Above: Cream-Cycle owners Kamea and Nate Chauvet and cousins Tristan and Arwyn Samchuk were the Youth Customer Service Award winners this year. Videos of all the winners can be found below.
by Stephen Dafoe
The Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce held its annual Awards Night Gala Thursday evening at the cultural centre with a Champagne and Stars theme. Approximately 200 attended the event.
This Year, the Chamber handed out ten awards, with another three presented by Alexander First Nation. There were more than 40 individual nominees, some of whom received nominations in more than one category.
Small Business of the Year
The first award presented was Small Business of the Year. This award drew the most significant number of nominees. The 11 nominees for 2019 included Black Bar Crossfit, Miss Bones Pet Parlour, JLS Decals & Signs, Nourish, Country Floral Magic, The Flower Stop, RT Septic, Hunter’s Print & Copy, ATB Financial, Espresso Barn, and Pro-Level Looks.
This Year’s winner was The Flower Stop & Gift Shop. Owner Lori McLaughlin said the business is a great one to be in and that every day is different.
“I love coming to work every day,” she said. “It’s always different. People are needing different things, helping them find gifts for birthdays, for their loved ones, making different flower arrangements. It’s a great business to be in.
Medium Business of the Year
Medium Business of the Year drew eight nominations, including Dance Connection, Body Barn, Jiffy Lube, Atlas Premium Homes, Tirecraft, Capital Vision Care, GV’s Hair Studio, and Legendary Liquor.
This Year’s winner was Atlas Premium Homes. Owner Larren Monti said his business specializes in full 3D custom designs and that no two homes his company builds are the same.
“We sit down at the computer with a skilled CAD program and design the home with the client,” Monti said. “Literally from the ground up, they know exactly what the house is going to look like and what goes into the house.”
Large Business of the Year
Large Business of the Year received four nominees, including Flowpoint. Fable Child Care. Bumper to Bumper/Home Hardware. and Morinville Veterinary Clinic.
This Year’s winner was Flowpoint, a new business in Morinville’s Industrial Park that manufactures bulk water dispensing stations.
Flowpoint’s Jay Morrison said his company does everything in Morinville. “We don’t outsource anything,” he said. “We build all of our software in house. We support everything in house. We program all of our equipment in house. We weld everything, design everything. Everything is done in Morinville.”
New Business of the Year
Six nominees were received for New Business of the Year. They were The Boar’s Nest, Crazylady’s Market, Evolution Tattoo, Wilmon Counselling Services, and Stevens & Company.
This year’s recipient was Stevens & Company, an accounting firm located in 100 Block.
“We really try to understand each business as best that we can,” Stevens said. “Understand them from an operational perspective, what their future plans are, their goals-things like that- so that we can really match our advice to your unique situation.”
Community Spirit Award
The Community Spirit Award nominees included Morinville Community Library, Coach’s Corner, and Sturgeon Victim Services. The award, typically awarded to a not-for-profit in recent years, was given to Coach’s Corner this year for the work they do in supporting non-profit causes.
Coach’s Corner has recently supported Danny Getzlaf’s ALS events and will be once again support the Midstream Support Society with the Santa Auction.
Owner Kal McDonald said giving back to the community was important to his business.
“I have a strong community sense where I did grow up in a military environment with my father being in the Forces,” McDonald said. “We had so much to do. There was so much giving in the community and so much activities. With everything getting so expensive nowadays, I have a unique business that can really give back to the community in a very unique way. of funding and hosting events.”
Family Farm of the Year
Family Farm of the Year drew three nominations: 2BK Vegetable Farm. Nonay Farm, and the Van Brabant Family. The Van Brabants, a farm that is made up of a grain farm, a sod farm, and a cattle farm.
Naomi Van Brabant said the farm goes back three generations, starting in 1957. Today all three operations are run by family members.
“The special part about working together as a family on the farm the closeness and the amount of time,” Van Brabant that the kids and the grandkids, and now the great-grandkids get to spend with their extended family.”
