The Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce held its annual business awards on Oct. 23, via a virtual platform.
Strand Media and Cybertech 360 helped with the technical side of the evening, and the hosts, chamber president Barry Grant and MC Darcy Stingel, were staged at Cybertech 360.
Grant started off the evening by noting that the chamber’s 2020 theme started out as “Year of Vision,” but quickly became “100 ways to Pivot,” as the COVID-19 shutdowns began and businesses had to cope with ever-changing challenges.
Businesses had to come up with new strategies overnight, rethink their delivery methods and figure out how to expand their product offering, testing their creativity and resiliency, says Grant
“It wasn’t business as usual, but we’re still going to celebrate business, as usual.”
Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett addressed the award hopefuls and chamber members in a pre-recorded message.
“Even if we can’t all be together in person, it’s so important for us to celebrate our local businesses,” said Bonnett.
The Town of Ponoka has issued 486 business licenses this year so far.
“Every one of those businesses help make Ponoka a strong and vibrant community to live in,” he said.
“I know it’s been a difficult year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but supporting our businesses and our economic growth in our community is this council’s top priority.”
Speeches were also given by Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, and Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins, in pre-recorded messages.
“First of all, I want to cheer for all of you who have survived the last seven or eight months. You have persevered under the triple threat of the largest public health crisis in this century, the largest global economic contraction since the 1930s and an unprecedented collapse in Alberta energy prices,” said Orr.
“That you are even here is a testament to your resilience, determination and heroic efforts. Kudos and cheers to all of you.”
Orr went on to say that some businesses have even thrived with new ventures, or made “investments now for a future they have the courage to see.”
”2020 has been a very difficult, challenging year for a lot of businesses, organizations and individuals, not only in our community, but right across the country,” said Calkins.
“I just want to say thank you to all of you that have stepped up, and stood out, during this really difficult time, and I know that you’ll be recognized and rewarded tonight for your efforts.”
Each winner received a $50 gift card from Boston Pizza.