By Pioneer Staff

Returning from the 2011 Columbia Valley Business Excellence awards earlier this week with one of the winning trophies clutched in our hot little hands was a very gratifying experience.

As the recipient of this years Small Business Excellence Award, it would be easy for us Pioneer staffers to indulge in a little back-patting, but the truth is, we are just one of many businesses that weave together to form the fabric of this valley.

Over 150 individuals and businesses were nominated by valley residents for these 14th annual business awards, with nominees ranging from volunteer-driven non-profits to large resorts with hundreds of employees, and everything in between.

It is easy to forget during the valleys summer days when our streets, parks and beaches are thronged with visitors, that this area has its share of lean times. From large resorts to one-man operations, the efforts of our local workers help to raise the level of this valley as a whole.

Through banding together and striving for excellence, as our local businesses and workers do so well, we help keep one another going when times get tough. Coming together to celebrate our business community is a reminder of how many of us are working towards the same goals.

A community newspaper is nothing without a vibrant community and business community to support it. Since 2004, The Pioneer has been striving to keep residents up to date with all the latest news, to provide information and snap eye-catching photos of people enjoying our natural playground.

But what really makes us fly is the people who live here; business owners and individuals who buy the advertising which keeps us producing papers and our readers and contributors, who help us fill our pages with your letters, photos, story ideas and much more.

Without you, we would be nothing. Our thanks to you and congratulations to all of this years Business Award winners and all of those nominated. Keep your eyes open for the full list and event photographs in next weeks Pioneer.