Business awards banquet to be bigger than ever

The Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce is planning on making its 10th-annual business awards banquet the best-ever, Chamber office manager Dawn Booth said Tuesday.
“We’re going big this year. We’ve been planning since January and people can expect to see some big things,” she remarked, adding there will be lights, cameras, a red carpet, and video presentations during the banquet slated for Saturday, Oct. 22 at La Place Rendez-Vous.
Booth noted there also will be a handful of new awards introduced this year, two of which—Business of the Decade and Lifetime Achievement—only will be given out at this year’s 10th anniversary gala.
(She added sponsors are needed for these two new awards. Any businesses interested can contact her at 274-5773).
The other new award categories will be announced in the coming days.
Nomination forms for the annual business awards should be available Monday, Aug. 29, with the deadline to submit them being Sept. 30.
These forms will be available at the Chamber office (474 Scott St.), on its website (, and at various locations around the district.
In addition to the new ones, categories listed on the forms will include Business of the Year (1-15 employees), Business of the Year (16+ employees), Employee of the Year (private sector), Employee of the Year (not-for-profit), and Entrepreneur of the Year.
Rounding out the categories are the Northwest Training and Adjustment Board Award, Abitibi-Consolidated Safety Award (business and individual), Customer Service (business and individual), and the Tony Beyak Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award.
At last year’s gala, the Business of the Year Awards went to Camp Narrows (1-15 employees) and Cloverleaf Shop Easy Foods (16+ employees). Entrepreneur of the Year was Paul Brown of the Stratton-based Paul Brown Trucking.
Taking home Employee of the Year awards were Janice Tucker of the Fort Frances Clinic Dispensary (private sector) and Vik Nowak of Family and Children’s Services here (not-for-profit).
Glen Cymbalisty of Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and Edward Jones won the Customer Service awards (individual and business, respectively).
The Abitibi-Consolidated Safety Award (individual) was given to John Beaton of the Fort Frances Ambulance Service while the Alberton Volunteer Fire Department earned the award for business/employer.
The Employer Champion Award went to Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. while the Tony Beyak Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Gary Rogozinski.
A total of 65 nominations were submitted last year, listing 55 different nominees.
As well, two people last year were named winners of the rarely-awarded James Paul Award, which is given to those who have made “an outstanding contribution” to the local Chamber of Commerce over the years.
The two winners were Kim Metke, owner of Pharmasave and the Fort Frances Clinic Dispensary, and Mel DeGagne, owner of Norfab Building Components.