The 75th annual Business and Community Excellence Awards were held on February 23rd at the Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa. The recipients and finalists are as follows:
Business of the Year Award
Sponsored by Summerland Credit Union
The economic health of Summerland is dependent upon the entrepreneurial spirit of our business community. This award recognizes an exceptional Summerland business whose commitment to overall best practice, customer service, employee relations, superior marketing and social media strategies, and positive public image leads the way and sets an example within our business community. This business is a well respected leader in our community.
Finalist: Okanagan Crush Pad (Owners Steve Lornie and Christine Coletta, Operations Manager Julian Scholefield)
OCP is a state of the art winery and custom crush facility, creating small lot, 100% BC wines, sourced from family-owned, sustainably-farmed vineyards, mostly in the Okanagan Valley. Home to house brands of wine plus many other custom crush client owned brands, they provide a range of services to clients: vineyard management & winemaking, business planning, branding & marketing, sales & distribution, licensing and communications.
- Okanagan Crush Pad was the first winery in Canada to use egg-shaped concrete fermenters for wine storage, which allows for some oxidation without imparting oak flavour.
- House owned vineyards are being converted to biodynamic farming and are home to innovative vineyard practices.
- They started with nine clients and most recently expanded to twelve.
- OCP recently launched their wine club called The Club@Crush Pad, and also work to market Summerland as a tourism destination.
- OCP Operations Manager Julian Scholefield serves as President of the Bottleneck Drive Winery Association.
- In November 2012 OCP co-owner Christine Coletta was named as ‘One to Watch’ in Vancouver Magazine’s 12th Annual “Power 50” list of influential people.
- OCP and their wines have been favorably reviewed in dozens of publications including: Wine Access, Vines Magazine, Western Living, Maclean’s.
- “A model for a collaborative approach to wine making.” – The Grower, Dec. 2012
Recipient: Colin Powell, Summerland IGA
Marketplace IGA provides grocery and food services to the Summerland community. In 2012, under the guidance of owner Colin Powell, the store added new and improved lighting, better signage, increased selection and variety, and increased competitive pricing.
- The store provides extensive staff training.
- They recently enhanced their selection of popular fresh, organic and gluten free products.
- IGA has increased their hours of operation for customers, which also contributes to more hours for employees.
- Their recent addition of the Orchard Bistro has added charm to the store’s atmosphere and provides a new service for customers.
- Community contributions include raising in excess of $10,000 for the Summerland Food Bank, as well as contributions to Summerland Minor and Junior hockey programs, Summerland School District Programs, and Gold sponsorship for the 25th Festival of Lights
- Colin is a hands-on owner, on the floor working with staff and providing customer service.
- Colin recently received the H.Y. Louie Retailer of the Year Award for 2012 from IGA’s head office.
Trade Services Excellence Award
Sponsored by Brown Benefits
The Trade Services Excellence Award recognizes a tradesperson in the community who has provided superior trades services to a client or customer. This person or business has exceeded the expectations of their clients.
Recipient: Les and Susan McAvany and family, Tirecraft Summerland
Les and Susan took over Tirecraft in 2009, and since then have focused on improving the appearance of the business and supporting local events and non-profits. The family-run business employs between 6-7 people, all from Summerland, and they are known locally for their excellent customer service.
- The company runs a free customer consultation service with their certified child seat safety technician.
- In 2012 a Summerland Review article noted how Tirecraft provided the Summerland non-profit Neighbourlink with 10 hours of labour and $300 in new parts in order to bring a Neighbourlink donated van up to good running condition so it could be given to a local single mother in need of transportation.
- They regularly support the Penticton speedway and have supported the local Roller Derby team with space for car wash fundraisers.
Finalist: Trevor Steffler, Trevor’s Lawn Care
Trevor’s Lawn Service provides lawn care and snow removal services in Summerland. In the last year, word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients has helped Trevor increase his customer base. Clients who put forward Trevor’s Lawn Care for nomination praise his loyalty and reliability, as well as his attention to detail and overall professionalism. Along with his business, Trevor volunteers his time at local non-profits and events.
