Some 72 have been nominated. Only 10 will receive the awards.
With the seventh-annual Chamber of Commerce business awards coming up March 23, some individuals took time out to offer their thoughts on what is it means for them to be nominated.
Garnering the most nominations is Clinic Pharmasave and Pharmasave, with owner Kim Metke being nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year, Clinic Pharmasave being nominated for Business of the Year (1-15 employees), and Pharmasave being nominated for Business of the Year (16+ employees) and Customer Service (business).
Employees Carol Alton and Debbie Williamson are up for the Customer Service (individual) and Employee of the Year (private sector), respectively.
“I’m very pleased,” said Metke, who attributed the nominations to the Pharmasave’s change of location and the dedication of its employees.
“Over the past year, we were pretty busy with both businesses. Just recently, we did a customer service survey, which we do every two years.
“This year, we sent out 800 customer service surveys and got 200 back, which is very good. And we got a very positive response,” Metke added, noting increased and more efficient shelf space, and features like the pill-dispensing robot at Pharmasave, have boosted customer service over the past year.
But Pharmasave is no stranger to awards as Metke won Entrepreneur of the Year several years ago, and Pharmasave manager Nancy Keeler was given the Employee of the Year Award last year.
“I would love to receive the [Entrepreneur of the Year] award but if I don’t get it, I’m sure we’ll be recognized in some other area,” Metke said.
“The staff have been great—I’m very proud of them.”
Allen Kinnear, of KP Computers in Emo, said being one of the 10 nominees for Entrepreneur of the Year is “a big pump.”
“It’s kind of nice to be recognized. We’re a legitimate business, but we’re not really a high-profile, store-front business,” he noted. “And seeing the community recognize and support us is great.”
KP Computers opened its doors last August.
Also nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as Business of the Year (1-15 employees), is Vanessa Hebert of Weeza’s Gifts, Etc.
“I freaked out when I found out. It was so cool,” enthused Hebert, who first opened her store in Emo in January, 2001, and then relocated to Scott Street here back in October.
“But I’m being realistic about it. There’s definitely other businesses that are bigger, more deserving,” she added. “Still, I’m thrilled someone thought enough of me to nominate me.”
“We’re honoured to be nominated for any award that recognizes what we contribute to the community,” said Don Lovisa, campus manager of Confederation College here, which was nominated for the Northwest Training and Adjustment Board Award.
“The Chamber of Commerce awards have always been well-respected, and the selection process is thorough,” he remarked.
This is the first time the college has been nominated in the awards’ seven-year history, but Lovisa was nominated for Employee of the Year (not-for-profit) last year.
Someone who has been nominated for Employee of the Year (not-for-profit) this year is Margaret Sedgwick, chief librarian at the Fort Frances Public Library.
“It’s definitely an honour. I’m thrilled,” she remarked. “I have no idea who nominated me.
“I hope it reflects on the ‘Friends of the Library’ and the wonderful work they’ve done, like the renovations at the library,” said Sedgwick. “I also hope it reflects on the library program in general.”
Sedgwick has worked at the library for 25 years.
Sandra Tibbs said she was honoured to be nominated for the Abitibi-Consolidated Safety Award (individual/employee) for her work with the Girl Guides of Canada.
“It reflects my commitment to ensuring the Girl Guides are a safe and reputable organization,” she said. “And it shows the community that we’re not just anyone off the street—we’re dedicated to helping out in our community.”
Tibbs has been a member of the Girl Guides for about 25 years, and has had a leadership role for the past 15.
Three judges will determine the award winners, who will be unveiled at the banquet March 23 at the Red Dog Inn.