The Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce have recognized four businesses this year that not only show a commitment to excellence, but to the community of Nelson.
Traditionally, the chamber honoured just the business of the year, but this year has also given awards for professional service, retailing excellence and hospitality tourism.
“The board of directors decided that they wanted to continue to expand our commitment to the business community,” said Tom Thomson, executive director of the chamber.
“We wanted to honour the people that are really showing a sustained commitment to a positive business development and economic growth within our community.”
This year, Shambhala walked away with business of the year, Studio 9 Architects was awarded with professional service excellence, Mountain Baby won retailing excellence and Baldface Lodge won hospitality tourism excellence.
“Shambhala has been really reaching out and coming back into the community,” said Thomson. “They’re helping out with different projects with Selkirk College, the skatepark, food banks, and they have great economic impact to our region.”
“It’s such an honour to be recognized by our local community, we’ve collected a couple awards over the last few years, but I think this one means more to me than the international awards even,” said Corrinne Zawaduk, production manager for Shambhala.
“We really owe a lot of our success to the rich cultural heritage of Nelson… we would like to see our community prosper as much as we do.”
Studio 9 Architects are a group of young professionals who moved to Nelson because of the lifestyle.
“They’ve got quality product they deliver, they’ve involved in a lot of new projects like the Baldface Lodge and Kokanee Springs housing projects and they’ve certainly had a good impact on our area,” said Thomson.
“It’s an honour to be recognized for providing professional architecture services and planning in the Kootenays,” said Steven Kaup of Studio 9. “The Kootenays have been a really welcoming community, it’s been a very warm and gracious welcome.”
Like Studio 9, Baldface is another group of individuals that has moved into this region for business.
“They bring in a great deal of economic activity,” said Thomson. “This year obviously even more so because of the Supernatural event that took place up there earlier this year.”`
“It’s really nice to be recognized locally, it’s cool that we get recognized internationally and all over the world with other things, we’ve won awards for skiing and snowboarding but never locally. It feels like an acceptance with the business community and it’s really nice,” said Jeff Pensiero of Baldface.
“I’ve always felt like an outsider coming to Nelson, I came here from California with these big dreams to start a business… now to be recognized as a positive influence on the business community is a real honour. It’s great to get recognized internationally, but locally it even feels a little bit better.”
The chamber’s acknowledgment of of a downtown retail staple was easy.
“Mountain Baby has really reinvented themselves a couple times and they’re a great shopping experience as far as retail excellence goes,” said Thomson. “People not just in Nelson, but around the region come to Mountain Baby.”
“It feels fabulous to win this award, I’m excited and happy for the staff,” said Mountain Baby’s Judy Banfield.
“Part of the goal of this business has always been to be really involved in the community and we do so much to have people feel really good about being in here and feel that we care and love them and their children… to get recognition like this says that we’ve accomplished what we’ve set out to do.”
Thomson said with over 1,200 business licenses issued on an annual basis, the business community in Nelson is a strong and healthy one,
“The overall population and the community of Nelson has to be really proud of the business community that we currently have here.”
The chamber handed out the awards at its AGM on Thursday night New Grand.