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Excellent businesses up for awards

Finalists have been named in 10 categories in the 2014 Business Excellence Awards.

The awards, given out by the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce, recognize businesses that contribute to Cranbrook's economic as well as social wellbeing.

Last week, the awards selection panel announced the five finalists in each category and opened voting for the winner, which will run until March 26.

In previous years, voting has been the deciding factor in which finalist wins the award. But this year, the selection panel will conduct interviews with each of the finalists to ensure the business is meeting or exceeding the category's criteria.

Voting will make up 30 per cent of the final decision, and the interviews will make up 70 per cent.

"The selection panel is so excited to be implementing all the improvements in the processes this year," said Linda Birch, a member of the selection panel. "We are just setting up the panel's interviews with all the finalists and can see that it will be a difficult decision with the calibre of the finalists in this list."

In the Customer Service Excellence category, the nominees are Cre-8 Hair Design, Culligan Water/Beachcomber Hot Tubs/Flaman Fitness, iDevice Repairs, Max's Place and the Painted Crate.

The Business Person of the Year category is dominated by women this year, with three of the finalists being female. The five people nominated are Debbie Whitehead, Denise Pallesen, Heidi Romich, Derek Kortschaga and Jay Pratt.

For Most Improved Business Image, the five nominees are Alpine Toyota, Initial Designs Custom Embroidery, Key City Gymnastics, Real Deals on Home Decor, and the Heid Out/Fisher Peak Brewing Company.

The small businesses up for Company of the Year with less than 16 employees are Culligan Water/Beachcomber Hot Tubs/Flaman Fitness, Initial Designs Custom Embroidery, Nutter's Bulk and Natural Foods, the Playpen Pet Boarding and Grooming, and the Vanity Room Salon and Day Spa.

Larger businesses with more than 16 employees that have been nominated for a Company of the Year award are East Kootenay Community Credit Union, the Heritage Inn, Home Hardware, North Star Motors, Royal LePage East Kootenay Realty, and the Heid Out/Fisher Peak Brewing Company.

For Tourism Excellence, the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, Genex Marketing, Kootenay Raft Company, Sam Steele Society, and Wildstone Golf Course have each been nominated.

The Retail Business of the Year award could go to Alpine Toyota, Muriel and Jane's General Store, Nutter's Bulk and Natural Foods, Real Deals on Home Decor, or Wells Photography.

The five nominees for Newsmaker of the Year are East Kootenay Foundation for Health, Gord McArthur, Key City Gymnastics, the Kootenay Ice and the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo.

In the Marketer of the Year category, the nominees are Alpine Toyota, Bridge Interiors, Cranbrook Dodge, St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino, and Wildstone Golf Course.

Finally, the nominees for Entrepreneurial Spirit are Caliper Machine and Hydraulics, Core Fitness, Hotshots Cafe, Muriel and Jane's General Store, and the Painted Crate.

Voting is open at until March 26.

The awards will be handed out a ceremony on April 5 at St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino.

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