Year presented to Home Hardware. Accepting on their behalf Manager Mike Porlier.

Large Business of the Year

Nominees for Large Business of the Year included Roadrunners / Tirecraft, Home Hardware, Servus Credit Union, RV City, GB Business Enterprises Ltd., No Frills, Pleasant Homes, and Cowley Newspapers – Morinville Free Press. This year’s winner was Home Hardware.

“I think probably the number one factor for our success is our customers,” said owner Maurice Chevalier. “We have great customers. Our number one goal is to keep them coming back. So we are constantly trying to change and do things differently to keep their loyalty.”

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Medium Business of the Year

Medium Business of the Year drew 10 nominees, including Castle Building Centre, Morinville Shell, Morinville Auto Body, Green Bean Coffee House, Morinville Bottle Depot, Technical Automotives Inc., Morinville Business Centre, H&R Block, Infinite Event Services, and High Street Interiors. This year’s recipient was Morinville Autobody.

Owner Steve Hammond said the company continues to grow in the new facility it built three years ago. While the new building makes new opportunities, it is his “fantastic team of individuals” that Hammond believes are the source of the business’ success.

“Training is one thing that we used to focus on, but it is so much more important now,” he said. “My staff are very focused on their training and staying up to date with current technology and trends in vehicles as it changes almost on an annual basis.”

small business

Small Business of the Year

Small Business of the Year drew a dozen nominations, including Liquor on Main, Morinville News, Psychsupport Services, ATB Financial Morinville, Technical Automotives Inc., Bistro di Madre Piccola, Premium Food Services, Elysha’s Cleaning Services Ltd., Big City Carwash, Neighbors Vitamin Shop, Mike’s Barber Shop, and Pro-Level Looks Hair Studio. This year’s business was The Morinville News.

Like other winners in the business of the year, Morinville News owner attributed the publication’s success to those who work with him.

“Our business is all about sticking our nose – and our cameras – in your business, the community’s business. It is about telling our community’s stories and giving you that news while it’s still news,” Dafoe said. “The only way that is possible is by having a group of freelancers invested in our community and invested in getting the details right.”

home based

Home-Based Business of the Year

There were four nominees for Home-Based Business of the Year: Country Kitchen Mustard, Elysha’s Cleaning Services Ltd., Heirloom Woodworking, and Premium Food Services. This year’s winner was Heirloom Woodworking.

Co-owner Joe Gosselin said he and his wife Kim started the company 15 years ago and had always enjoyed the benefits of working from home. Gosselin said customer service is the backbone of the company’s philosophy.

“Our business philosophy – in a nutshell – is to have an honourable business, one that stands behind its product,” Gosselin said. “You’ve heard it said before, but if you’re not happy, then we’re not happy. We will remedy whatever it is you’re not happy with withing reason, and I always through in the caveat within reason because some things just aren’t attainable. I usually try to get that straightened out before I would ever accept money for a job. Therefore, we have better results by having the expectations quantified before we start.”

elyshas

New Business of the Year

This year’s New Business of the Year included Morinville Physical Therapy, Psychsupport Services, Mason Landscaping, TASER Inc. (Toys and Small Engine Repair), Elysha’s Cleaning Services Ltd., Sabecnat Plumbing, and Morinville Sports. Elysha’s Cleaning Services Ltd. was the recipient of the award.

Co-owner Estella Oates said the business is just coming to the end of its first year. The secret of their success has been the desire to “do it right.”

“We research a lot when it comes to marketing and how to do the cleaning business correctly,” she said, adding the company has recently begun adding carpet cleaning and window cleaning (up to three storeys) to their list of services. “We want to be highly professional, and we want to maintain that efficiency and consistency of quality of cleaning that we will provide for our clients. That’s our goal for this cleaning company.”

This year’s awards also recognize those new to business and those who have created a legacy.

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Youth Service & Entrepreneurial Award

Youth Service & Entrepreneurial Award nominees included Brennan FitzGerald, Taylor Coursaux, and Brieanna Wilding. The winner for this year was Town Councillor Brennan FitzGerald, President of the Higher Grounds Community Support Society.

“Youth service and youth entrepreneurialism is important because youth are really the future of a community, and if they can get involved at this age, that carries on into later years,” FitzGerald said. “It’s valuable to me to contribute to my community and to start that now, and that can continue into the future as well.”

community spirit

Community Spirit Award

Recognizing participation in the region is the Community Spirit Award. This year’s nominees were Morinville Lions Club, Higher Grounds Espresso Bar, Gibbons Agrium Youth Centre, and the Midstream Support Society. Higher Grounds Espresso Bar took the award.

Manager Crystal Terhorst said community is important to her society and coffee shop and that a community ought to be able to help those less fortunate. “We are a community within the greater community of Morinville,” sh said. “This is why we are here – to pay it forward to those who are less fortunate here in Morinville.”

The local shop picks one charity each month to support, taking donations from customers and donating all tips to the cause. They also run a monthly charity cribbage tournament and provide a venue for local musicians of all ages to perform.

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Legacy Award

The Legacy Award nominees for 2015 were Technical Automotives Inc., Morinville Lions Club, RV City, GB Enterprise Morinville, and Servus Credit Union. This year’s recipient was the Morinville Lions Club.

Lions Club First Vice President Deborah Robillard said she joined the club four years ago, having heard about the great work they were doing in the community.

“We service our community which is extremely important to us,” Robillard said, adding the club helps with many initiatives both financially and with physical labour. “We resurrect playgrounds, help build buildings, maintain the Morinville Lions Park. We also hold some special events to help out with the functions of different charities.”

integrity award

Chamber Integrity Award

The final award of the evening was the Chamber’s Integrity Award, an honour chosen by the Chamber Board. This year’s nominees were J.M. Turner Goldsmith, Morinville Bottle Depot, The Morinville News, Morinville Shell, Pleasant Homes, Putnam & Lawson, and Smith Music. This year’s winner was Putnam and Lawson.

We were unable to get a comment from the winners of this award prior to our deadline.

Milestone Awards

Recognition was also presented for long time membership in the Chamber ranging from five to 35 years.

35years

35 year service award presented to RV City/Frontier Honda, Mayor Lisa Holmes, Ross Hodgins accepting on behalf and Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce President Simon Boersma.

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