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Vote online for business awards


Voting is underway for the 20th-annual Rainy River District Business Awards.

Visit to vote for the most deserving businesses and individuals from more than 35 nominees in nine different categories.

The online voting process will run until this Sunday (Feb. 7) at 11:59 p.m., with awards to be given out at the business awards gala next Thursday (Feb. 11) at La Place Rendez-Vous.

After just one day of voting, the Chamber had received 827 votes, Chamber president Jennifer Greenhalgh told the Times this morning.

“We’ve never had that kind of response,” she marvelled.

The award categories, and the nominees for each,


  • Business of the Year—New Gold, CIBC, Cloverleaf Grocery, Hyatt’s Manion Lake Camp, and Betty’s of Fort Frances;
  • Employee of the Year Award—Alex Andrushuk (Curves) and Christina Kantor (Suds & Tubs Laundromat/Mekong);
  • Business Woman of the Year—Donna Lowey (Lowey’s Greenhouse & Market Gardens), Teresa Hazel (Copper River Inn), Inga Friesen (Merge2), Jess Comeau (807 Grafix), Jennifer Horton (Curvy Chick), Angel Andrushuk (Curves), and Pamela Williams (4 Your Pets);
  • Entrepreneur of the Year—Josh Leatherdale (Cheers U Brew), Brian and Pia Beers (H2O 2 GO), and Pamela Williams (4 Your Pets);
  • Home-Based Business Award—Merge2 (Inga Friesen), Stained Glass By Nichole (Nichole Lowey), and 807 Grafix (Jess Comeau);
  • Customer Service Award (Business)—4 Your Pets, Carl’s Eatery, CIBC, Curves, Odawayigamig, RBC, and Resolution Vapes;
  • Customer Service Award (Individual)—Bethany Friesen (Gillons’ Insurance), Chef Carl Scott (Carl’s Eatery), Curran Strachan (CIBC), Curtis Carlson (Sunny Cove Camp), Darlyss Krienke (Rusty Myers Flying Service), Deb Zimmerman (Tompkins Hardware), Heather Armstrong (Celeste’s), Paula Jensen (Shear Serenity), Ramiro Matias (Sunset Medical), Shelly Matias (RBC), Travis Chabot (Chabot’s All-Season Repair);
  • Tony Beyak Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award—Irene Laing, Leslie Feaver Danielson, and John Beaton; and
  • Small Business Trainer of the Year Award—M.L. Caron Electric Ltd. and Green’s Brand Source.

As of the nomination dealine at 5 p.m. on Monday, the Chamber saw a total of 50 nominations for the various awards.

“We have had a record number of nominations this year, which is excellent,” Chamber executive director Jennifer Soderholm enthused yesterday.

“Unfortunately, a few of the nominees have declined their nominations,” she added.

Greenhalgh reasoned that with the business awards proving so popular, tickets for the gala may be hard to come by.

Tickets will not be sold at the door and those interested in going should not hesitate to get theirs as soon as possible.

Tickets cost $45 each for Chamber members and $50 for non-members.

Chamber members can get their tickets at the Chamber office while non-members can get their tickets at Northwoods Gallery & Gifts.

The awards gala will include dinner and “The Wonderist” (Chris Funk), who was featured on the TV show, “Penn & Teller Fool Us.”

Cocktails at are 6 p.m., with dinner at 6:30.

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