Home-Based Business of the Year
Fat Panda, Dragonfly Studios, Onyx & Agate, Esthetics, and Nancy Johnson Fitness were this year’s home-based nominees. Gibbons-based Nancy Johnson Fitness was the winner. The company provides Zumba instruction as well as first aid training.
“I get to help people save lives every day,” Johnson said of her love of the business. “I get the ability to be a mobile unit, so I’ve gone everywhere in Alberta. Also, I’ve taught in BC as well.”
Youth Customer Service Award
Cream-Cycle, Sobeys’ Theron Hogg, and Madison (no last name provided) from Fable Day Care were this year’s Youth Customer Service Nominees.
Cream-Cycle a group of four local young people who sell ice cream from a bike were this year’s winners.
Cream Cycle is run by Kamea and Nate Chauvet and cousins Tristan and Arwyn Samchuk.
Arwyn Samchuk said it is a good business. “You get to work with your cousins, and you get the opportunity to learn some skills,” she said. “And not lots of people get to do this opprtunity.”
Although the Cream-Cycle’s ice cream is top-notch at a good price, there may be some question about the music the bike plays.
“It’s not very annoying, but the ice cream truck is pretty similar to the Cream-Cycle bike,” Samchuk said. “Well, they’re both pretty annoying, but I think the ice cream truck is more annoying.”
Three nominees stood for the Business Legacy Award: Morinville News, Rooke School of Karate and RV City. Rooke School of Karate was this year’s recipient.
Owner Steve Rooke got into martial arts 20 years ago this month when looking for a discipline for his children. A few years later, he and his wife started their own dojo.
The business started in the United Church Basement and now occupies half of the same church today.
“What sets my school apart from different things is that we are really focused on helping the children gain balance, coordination, discipline looking for that never-ending improvement upon themselves.”
Chamber Integrity Award
The Chamber’s Integrity Award is one selected by the Chamber Board itself. This year’s nominees included Morinville Shell and Home Hardware – Bumper to Bumper, the latter of whom was the 2019 recipient.
For owner Maurice Chevalier, business integrity is the key to all of his companies’ success.
“I think the importance of integrity and ethics in business are extremely important,” he said. “Gaining trust of your customer is number one. If they don’t trust you, they won’t deal with you. It’s taken us years to get to the point where we’ve got that trust, and we’re very proud of that.”
Alexander First Nation once again participated in the awards, giving out three of their own: Artisans Recognition Award, Spirit of Business Award, and Spirit of Community Award.
Spirit of Business Award
This year’s recipient of the Spirit of Business Award was Randy Arcand of Dawes Constructs. Arcand received the award from Chief Kurt Burnstick.
Dawes Constructs is a home building firm that also does renovations and all aspects of the housing business.
Arcand said the business just fell on him after he took some training and found that he loved the trade. Although the business is about a year old, he has been in the trade for more than 15 years.
“I’m new to the business side of it but not new to the industry,” Arcand said. “I like meeting new people, and I like the sense of pride I feel, and the workers feel too, I imagine, when the customer greatly appreciates the work.”
Spirit of Community Award
Chief Burnstick presented the Spirit of Community Award to Cindy Yellowdirt or Atim Security.
Atim is Cree for dog, and Yellowdirt said originally the company was going to be a canine unit. Although that plan was changed, the name stuck as the business was already on its way.
“I got into the business because I was originally a security guard, and I wanted other people from my community, which is Alexander First Nation. I wanted them to also have the same opportunities that I went through.”
Artisans Recognition Award
This year’s recipient of the Artisans Recognition Award was Selena Arcand of AndLeen Designs, a boutique clothing design company.
“I think what makes me unique is that my clothing isn’t specifically for a targeted audience,” Arcand said. “It’s kind of broad. A lot of different woman can wear it. I feel like every piece of clothing that we’ve made has a unique characteristic in it.”
Arcand has been invited to attend Fashion Week in London in either 2020 or 2021 and is contemplating taking part in the fall of 2020.