Chamber calls for awards nominations

The Business Excellence Awards are back and better than ever with nominations now open.

The Business Excellence Awards are back and better than ever with nominations now open through the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce.

The awards recognize businesses that contribute to Cranbrook’s economic as well as social wellbeing, “businesses that uphold their community’s status as well as their business’s status,” said Linda Birch, a member of the newly formed Selection Committee.

Businesses don’t need to be members of the Chamber of Commerce to win an award, but businesses that have won in the same category within the past two years can’t win again.

There are nine categories, and you can nominate someone in one or all of these categories online until Wednesday, Feb. 26 at www.cranbrookchamber.ca.

The Customer Service Excellence Award recognizes any business that shows exceptional customer service, and relies on a customer base for the success of the business. Spring Honda won the award last year.

The Business Person of the Year Award recognizes a torchbearer of change whose standards of excellence and personal style create opportunities for others. The category acknowledges someone who excels in all areas of business and displays leadership in the community.

“The business person of the year award doesn’t have to be someone who only did something in 2013; it just happens to be that year’s award,” explained Birch.

Last year’s recipients were David and Corey Spring.

The Most Improved Business Image Award looks for a business that made major improvements to their image in 2013, whether it is renovations to the business, new programs or improving the quality of their product or service. Last year, Kootenay Granite took home this award.

There are two categories for Company of the Year: one for businesses with less than 16 employees, and one for businesses with 16 or more employees. This award is for businesses that have shown excellence in employee relations, customer service, vision, growth and productivity, product innovation and technology, and contributions to the community. In 2013, Living Stones Development won in the 16-plus category, and Sweet Gestures in the smaller business category.

The Tourism Excellence Award, previously awarded to the Cranbrook Farmers’ Market, is aimed at businesses, organizations or individuals that have made contributions to the community and the tourism industry.

The Retail Business of the Year Award recognizes a retailer who demonstrates innovation through merchandising, marketing, community leadership and sales growth. It was won last year by Bumble Tree.

The Newsmaker of the Year Award goes to a company, team or individual in Cranbrook that has made newsworthy contributions through business, political or private initiatives or achievements. Last year, Cranbrook band the Good Ol’ Goats won the award for their CBC Spotlight journey.

The Marketer of the Year Award is designed for a business that has excelled in locally marketing its products effectively through advertising, public relations and sales promotion. Last year, MJ’s Floral Design received the award.

This year, the award recipients will be chosen using a modified method. Previously, the sponsors of each category have narrowed down the submissions to five in their category. Then the Chamber of Commerce membership vote on which nominee should receive the award.

That process will still be followed; however, this year a Selection Committee has been struck to interview the five finalists in each category.

“That way we can ensure that not only is the criteria met or exceeded, but we can really get a feeling for why this business thinks they should win it,” said Birch.

“The existing system works, but we want to just raise the bar a bit more, and we want people to be really proud of winning these awards.”

The committee is made up of six members: Birch, who is manager of the Tamarack Centre, realtor Jason Wheeldon, 2013 Chamber president Mike Adams, former Citizen of the Year Nella Rounsville, Townsman publisher Karen Johnston and Bank of Montreal manager Mary Quinn.

The winner for each award will be chosen from the finalists with 30 per cent weight given to the votes of Chamber members, and 70 per cent weight given to the committee’s decisions after interviewing each of the finalists.

“We can get to know that business representative and ask, ‘What are you proud of? What makes you think you do really deserve this?'” said Birch. “They will have an opportunity to wow the panel.”

Birch said the awards are valuable to consumers because they indicate businesses that work hard for their customers, and support their community.

“It not only tells you businesses that are good to deal with, but it’s really important when a lot of these businesses support the community.”

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

Go to www.cranbrookchamber.ca for more information and to place a nomination.