Chief Pilot and president Derek Robinson of Eclipse Helicopters. Western News file photo

Chief Pilot and president Derek Robinson of Eclipse Helicopters. Western News file photo

Business of the Year nominees are all community leaders

Nominees show their community pride by giving back

Acknowledging and celebrating high achievement to a Penticton business that stands out among peers as a leading organization, there are 16 businesses nominated for the Business of the Year Award (sponsored by Minuteman Press).

The nominees for the award, which will be handed out at the 31st annual Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards on Oct. 13, are all leaders in management, employee relations and employee training and development. They also all show true business excellence in overall operations, innovations in service, product or technology while demonstrating positive economic and/or social impact on the region.

The following businesses were all nominated for this award:

Area 27 — South Okanagan Motorsports Corporation is a membership-based motorsports park located in Oliver, in corporation with 11 owners (including former Formula 1 world champion Jaques Villeneuve). In their second year of operations thousands of people have passed through the facility.

Their economic impact is far-reaching from real estate development to the tourism industry. They also are good community partners, raising $50,000 for the YES Project in June through a live auction and $30,000 (even before they were operations) to Spirit of the Game — a South Okanagan charity that helps kids in sports.

The belief of “community over competition” is what has separated Duffy Baker Construction Corporation. The owners said they try to maintain a working relationship with all contractors and supply them with work when they can’t take another project on.

Their company culture has resulted in them doubling in size every year since they began servicing the South Okanagan five years ago. They currently have 16 full-time employees and sponsor four of their apprentices to help continue their education.

Duffy Baker Construction Corporation made the top five for Premier’s People’s Choice in the Small Business B.C. Awards, won the 2018 Trades Business of the year in the Thompson Okanagan Business Excellence Awards and work with many non-profits that have a goal to implement more affordable housing in the Okanagan.

Eclipse Helicopters Ltd. has been in operation since 1993 with a focus on quality service without compromise. They also support forestry management and fire control and the Penticton and District Search and Rescue in emergency situations. Eclipse gives back to the community through the Theo’s at 10,000 feet — a fundraiser for the OSNS.

A small, family-owned and operated (by Lauren and Mike Hughes) business, Grasslands Nursery and Gardens Supplies in Summerland was founded with a determination to conserve water for the Okanagan landscape.

The Hughes’ purchased the business four years ago contributes to the area by practicing healthy watering techniques and educating the public on how to conserve water, create dry landscapes and xeriscapes. They donate fresh produce to local families in need and churches and volunteer at local events. The nursery was honoured this past spring with the Summerland Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Jim Cressman could operate his company, Invictus Entertainment Group, from anywhere in the world but he chooses Penticton as his home.

Canada’s only 360-degree artist representation entity (through management, booking, promotions, marketing, and label services), Invictus is one of the most awarded, diverse and respected entertainment companies.

Invictus has been involved in over 50 shows at the South Okanagan Events Centre to-date and many of their artists have performed at local events such as the Peach Festival. The company focuses heavily on continuing education, personal and professional growth with their employees.

The tandem photographer team at Life and Love Photography specialize in capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments for their clients and that take that to heart by putting their clients first.

Their passion project, Boudoir Photography, helps promote body acceptance and positive through their work and photographing styles. They have partnered with other small business for their sessions and participate in cross-promotion.

In their first full year of business (2017) they participated and hosted a Penticton branch of Rock the Dress for Breast Cancer fundraiser, co-ordinating with photographers, makeup artists and hair stylists to offer sessions with all the funds going to breast cancer research. In 2018 they provided eight free graduation sessions to graduates who otherwise couldn’t afford them and gifted mini-boudoir sessions to hardworking single mothers who could use a confidence boost. They also work with Dragonfly Pond, the Breakfast Club and the food bank.

Melt Mineral Spa is entering its eighth year of business offering care and wellness to the community with a focus on guest experience and community support.

They hold a mission statement of “we will take care of our people, our people will take care of our guests and our guests will take care of us.” Providing year-round full-time employment in what is usually defined as a seasonal industry, their Friday morning staff meetings involve watching inspiring TED talks and discussing motivational material to fuel and encourage a positive atmosphere. Melt also encourages random acts of kindness from the staff to the guest.

