Out of the box and down the catwalk, the 2018 Spruce Grove Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala was anything but average.
Local business owners, their staff, and dignitaries alike gathered at Zender Ford on Saturday for the 22nd annual gala. This year, in addition to the awards, organizers were able to shine the spotlight on a local company by rolling out a catwalk and holding a one-of-a-kind fashion show, with 10 local models including City of Spruce Grove Councillor Dave Oldham, and Chamber board chairperson Rik Kaminsky.
“We were trying to raise the bar and do something different that was highly entertaining to the community as a whole. We were really appreciative of Zender Ford allowing us to be really invasive in their building,” said Chamber CEO Brenda Johnson.
The hosts, Zender ford, were also nominated forand ultimately took home the Business of The Year over $3 million Award. They beat out StrongCo, Handican and Grove Collision to earn the accolade. This was the company’s first time earning business of the year honours.
“We were surprised but obviously really happy that we won the award. This is a family business. We’ve been here since 1984, and we pride ourselves on being here in the community, so it’s an honour to win this award,” said co-owner Shayne Zender.
Kids at Play Daycare earned recognition with the New Business of the Year Award, while The Parlour took home the People’s Choice Award. Jamie Lynn-Pitts earned the Volunteer of the Year Award for her efforts in the community, and Ben Loates took home Marketer of the Year accolades, beating out Ken Morrison and Perks Coffee.
Perks did have their moment shortly after, when they were named the Business of The Year Under $3 million.
“It’s obviously a huge honour to win the business of the year award. It was funny we were up for marketer of the year against Ben Loates and Ken Morrisson, and we all kind of made a video talking about stealing each others awards. If we won the marketer award, Ben was supposed to run up say I thought you called out Ben, not Ken,” said Perks owner Ken Turlock.“He won it and that was well deserved, but he actually was texting us back and forth and let us know we won our award.”
The Chamber is unsure whether or not they will keep the fashion show model for the 2019 awards gala, but Johnson said if they do, it will be a project the whole community can participate in. Whether they are rolling out the hottest trends or sticking with a more traditional show, the Chamber says they will be looking forward to finding new ways to celebrate local businesses, after a wildly entertaining 2018 gala.
“We want to recognize all of the businesses and sponsors that made the awards a reality,” said Johnson. “Every finalist is highly nervous beforehand. It’s a big night for them. Obviously it matters who the recipient is, but all of these businesses have been nominated by the community, from the Chamber perspective that means they’ve all won.”