Chamber sees record number of nominations for annual business awards

Above: A business owner accepts an award at last year’s Chamber Gala. This year’s event is on Saturday, Oct. 28. – file photo

by Stephen Dafoe

The annual Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce Gala takes place on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre, and this year’s nominee list is one of the biggest yet.

The Chamber received over 400 individual nominations for 53 businesses in eight categories this time around, plus Youth Entrepreneur and business integrity nominees.

“We had a record 61 nominations in total this year,” Chamber Manager Roberta Pawluk said, noting the Chamber’s own Integrity Award had four nominations.

The Ag Business/Farm Family category nominees include Deb’s Greenhouse, Bokey Blooms Farms, Rosy Farms, Chuck’s Berry Farm, and Birchwood Meadows.

Longstanding area businesses in the Business Legacy category include Black Bar Crossfit, Rene’s Vacuum, RT Septic & Water Systems, Flynn Bros., and The Flower Stop & Gift Shop.

But, not all nominees are long-standing businesses. The New Business Category drew seven nominees: The Niche Hair Studio, Fusion World Rentals, Bon Accord Liquor Store, Free Spirit Ranch, Optimal Yoga & Wellness, Movement Dance Studio, and Hair & Holistics.

Home-based business nominees include Skinsational, Nancy Johnson Fitness, M – Crazy Diamond Crystals, A Worthy Cookie, Dark Sky Distillery, J’Lynn Esthetics, and Christy Chubaty, Chartered Professional Accountant.

The Small Business category drew 14 nominees: Sturgeon Brewing Company, The Ice Hut, All Mixed Up, Smokehouse Grills & Purolator, Grass Theory, JLS Decals & Signs, Panchita’s Taqueria, Morinville Pizza, Au Chocolat, Legendary Liquor, Black Bar Crossfit, Odin Renovations Inc., Madaflo Craftsman, and Rentz & Rover Pet Services.

Medium business nominees include Coach’s Corner Sports Bar & Grill, Celebrations Flare Catering, Ok Tire Morinville, Bistro Di Madre Piccola, Drayden Insurance Ltd., and Animal Wellness Veterinary Clinic.

The Large Business category drew three nominations: Sturgeon Cleaning Service, Morinville Shell, and Atlas Premium Home Development.

Community Spirit is open to businesses and non-profit organizations that enhance the community. This year’s nominations went to Fusion Thrift Shoppe, Morinville Adopt-A-Family, Second Chance Animal Rescue Society, and the Midstream Support Society.

Young entrepreneurs will also be recognized at the gala with Emily’s Petdana’s, Willow Ralph- Panchita’s Taqueria and Movement Dance Studio instructors Elizabeth Nelson, Brooklynn Payne, Kenzie MacRae, Jade Van Lersberghe, Haley Oullette and Grace Dundass, each nominated for the award.

The Chamber also has its own Integrity Award, which is selected and voted on by the Chamber. Nominees for that award are not known.

“In times where it is so hard to convince people to shop local, I think it [the gala event] really says, ‘Hey! Look at what we do have to offer, and what is in our community and backyard,” Pawluk said of the many nominees.

This year, the Chamber is holding the event on a Saturday evening rather than a Thursday night to allow more time for the awards and other Gala activities, including live music, and the dinner.

Tickets for the Chamber Gala are $70 per person or $500 per table of eight. Tickets are available at the Chamber office or online at

Pawluk said she has a great gala committee this year, and the organizers are hoping people will come out to support the event.

“It’s going to be an awesome night,” Pawluk said. “We have a record number of nominees, so I suspect we will sell out. We have a piano player and a jazz singer. We have some dancers from Movement Dance Studio coming. ”

Cocktails are at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, dinner at 6 p.m., and the main activities starting at 7 p.m.

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