Pride in community and appreciation of staff was the common theme during the acceptance speeches at the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce annual Business Excellence Awards banquet.
A total of 70 businesses and individuals were in the spotlight and up for nomination in nine categories Saturday night at the Elk’s Hall.
Lake City Ford Sales took home the Greatest Improvement Award with the company’s impressive new building and location along Highway 97.
Lake City Ford Sales general manager David Wong told the crowd he’s proud that the company achieved their goal of hiring more than 80 per cent local contractors for the large build and that Williams Lake was a great community to live and work in.
4Sure Bistro took home the Food Services Award with an emotional speech from the owner who said their goal was to create a family diner and, through that vision, also gained a second family in their dedicated, hard-working staff.
Lori Macala was named Community Booster for her many hours volunteering in the community with such groups as the Stampede Association, Williams Lake Studio Theatre, Station House Gallery, Meals on Wheels, Daybreak Rotary and the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce.
Macala said she was humbled by the honour and thankful to live in such a wonderful community.
The Child Development Centre/Cariboo Autism Centre took home the Newsmaker of the Year Award with their vision to help local families living with autism through the building of the new autism centre and the overwhelming community support the project received from individuals and businesses.
The Hugo Stahl Memorial Award was given to Charlene Harrison, an active chamber member for many years.
When she took the stage, Harrison was visibly shaken by the honour and expressed her gratitude for being recognized for her work on many committees and task forces in which she advocates for positive changes in the community.
It was hat’s off to the Williams Lake Stampede Association who shone in the spotlight after winning the Hospitality/Tourism Award.
Celebrating its 90th Stampede this year, past president Fred Thomas attributed the association’s success to its army of some 250 volunteers who work hard to put on the event and the 16,000 fans who take in the rodeo every year.
The Customer Service Award went to 150 M & S Tire and Service for their friendly and knowledgable service and commitment to sponsoring youth sports in the community.
Pioneer Log Homes of BC received the Manufacturer of the Year Award.
Pioneer’s André Chevigny was given the biggest applause of the night after the Timber Kings star took to the stage to give an inspirational acceptance speech about the pride he has in his family, his 125-plus staff and his community and how the company uses their position to showcase Williams Lake and Canada and to also give back to deserving causes.
“If you’re not making a difference in this world, what are you friggin’ here for?” he asked the crowd.
The last award of the night was handed out to a surprised Save-On-Foods staff, who took home the coveted 2016 Business of the Year trophy.
Save-On-Foods won the award for making a number of changes and upgrades in the store to exceed customer expectations and needs.
Nomination forms filled out by community members applauded the store’s manager Randall Bamford for the decision to take out the coin slots on the buggies and for supporting many efforts and activities in the community.
Bamford thanked the crowd and attributed the store’s success to its more than 100 staff members.