- Volunteer, Agur Lake Camp Society
- Volunteer, Rotary Swing for Kids
- Volunteer, Fest of Ale in Penticton
- Volunteer, Penticton Home Show
- Proud supporter of Summerland Steam
Professional Services Excellence Award
Sponsored by Petkau Information Technology
The Professional Services Excellence Award recognizes a professional in the community who has provided superior professional services to a client or customer. This person or business has exceeded the expectations of their clients. The professional represents a diverse group of Summerland businesses and can be defined as someone who has received specific training and specializes in a particular field.
Finalist: Denese Espeut-Post, Avery Law Office
Avery Law Office provides professional legal services and specialized services in winery law.
Denese has developed a strong reputation for providing high quality, genuine and personal legal services, and the company’s website includes numerous glowing customer testimonials.
Denese teaches Wine Law at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College and regularly shares her valuable knowledge through her Legal Libations column in Orchard & Vine Magazine.
Avery Law supports numerous community events and non-profit groups, including Summerland Rotary, and supported the Summerland Kinsmen Club by providing space for their fishing pond attraction during the 25th Festival of Lights.
Denese volunteers her time with the Community Cultural Development Committee.
Denese is an active member of the business community, regularly attending Chamber networking functions, and is a member of the Summerland Merchants Committee.
Recipient: Kim Lawton, DogLeg Marketing & Business Solutions
DogLeg Marketing & Business Solutions partners with clients to create and orchestrate marketing plans and business solutions. They work with clients to set and achieve marketing goals, reach and retain new clients, and write or update marketing materials such as ads, newsletters, brochures and websites.
Kim Lawton is an active community volunteer and is also very active in the Summerland business community:
Kim has provided marketing workshops for the Summerland Chamber and Community Futures as well as providing marketing mentorship to new business owners through Community Futures.
Kim is a past Director and Vice President of Junior Chamber International.
Past Director and Vice President, Summerland Chamber of Commerce.
Kim’s professional web site abounds with glowing customer testimonials.
Kim has received corporate awards from both Pepsi and Colgate.
Kim is a Fellow of JCI Canada and recipient of life-time membership in Penticton club.
DogLeg Marketing was the winner of the Home Based Business Award at the 2011 Business and Community Awards.
DogLeg Marketing was acknowledged by Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton in the Penticton Herald for supporting tourism marketing by helping promote the wine and food industry online.
Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence Award
Sponsored by Community Futures
The Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence Award is presented to a business that has strengthened the economic base of Summerland through development, manufacturing or fabrication of a product. Innovation, growth and sustainability are attributes this business demonstrates.
Finalist: Al Klar, Range Rider Truck Canopy Specialists (R&R Plastics)
Founded in 1983, Range Rider builds and supplies truck canopies and tonneau covers of the highest quality and design.
- The company is consistently developing new designs to adapt to newer vehicles
- Range Rider has dealers throughout B.C., Alberta and Washington State, with independent dealers throughout Canada, Washington, Alaska, and occasionally ships to New Zealand and Australia.
- The company has grown over the years and currently supports 25 local employees.
- Al is past president of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce, and also sits on the UBC advisory board in Kelowna and was a director for the Okanagan Partnership, South Okanagan.
- Al owns and manages a family orchard in Keremeos and has served as a director of the Okanagan Valley Fruit Authority for four consecutive terms.
Recipient: Tom and Natalie Fischer, Ogopogo Meats and Sausages
Ogopogo Meats and Sausages has provided quality meat cutting and sausage making, focusing on organic and all natural meats and sausages. Tom is a master sausage maker from Germany with the highest level of training. The company uses only naturally raised, free-range, grass fed and finished (grain free) meats.
- In 2012 the company built a new production facility on Alder Street and in late 2012 added a factory direct retail space.
- They recently completed construction of a government-approved mobile slaughter trailer that will provide a safe and convenient way for Okanagan farmers to process their livestock.
- They continue to take on new retailers for their products in the Okanagan and are making in-roads in other areas of B.C.
- Focus on health: Tom has developed a way of producing sausage that retains the typical colour associated with most sausages but without the use of nitrate/nitrite.
- They continue to provide a valuable service to local hunters by processing game meat.
Retail Excellence Award
Sponsored by The Summerland Review
Skilled retailing requires an attention for detail in aesthetics, atmosphere, location and merchandise. The Retailing Excellence Award recognizes a retailer who has been proactive to changing market trends, embraced new technology or ideas and has combined skilled marketing with good selling practices. This retailer is a leader in the merchant community. Strong relationships with employees and customers are essential.
