Businesses shine at Chamber awards

Duane Hicks

District businesses walked down the red carpet and into the limelight last night during the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd-annual business awards at La Place Rendez-Vous.
The local Tim Hortons, owned by franchisee Gord McQuarrie, was honoured with Business of the Year (16+ employees), sponsored by Tbaytel.
Other nominees in this category were La Place Rendez-Vous, West End Motors, Manitou Forest Products, Copper River Inn, and Dairy Queen.
Stratton-based Loewen Greenhouses & Landscaping was named Business of the Year (one-15 employees), sponsored by 93.1 The Border.
Also nominated for this honour were Fort Frances General Supply, Sunset Water Sports, Fort Frances Chiropractic, Curvy Chick, StyLush Salon, and 4 Your Pets.
StyLush Salon was honoured with the New Business Award, sponsored by Rainy River Future Development Corp.
Other nominees in this category included Timber Wolf Lodge, Sunset Water Sports, Lake Life Adventures, R&R Renovations & Construction, Mortgage Intelligence-Krista Gushulak, R. McNally Electrical & Home Inspections, and It Must Be A Sign.
Meanwhile, Betty’s was honoured with the Test of Time Award, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank.
Presented to the business that truly has stood the test of time here in Rainy River District, it is to recognize extraordinary leadership, innovation, and creativity that has assisted a business to operate successfully for 25 years or more.
Blair and Doug Anderson took the stage to receive the award. Blair gave a heartfelt speech, dedicating the award to their grandmother, Betty, their parents, Ron and Elaine, and to Will Anderson.
Other nominees in this category included La Place Rendez-Vous, Cousineau Real Estate, Belluz Concrete & Rentals, Dairy Queen, and West End Motors.
Party Rock DJ Services was the recipient of the Home-Based Business Award, sponsored by M.L. Caron Electric.
Smashing Tea, It Must Be A Sign, and Seacret Division also were nominated for this award.
Diane Gibson of Gibson Design/Enchanted Events was named Business Woman of the Year, sponsored by the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise.
Other nominees in this category included Katie Stus (The Great Bear), Charmaine Langlais (It Must Be A Sign), Alicia Anderson (StyLush Salon), Wanda Huitikka-Wipf (Century 21 Reynard Real Estate), Pam Williams (4 Your Pets), and Shawna McRitchie (Sunset Water Sports).
Tim Hortons earned the Customer Service Award (Business), sponsored by The Westend Weekly,
Also nominated for this award were StyLush Salon, Sunset Water Sports, 4 Your Pets, RBC Royal Bank, Lake Life Adventures, From the Grind Up, and West End Motors.
RBC Royal Bank branch manager Pam MacKinnon was honoured with the Customer Service Award (Individual), sponsored by Good Impressions Printing.
Other nominees in this category included Tanis Lesiuk (Generation’s Vaper Lounge), Pam Williams (4 Your Pets), Jennifer Horton (Curvy Chick), Natalie Armstrong (N.A. Styles), Michelle Elias (RBC Royal Bank), Kory McEvoy (RBC Royal Bank), and Shelley Matias (RBC Royal Bank).
Marty DeGagne (Sunset Dynasty Construction) and Jamie Davis (JD Plumbing Solutions) tied for the Small Business Trainer of the Year Award, sponsored by NCDS.
Other nominees in this category included Ted DeBenetti (A Buck or Two), Travis Chabot (Chabot All Season Repair), and Jordan Fournier (Wilson’s Business Solutions).
Brockie’s Jewellers was given the special honour of the James Paul Award, sponsored by the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce.
Ted and Ruth Brockie retired this past spring after owning the Scott Street business for 38 years. Ted’s father, Dave, purchased the business from George Gledhill in 1947, with Ted assuming ownership in 1980.
The James Paul Award is a rare award which is given to individuals or businesses for their outstanding contribution, and years of dedication, to the business community.
This is only the fourth time it has been given out.
Award recipients were nominated by the public last month. Several anonymous judges then reviewed the nominations and independently scored them, with the highest total scores determining the winners in each category.
Melanie Williams of Party Rock DJ Services was emcee for the evening, entertaining the crowd of nearly 150 attendees.