Opening their doors in 1970, Moduline has been a leading producer of factory-built homes, producing approximately 35,000 homes for sale to independent retailers and builders.

During the past 48 years, they have grown to become one of the most recognized and respected builders of factory built and modular homes through Western Canada.

Their support to the community has left a big impact from local feedback, the fire truck pull for Muscular Dystrophy, minor sports, Ronald McDonald House and dry grad. They also built and donated the stalls for the Penticton Vees dressing room and their social committee raises money for local causes.

Shaun Kennedy started Moments Under Frame eight years ago and now is a full service media company from photos to videos.

Humble in his words, but big in actions as the company has been nominated for several years in a row for the Business of the Year award. For Kennedy it is all about providing excellence to his clients. As well he makes it a point to develop young photographers, hiring them for smaller jobs so they can get onsite training and make some extra money.

Down to earth creative food and drink using the Okanagan’s finest nectar, is how Randy Foster and Kristen (Fergy) Ferguson explain their business — the Nest & Nectar.

They opened with the intention of being more than just about food and beverage and in the past two years the space has been lent to not-for-profit organizations needing an area to meet, a girl guides troop looking for a commercial kitchen, art space, kids cooking classes, fundraisers and feeding the less fortunate.

They have a dedicated, talented culinary team and were awarded the Best New Business last year and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence among other accolades.

The Honey Fund Initiative they created gives back to groups that assist men, women, children, animals and mental wellness — raising and donating over $24,000 to the community. Their team of workers are more like family, sitting down every Sunday after their brunch service to enjoy a meal together. Their food is sourced, as much as possible, is sourced from local farmers and vendors.

Pearce Schneiderat, an independent, full service law firm assists their clients every step of the way through major life events.

They also work closely with community organizations and associations including 100 Women Who Care, the chamber, Rotary, Penticton Women in Business, Downtown Penticton Association, high school student work experience and the Access Centre Penticton.

The workplace is like second family for those at Pearce Schneiderat and that helps fuel their ability to provide the best service for their clients who mean the world to them.

Striving to be an innovator and leader in the wine industry, Poplar Grove Winery Inc. implements the community-minded business model. This has taken their wine to not only a well-reviewed stage nationally but on an international level as well.

Taking corporate social responsibility very serious, Poplar Grove works closely with the South Okanagan Women In Need Society providing donations and organizing functions like the Visit from Santa. They also donate to the SPCA, United Way, B.C. Children’s Hospital, local school/university fundraisers and many others.

Teamwork is essential to the staff at Poplar Grove as they know how important it is to exceed customer expectations.

Employing 147 people from the ages of 15 to 78, Save On Foods has been a strong economic partner in Penticton. They have a long history of supporting the Penticton Vees, the SOEC, Salvation Army Food Bank, Soupateria, schools and countless other events and organizations.

The Rotary Club of Penticton Starfish Backpack program is a partnership that they strongly believe in. It gives children a backpack full of food every Friday so they have food to eat over the weekend. Last year they provided 33 backpacks to families in Penticton.

Save On Foods is ranked number two as B.C.’s Most Loved Brands and is consistently in the top 10. Adding local B.C. Wine to their story offering, they are supporting over 1,000 different wines from the province.

Providing service to those in extremely stressful situations to ensure they get back on their feet, Total Restoration Services are experts in their field using the latest technologies in restoration techniques.

Since opening in 2009, in Penticton, they have grown to 13 full-time staff and employ casual labourers. The amount of referrals they receive speaks volumes about their customer service.

A core value of Total Restoration is giving back to the community, and not only through monetary donations. Their team volunteers their time to countless events and organizations. They also have a priority to look locally first when hiring sub-trade services, materials, advertising dollars and donation items. Total Restoration was the 2016 recipient of the Community Support Excellence award.

Also nominated for this award is Chic Mobile Boutique and Valley Medical Supply.

Penticton Western News

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