Finalist: Lorraine & Cyril Taylor, A&A Mini Storage and Wine Cellar
A & A Mini Storage provides long-term and short-term storage options. They offer indoor and outdoor storage, pallet storage and wine cellaring. The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013.
- Over the years they have focused on building new and differently sized outside storage units to meet needs of customers, including pallet storage.
- The company’s professional wine cellar available for people to store wines in a temperature and light-controlled environment.
- A&A continues to work to create new and innovative storage products.
- Cy and Lorraine have worked diligently on numerous marketing efforts, including upgrading their website and creating a professional marketing video in 2012. They welcomed fellow Chamber members by hosting a Business after Business event in 2012.
- A&A Mini Storage is known for quality customer service, and numerous glowing customer testimonials on their website attest to this.
Recipient: Jennifer Kole, Suburban Princess
Suburban Princess Clothing Boutique is a Summerland retailer carrying overstock shoes, clothing and accessories from major US department stores. They supply designer labels at significant discounts.
- Suburban Princess began as an E-bay store in 2006 before moving to an upstairs location on Main Street.
- In 2012 Suburban Princess was able to expand and move their store location to the Main Floor of their building. Extensive renovations have made this an attractive destination store in town.
- Jennifer works diligently works to grow her social media reach, and has reached more than 2600 followers on Facebook.
- In 2012, Suburban Princess won Best Women’s Fashion store and Best Fashion Accessories store in the South Okanagan, as chosen by readers in Okanagan Life Magazine’s Best of the Okanagan.
Tourism and Hospitality Excellence Award
Sponsored by Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
An individual, business or organization that has promoted Summerland as a tourist destination and that promotion has led to a positive impact on the economic health of our community. This award winner works well with others in the industry and shows leadership by the use of cross-promotions and innovative marketing strategies.
Recipient: Cameron and Christa-Lee Bond, Local Lounge * Grille
Local Lounge*Grille is a multifaceted food and wine concept that merges casual sophistication with an upbeat urban style. Large local VQA wine selection coupled with a menu that blends classic styles with seasonal local ingredients.
- Local provides many direct and indirect local jobs, including the opportunity for Summerland youth to get vital first work experience.
- The restaurant is known for its support of local growers and promoting Summerland produce and wines, and in 2012 Eat Magazine awarded Local Lounge*Grille with the following awards: Restaurant of the Year, Best Wine List, Best Dessert, Best Customer Service, Best restaurant cooking local, Best Dish of the Year (Okanagan Cherry Spareribs), Best Place to eat Sustainable Seafood.
- In 2011 Chef Paul Cecconi won the award for best seafood chowder at the BC Chowder Chowdown.
- For the past three years running, WinePress Northwest has named Local Lounge *Grille as having BC’s best wine list.
- In 2012, they hosted the “Thank God It’s Friday” fundraiser for the BC Hospitality Foundation
- The Local is a supporter Toys for Tots and Toonies for Teens and Summerland Food Bank, and supported the 25th Festival of Lights by hosting performer Andrew Allen and his band for dinner.
Finalist: Jan and Jack Fraser, Thornhaven Estates Winery
Established in 1999, Thornhaven Winery has become a destination winery in Summerland and indeed BC. Stainless steel tanks, French and American Oak barrels are used to create their distinctive handcrafted red and white wines. Cellar Master, Jason Fraser, and wine making consultant, Christine Leroux work together to create award-winning wines.
- Thornhaven enjoyed an incredible year in 2012, with a visit from The Lieutenant Governor of BC, the Honourable Steven L. Point, who presented them with the Lieutenant Governors Award for Excellence, for their Gewurtztraminer 2011.
- Their Gewurtztraminer 2011 also achieved a Gold medal at the BC Wine Awards.
- In 2012, Thornhaven was also listed as on of Canada’s top 25 wineries in Wine Access Magazine.
- Jack is past president of Bottleneck Drive Winery Association and continues to be an active member of the board.
- Thornhaven’s extensive marketing and promotional efforts have helped shine a spotlight on Summerland as a tourist destination of choice.
