Business awards get makeover

The Western News’ Larry Mercier lends emcee Steve King a hand with the nominations at a previous Business Excellence Awards Gala. New categories have been added to the awards this year, as well as an easier nomination process. - Western News file photo
The Western News’ Larry Mercier lends emcee Steve King a hand with the nominations at a previous Business Excellence Awards Gala. New categories have been added to the awards this year, as well as an easier nomination process.
— image credit: Western News file photo

There are only a few days left to ensure your favourite business is included in the judging for this year’s business excellence awards.

Nominations close for the annual awards, sponsored by the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 31. John Devitt, the chamber’s general manager, said there are a number of nominations in the traditional categories, but they are still looking for nominees in some of the new categories introduced this year, like Agricultural/Agribusiness and Sustainability.

“It’s those new categories that have the fewest nominations so far. Everybody else has a minimum of four. Community Support has eight, Hospitality has 10, Retail has six,” said Devitt. “We can always use more across the board.”

Along with the Business of the Year, Business Leader of the year, and several other well-recognized awards presented by the chamber, this year’s gala will see the addition of Family Friendly Business Excellence, Workplace Culture Excellence, Sustainability Excellence, Professional Service Excellence and Agricultural/Agri Business Excellence.

“We hope to recognize a wider selection of the incredible businesses operating in Penticton,” said Devitt, who said they also made the nomination process easier.

Rather than the nominator having to gather information, Devitt said the chamber is only asking for business name, contact information and what award they are being nominated for.

“We will send out a questionnaire to follow up with the nominee themselves,” said Devitt. “If someone is up for an award, who knows better about their operations and their success than they themselves? In the past, I know it has been difficult for nominators to get a lot of background information on a specific nominee to be able to support the paperwork.

“Our organizing committee feels that has limited some of the nominations, just making it inaccessible for the background information.”

The importance of the annual Business Excellence Awards Gala goes beyond handing out trophies; Devitt said businesses contribute significantly to the community and economy but are often unsung heroes.

“There is no requirement for them to do any more than pay their bills and earn a living to support their families. But a lot of them go out of their way to provide a superior product or service, supporting the community and trying to make it a better place to live,” said Devitt. “You do it for the best of intentions, but it is always nice to be recognized for your efforts. Recognizing excellent businesses is saying thank you for being part of our community and thank you for doing what you do to support Penticton.”

It also, he said, gives others something to aspire to.

“These businesses are also role models in the community in terms of what they are doing operationally, or supporting the community or creating innovative ideas.”

Nominations are open until Jan. 31.  Full awards criteria can be found on the chamber’s website. Tickets are on sale for the awards gala evening on Feb. 22 at the Lakeside Resort. Seats can be reserved by calling the chamber office, or online at


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