The Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Awards Oct. 25 at the Kinsmen Community Centre to a full house of business and community people making it a night of celebration.
Chamber Executive manager Les Jaster enjoyed seeing so many worthy businesses represented in the nominee list.
“What’s not to like…All are deserving and all nominees are deserving,” Jaster said.
“Everyone I’ve talked to said it’s such a privilege to be nominated,” he added.
He had no problem keeping the winners a secret as Jaster was the only person to receive the results from the chamber’s Survey Monkey site where members voted for their favourite business in the category. The only category open to the public was for Customer Service Person of the Year, which received more than 800 votes. “I was ecstatic over that.”
Chamber president Jim Hamilton was pleased to see such growth in the chamber’s profile in recent years and attributed that to recruitment by chamber members of new businesses to membership. More businesses have voted this year as well. “It’s really exciting to be president of the chamber this year.”
“It is really impressive for all the businesses that were nominated,” Hamilton added.
And the winners are:
• Small business of the year: Jorgenson Homes
• Medium business of the year: Bob & Company Catering
• Large business of the year: Tim Hortons
• Agricultural business of the year: Don Laing Trailers
• Industrial business of the year: Town and Country Supplies
• Business person of the year: Dennis Jones
• Non-profit of the year: Ponoka Youth Centre
• Customer service person of the year: Loretta (Ski) Thompson with ATB Financial
For Grant Jorgenson, winning as a small business was surprising but he was grateful for the acknowledgment. “I really love this community. Ponoka is an awesome town.”
Sometimes there are challenges to being in business but he feels there is a buzz among Ponoka’s businesses that will positively affect the Town of Ponoka.
“Just to be nominated with those that have been nominated is an honour in itself,” added Jorgenson.
He credits his son Mark for bringing a fresh take on their business and for the many contractors they work with for being part of a greater team.
Deb and Bob Hepp thanked the staff for making their work possible. “Without them we wouldn’t be here.”
“I had some very stiff competition,” Bob added later.
For Inger Laing, winning the agricultural business category is a testament to her customers and she thanked them for helping her along the way. “Without them we would not be where we’re at.”
The Ponoka Youth Centre won as the non-profit of the year and director Beth Reitz said it was a great honour to win. “As you know we can’t exist without you.”
“All of you here have supported us over the years and it is such an honour to be part of a town that backs the youth like they do. It’s incredible for us to have the gift to work with the youth,” Reitz added.
There seemed to be much anticipation for the customer service person of the year and when Loretta (Ski) Thompson of ATB Financial won, many people cheered. For her, the customers make the job fun. She felt honoured to be among the other nominees and feel Ponoka has much to offer with customer service.