Rising Star (New Business) Award
Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank
This award recognizes a business that has been operating for less than two years. The business has demonstrated strong potential via growth, innovation, and leadership during the first years of operation. Additionally, the business has demonstrated a culture of risk-taking and trailblazing and has positioned itself to achieve similar successes in the future.
Finalist: Dean Colpitts, North West Technology Inc.
North West Technology Inc. was founded in Edmonton in 2003 and Dean moved their head office to Summerland in 2012. The company specializes in leading edge industrial technology infrastructure. They design, supply and install solutions for the Mining, Oil and Gas, and Forestry industries as well as smaller industrial applications and larger commercial projects.
- They specialize in Fiber Optic & Copper Networks, Access Control Systems, Wireless Communications & Radio Systems, Satellite Systems, Security & CCTV Systems and Fire Alarm Systems.
- Their project list includes work in Nunavut, Venezuela, and Madagascar.
- The company is a member of the BC Mining Suppliers Association and has partnerships with international names such as Vicon, Motorola, and IBM.
- After moving to Summerland North West Technology Inc. completed extensive renovations to their new location in the James Lake Industrial Park, hiring local contractors to complete the building work.
- The company employs four local management staff, plus additional in B.C., Canada and worldwide, depending on their projects.
Recipient: Todd Laidlaw, True Grain Bread
True Grain Bread is an Old World inspired European bakery that specializes in fresh, local, organic, handcrafted bread. The first store opened in Cowichan Bay in 2004, and in Summerland in 2012.
True Grain is one of the only bakeries in the province to grind its own flour, and the dedication to a traditional, European way of baking helps to make it a destination bakery for Summerland.
- Since moving to Summerland, True Grain has undertaken substantial renovations to interior and exterior of the building, using local contractors.
- Along with several full-time staff, hiring local students helps to provide vital work experience for youth.
- Todd has quickly become an active community member and a supporter of local events including the Fall Fair (hosted an educational grain milling activity station) and Festival of Lights (Gold sponsor)
- Todd works to partner with other local businesses for tasting events and sources local products that compliment the bakery’s offers.
Sustainability Leader Award
Sponsored by Avery Law Office
The Sustainability Leader Award recognizes any business that operates in an environmentally responsible manner and/or produces a product that reduces natural resource consumption, supports local community and supports the local economy. This award celebrates excellence in green practice, strategy and products, seeking out the most innovative, ambitious and effective initiatives by Summerland businesses for achieving environmental sustainability, and implementing smart business practice.
Finalist: Raj Singh, Qualas Development Corporation
Qualas was one of the first BuiltGreen builders before sustainable building practices became a popular trend. For many years they have been building homes in Summerland featuring a range of eco-friendly features, including low flow faucets, dual-flush toilets, environmentally friendly flooring, and high efficiency furnaces, heat pumps appliances and windows.
- CEO Raj Singh serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association South Okanagan and Habitat for Humanity South Okanagan.
- His volunteer work includes work with the Summerland Food Bank, and Raj was the recipient of the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008.
- In 2011 Qualas was recognized as a top builder as voted by readers Okanagan Life Magazine.
- One of their customers boasts: “We were immediately impressed by the Qualas home – especially by the quality of the construction, the building materials and design and by how ‘green’ the house is! Our home boasts an energy efficient rating of 83.”
- They are known for their quality assurance and personal customer service.
Recipient: Gillian and Mike Stohler, SummerGate Winery
One of the smallest wineries in B.C., SummerGate Winery has developed a strong reputation among wine lovers looking for great tasting, earth-friendly wine. Owners Gillian and Mike Stohler converted a conventionally run vineyard to organic starting in 2008 and now grow certified organic grapes.
- The use of natural techniques such as reduced crop yield, special canopy and vineyard management practices ensure high quality fruit without the use of pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.
- The grapes are hand harvested and gently pressed before being slowly fermented in small batch stainless steel tanks (locally purchased from Ripley’s Stainless).
- The Stohler’s engaged the help of Okangan Wild Brush Honey, who keep and tend ten bee hives on the vineyard, benefiting the surrounding fruit orchards and hay fields.
- The Stohler’s involve their fans during harvest time, sending out email invitations to join in the harvest and learn about their wine-making process. They are also a host farm for the international WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms), allowing viticulture students around the world to stay and learn sustainable practices.
