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Nominees for Chamber business awards unveiled


While the numbers weren’t looking to great earlier last week, the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce saw a last-minute flood of nominations before the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday for its 11th-annual business awards.

“We ended up with a total of 74 nominees,” Chamber office manager Dawn Booth said yesterday. “We got our minimum three nominees in each of the categories.”

She added some categories got a very impressive response.

“For instance, Business of the Year [1-15 employees] has 13 different nominees and for Customer Service [Business], there’s 10 different nominees,” noted Booth.

This year’s nominees are as follows:

•Accessibility Award—Beta Sigma Phi, Canadian Mental Health Association, and Sybil Mowe;

•Business of the Year (1-15 employees)—Energy Motivation Inc., Fort Frances Clinic Dispensary, Fort Frances General Supply, Kreger Sales and Service, Lee Garden, North Auto, Northridge Funeral Home, Peter’s Plumbing & Heating, Pharmasave, Rempel Furniture, Stratton Community Store, Trail’s End Lodge, and Wright Physiotherapy;

•Business of the Year (16+ employees)—Ed Kaun & Sons Ltd., John Gavel Custom Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Manitou Forest Products, Tim Hortons, and Wal-Mart Canada;

•Business Woman of the Year—Cathy and Colleen Perreault (Couchiching Convenience Complex), Kelly Spicer (Curves for Women), Jackie Lampi-Hughes (Energy Motivation Inc.), Susan Bodnarchuk (Holmlund Financial Services), Dorothy Friesen (New Life Clinic), Connie Cuthbertson (Northwoods Gallery & Gifts), Renate Winkler (Pharmasave), Deb Cornell (Rainy River Elk Company) and Angela Halvorsen (Rainy River Future Development Corp.);

•Customer Service (Business)—Aya’s Reflexology & Japanese Body Massage, Energy Motivation Inc., Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Fort Frances General Supply, Jayne’s TLC, Pinewood Sports & Marine, Rainy Lake Sports & Tackle, Stratton Community Store, Trail’s End Lodge, and Wal-Mart Canada;

•Customer Service (Individual)—Chris Kivimaki (Acklands Grainger), Neila Booth (Gourmet Outfitters), Bob Gustafson (Holmlund Financial Services), Jean-Marc Blanc (La Place Rendez-Vous), Jason Lilley (Northridge Funeral Home), Russ Ling (Tagg’s Source for Sports), Renate Winkler (Pharmasave), and Joanne Bliss (RBC Royal Bank);

•Employee of the Year—Arlene Georgeson (Curves for Women), Kelly Kennedy (NCDS Career Works-Job Connect), Renate Winkler (Pharmasave), Angela Halvorsen (RRFDC), and Joanne Bliss (RBC Investments);

•Entrepreneur of the Year—Murray and Shelly Wepruk (Dory’s Fish Market/Premiere Video & Northland Title Searching), Chris Morris (Elite Plumbing), Jackie Lampi-Hughes (Energy Motivation Inc.), Leo VanderWekken (Lilac Hill Wood Works), Jason Lilley (Northridge Funeral Home), Rick Pollard (Speed Shield), and Jeff Wright (Wright Physiotherapy);

• Lifetime Achievement Award—Chuck Arpin, Jim Cumming, Gord McBride, and Glenn Witherspoon;;

•Safety Award (Business)—CN Rail, K&M Trucking, and Rainy River District Substance Abuse Prevention Team;

•Safety Award (Individual)—Grace Silander (Fort Frances Ambulance Service), Emily Watson (Rainy River District Logging & Safety Committee) and Brian Gustafson (Fort Frances High School Chem-Free Grad Committee); and

•Tony Beyak Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award—Everett Freeman, Linda Hamilton, Linda Larocque, Diane Maxey, Bob Nye, and Robin Wright;

(Note: Some of the nominees for the awards were nominated more than once in each category).

The winners will be announced at the Chamber’s annual business awards gala, taking place Saturday, Oct. 28 at La Place Rendez-Vous.

“We do hope to have a full crowd out, and with the amount of nominees we have, it shouldn’t be a problem,” said Booth.

The gala will feature dinner, a silent auction and, of course, the awards ceremony. Cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7.

The awards program will get underway around 8:30 p.m. and run for two hours or so.

Tickets are available now at the Chamber office. They cost $45 for Chamber members and $50 for non-members. A table of 10 gets a discount.

Call Booth at 274-5773 for more info.

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