Innovation and education are two of the elements the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce uses in its day-to-day operation to support businesses in the area. This year, in line with the upcoming 23rd Annual Business Excellence Awards on October 20, the Chamber added another element to the mix.  

The People’s Choice Award has been added to a long list of existing awards, and the Chamber is seeking votes from the general public for the business they think is outstanding, said Patrick Carrick, Chamber Membership/Events. 

“It’s good to bring the power to the people, so people can have a say in what excels,” he said. It turns out folks in the area are receptive to the Chamber’s initiative.

“We’ve been flooded,” Carrick said. “We’ve received hundreds and hundreds of votes for the People’s Choice Award.” 

Something else new at the event will be the awards to be presented to recipients.  “This year, like every year, we invite a local artist to create the awards themselves,” Carrick said. “This year it will be a business new to the valley – Pottery Playground. We look forward to seeing the final product.”

The Chamber is not part of selecting the finalists or the recipients of the awards. Carrick said an “independent committee made up of a vast array of community leaders that stretches the entire valley” selects the recipients.

Anticipation of the event is building. “We’re quite pleased with ticket sales to this point,” Carrick said. “We expect them to ramp up when the finalists are announced. We’ve had a lot more activity from people nominating business to begin with.”

Carrick said the awards event showcases the importance of bringing the business community in the valley together, to celebrate the entire Columbia Valley. “Whether you’re a large business or a small business, everybody comes together as an equal,” he said. The creator of the awards changes each year and so does the location of the event. “We move the event around the valley,” Carrick said. This year’s event will be held at the Ullr Bar.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Ullr Bar; they’re excellent at planning community events.”

Carrick noted, “We’re still making it a dress-for-success event, not so much a gala.”

In addition to the brand new  People’s Choice Award there are ten others: Community Builder Award: honours a business, organization or individual that demonstrates a commitment to building an inclusive and diverse community and has shown a tangible impact in our region; Sustainable Practices Award: honours a business or organization that demonstrates leadership in innovation and sustainable business practices and raises environmental awareness within our region; Outstanding Customer Service Award: honours a business or organization that is a leader in providing exceptional customer service and serves as an example of excellence to others; Employee(s) of the Year Award: honours an individual, team or department that demonstrates exceptional commitment to the growth & betterment of their business, serves as a positive example and are viewed as a superstar to their employer; Outstanding Workplace of the Year: honours a business or organization that demonstrates a commitment to a healthy workplace culture and employee prosperity through professional development, advancement opportunities and employee recognition; 

Youth Entrepreneur of the Year: honours an individual (25 years old or younger) who demonstrates initiative, exceptional entrepreneurial skills, significant community engagement and a passion for creating their own path in business; Businessperson of the Year: honours an individual who is the founder, owner, CEO, President or Senior Executive of a company(ies) who displays a significant commitment to the success of their business and serves as a leader or model for other businesspeople in our region; New Business of the Year: honours a new business or organization (opening after January 1, 2021) that has achieved outstanding business performance in a short period of time, demonstrates exceptional promise of continued growth and a commitment to the community; Non-Profit/Association of the Year: honours a non-profit organization or association that is providing outstanding contributions to our region through community improvement, inspiring & mobilizing others and effectively promoting their mission; Business of the Year: honours a business that demonstrates continual business excellence through positive business growth, displays a commitment to the community exemplifies superior customer service and embraces an outstanding commitment to quality. There are two categories within this award; one goes to a business with  1 -15 employees, a second award goes to a business with 15 or more employees.