- In 2011 they launched their first “Bring Back the Bottle” campaign for Earth Day and in 2012 they saw a 17 % return rate.
Technology and Innovation Award
Sponsored by Accelerate Okanagan
This award will be given to a business that has used technology to create a business concept that is new or unique, or has applied innovative improvements to existing processes, products, or services. There must be a degree of success associated with the utilization of the innovation, with productivity improvements and/or increased sales as a result.
Recipient: Jai Zachary, ElectroMotion Energy
Incorporated in 2009, ElectroMotion Energy is a clean energy technology that uses combined heat and power (CHP) to replace conventional heating, cooling and hot water systems with one complete unit known as the Revolution. It combines energy efficient heat pump technology with a natural gas-fired generator, which allows homeowners to generate their own electricity and heat or cool their homes.
- After three years of work, the first model of the Revolution was unveiled in 2012.
- The Revolution consolidates hot water heating, space heating, air conditioning and backup electricity into one unit.
- The sharing of energy between the different systems reduces energy costs, emissions, consumption and grid dependency by as much as 70 %, while also providing emergency power and heat.
- Excess electricity is shared with the grid, providing energy security and independence, and even financial gain.
- The company’s goal is to become the industry choice for combined heat and power generation.
- During a power outage in October, 2012, a Summerland home using ElectroMotion Revolution technology reported no power disruption.
Finalist: Neal Carter, Okanagan Specialty Fruits
Led by apple and cherry grower and bioresource engineer Neal Carter, OSF is a small agriculture biotechnology company that specializes in developing tree fruit varieties with novel attributes that benefit fruit producers and consumers. Founded in 1996, OSF is one of the first firms in the commercial tree fruit industry to pursue use of genetic engineering and/or precision breeding to deliver product innovations.
- OSF is known for developing the non-browning apple varieties known as the Arctic® apple. In 2012, public comment periods were undertaken in Canada and the USA under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the US Department of Agriculture. More than 3,000 comments were received in Canada and a further 2,000 in the USA.
- OSF hopes for Canadian approval for the Arctic® apple in 2014. A second final comment period will begin in 2013 in the USA.
- OSF continues to work on developing Arctic® apple varieties including Golden Delicious and Granny Smith.
- In 2012 Neal was a guest speaker at Penticton Tedx, speaking on the value of agricultural biotechnology.
Citizen/Volunteer of the Year Award
Sponsored by Nester’s Market
The Citizen/Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes a Summerland individual who has demonstrated exemplary dedication the people of Summerland and who inspires others by their volunteer commitment to the community. This community leader is motivated by their desire to support Summerland and gives freely of their time, talents and energy in local organizations, festivals and special projects.
Finalist: Dr. David Gregory
Dr. David Gregory is a noted local historian who gives countless hours of his time to assisting local historical and cultural groups, and promoting the community of Summerland through guided historical tours and writing for various publications.
- Volunteer member of the the District of Summerland’s Cultural Development committee
- Volunteer board member of the District of Summerland Heritage Commission
- Volunteer member of the Chamber of Commerce Tourism Advisory Committee
- Volunteer board member of Summerland Museum
- Editor of the Okanagan Historical Society annual report
- Leads Brigade Trail tours in conjunction with the Meadowlark Festival
Recipient: Mrs. Valerie Wright
To those who she helps in the community, Valerie is an irreplaceable volunteer and friend. Working tirelessly behind the scenes, she provides a foundation of support through her work with local youth.
- Volunteers to organize and execute fruit picks for the Summerland Fruit Tree Project.
- Volunteers to distribute fruit to different organizations for Summerland Fruit Tree Project
- Runs the Giants Head Elementary School’s Breakfast Club, coordinating volunteers, funds and students.
- Volunteer Board member for Summerland Asset Development Initiative where she serves as a board liaison between the youth centre and staff and the rest of the board.
- Volunteer at SADI for community events such as Festival of Lights, Canada Day, Fall Fair, Easter in the Park, etc.
- Host to international students through a work and stay program.
- Donates time to mentor students.
Mayor’s Award of Excellence
Given at the discretion of the Mayor, the Mayor’s Award of Excellence honors an organization in our community whose overall contribution to the community has been outstanding.