Business awards gala set to go

Roll out the red carpet—the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce will honour some of the district’s finest tomorrow night during its 11th-annual business awards at La Place Rendez-Vous.
“Personally, I feel it’s a very important event,” said Chamber president Gary Rogozinski. “It gives the opportunity for the Chamber and for the community to honour businesses that excel or go out of their way to treat customers well.
“It’s an opportunity to give them some recognition they might not get.
“Everybody knows which businesses are doing well,” added Rogozinski. “It’s quite obvious when you walk into a store and people come up to you and say ‘Hi, can I help you.’ And the stores look nice.
“But this is an excellent opportunity to really recognize those businesses that are doing well in the community.”
Chamber manager Dawn Booth said late yesterday afternoon the event is ready to go, with at least 155 people expected to attend.
“We hoped we’d get 150, so we’re happy with that,” she remarked.
The gala will feature a buffet dinner, complimentary wine, a silent auction, and, of course, the awards ceremony, emceed by Rogozinski.
Cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7. Music will be provided by the Borderland Orchestra Ensemble.
The awards program will get underway around 8:30 p.m. and run for about two hours. Sponsors will present their respective awards, accompanied by a slide show put together by Shaw Cable’s Randy Thoms.
This year’s nominees are as follows:
•Accessibility Award—Beta Sigma Phi, Canadian Mental Health Association, and Sybil Mowe;
•Business of the Year (1-15 employees)—Energy Motivation Inc., Fort Frances Clinic Dispensary, Fort Frances General Supply, Kreger Sales and Service, Lee Garden, North Auto, Northridge Funeral Home, Peter’s Plumbing & Heating, Pharmasave, Rempel Furniture, Stratton Community Store, Trail’s End Lodge, and Wright Physiotherapy;
•Business of the Year (16+ employees)—Ed Kaun & Sons Ltd., John Gavel Custom Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Manitou Forest Products, Tim Hortons, and Wal-Mart Canada;
•Business Woman of the Year—Cathy and Colleen Perreault (Couchiching Convenience Complex), Kelly Spicer (Curves for Women), Jackie Lampi-Hughes (Energy Motivation Inc.), Susan Bodnarchuk (Holmlund Financial Services), Dorothy Friesen (New Life Clinic), Connie Cuthbertson (Northwoods Gallery & Gifts), Renate Winkler (Pharmasave), Deb Cornell (Rainy River Elk Company), and Angela Halvorsen (Rainy River Future Development Corp.);
•Customer Service (Business)—Aya’s Reflexology & Japanese Body Massage, Energy Motivation Inc., Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Fort Frances General Supply, Jayne’s TLC, Pinewood Sports & Marine, Rainy Lake Sports & Tackle, Stratton Community Store, Trail’s End Lodge, and Wal-Mart Canada;
•Customer Service (Individual)—Chris Kivimaki (Acklands Grainger), Neila Booth (Gourmet Outfitters), Bob Gustafson (Holmlund Financial Services), Jean-Marc Blanc (La Place Rendez-Vous), Jason Lilley (Northridge Funeral Home), Russ Ling (Tagg’s Source for Sports), Renate Winkler (Pharmasave), and Joanne Bliss (RBC Royal Bank);
•Employee of the Year—Arlene Georgeson (Curves for Women), Kelly Kennedy (NCDS Career Works-Job Connect), Renate Winkler (Pharmasave), Angela Halvorsen (RRFDC), and Joanne Bliss (RBC Investments);
•Entrepreneur of the Year—Murray and Shelly Wepruk (Dory’s Fish Market/Premiere Video & Northland Title Searching), Chris Morris (Elite Plumbing), Jackie Lampi-Hughes (Energy Motivation Inc.), Leo VanderWekken (Lilac Hill Wood Works), Jason Lilley (Northridge Funeral Home), Rick Pollard (Speed Shield), and Jeff Wright (Wright Physiotherapy);
• Lifetime Achievement Award—Chuck Arpin, Jim Cumming, Gord McBride, and Glenn Witherspoon;
•Safety Award (Business)—CN Rail, K&M Trucking, and Rainy River District Substance Abuse Prevention Team;
•Safety Award (Individual)—Grace Silander (Fort Frances Ambulance Service), Emily Watson (Rainy River District Logging & Safety Committee), and Brian Gustafson (Fort Frances High School “chem-free” grad committee); and
•Tony Beyak Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award—Everett Freeman, Linda Hamilton, Linda Larocque, Diane Maxey, Bob Nye, and Robin Wright.