This years Gala celebration will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at the Prince George Civic Centre. Cocktails at 5:30!
Join us at the 2016 Business Excellence Awards while we celebrate the best in business in Prince George. Celebrate with our 44 finalists in 11 categories as we announce our winners for 2016.
The Prince George Chamber of Commerce hosts the BEA Gala to celebrate excellence in the business community. Recognizing the best in the business in 10 conventional categories and 1 social media category this is THE event of the year. It is thanks to the generous support of our sponsors that this event continues to grow and continually surpass the success of previous years.
Sponsorship inquiries can be made to Christie Ray.
Entrepreneur of the Year Award
This individual demonstrates extraordinary entrepreneurial success in starting a new business or in revitalizing a mature company during a period of 5 years or less.
Doug Bell – Northern Lights Estate Winery
As a Prince George resident since 1988 Doug Bell attended CNC, graduated from UNBC and took over the family business in 2007. This commitment to our city was reinforced when Doug envisioned, built, and recently opened the Northern Lights Estate Winery. The winery has quickly gained popularity around the province and, in its first year, has ascended to the top 5 fruit wineries in BC. The winery initially hoped to sell up to 15,000 bottles in their first year, however, they have sold over 60,000 bottles and business continues to grow with the addition of hosting concerts, weddings, tours and more. Crediting the Northern Lights Estate Winery team for their accomplishments to date, owner/operator Doug Bell understands that entrepreneurship is about enhancing your community and creating a viable business that can thrive over many years.
Jeni Arnott – Play Grounds Cafe
With a deep belief that families help grow and develop communities, Jeni began a business to accommodate families with children, while raising her own six children. After years of planning and research, Jeni began with a play cafe concept and expanded the business into a broader family cafe. Play Grounds Cafe combines space for young children to play with a cafe that attracts local clientele. Using her long time catering knowledge, and by targeting the best in local produce, Jeni delivers products to her customers that are truly outstanding.
Kevin Pederson – West Coast Canning
Owner of Repac Products Inc and West Coast Canning, this serial entrepreneur and 2016 Top 40 Under 40 finalist works hard to execute his business plans. After graduating from UNBC at the age of 26, Kevin purchased Repac Products Inc.. Through this experience he became familiar with the craft beer industry and developed the idea to start West Coast Canning, Canada’s first mobile canning company. This full service packaging solution for craft breweries and cideries has grown to a team of eight employees including Kevin and co-founder Matt Leslie, who recently filled their three millionth can.
Michael Pockett – The Salter Cracker
Born and raised in Prince George, Michael managed retail stores in BC and Alberta before returning home in 2000. The owner of a successful retail store that opened in 2007 and employs 10, many of whom have been long term employees, Michael made the entrepreneurial leap again in 2014 when he opened The Salted Cracker. This small eatery gained incredible popularity and in April of 2016 a second location was opened in the Hart. The commitment to his business can only be rivaled by his commitment to the community, serving on the Salmon River Heritage Society, and an active member of various groups throughout Prince George.
Service Excellence Award
This business has consistently provided outstanding customer service.
Northern Hardware & Furniture
A staple downtown, Northern Hardware has been a member of the Prince George community for over 97 years. With knowledgable staff, they carry everything from nuts and bolts to the kitchen sink. Their staff take pride in giving the best customer service to everyone, going above and beyond to make their customers feel welcome and have the best possible shopping experience. A family owned business with its fourth generation owner, it is with extreme pride they pass on the legacy and traditions of Northern Hardware to third and fourth generation loyal shoppers.
The Salted Cracker
The Salted Cracker is a quick service restaurant which specializes in scratch made soups and imaginative grilled cheese sandwiches. Catering mainly to the lunch crowd in it’s downtown location and early dinner service on the Hart, they offer eight soups daily. With over 200 soups in their repertoire, every day is unique. Once you enter the restaurant you are greeted with a genuine hello while their staff take the time to explain the menu, offer alternatives and cater to any dietary restrictions you may have. With this level of service it’s only a matter of time before you are greeted by name and served quickly to get you back to your day.
Established in 1969, this family business provides awards, recognition, promotional products and personalized unique gifts. With their skilled and creative team, Van Horlick’s is able to create one of a kind customized products through their use of technology. Every employee understands that service is the foundation of this business and recognizes the privilege it is to be a part of momentous events in their customer’s lives. In creating keepsakes to commemorate special moments such as graduations and weddings, they are humbled by their customer’s trust to provide a product that will match the importance of their event. For 47 years, their team has been committed to service excellence.
Japan Wasabi Sushi Wonton House Ltd.
This family owned Japanese Restaurant has been open since November of 2007 and provides the full restaurant dine-in experience as well as the convenient “grab and go” option. Catering to those who love tasty and healthy lunch breaks options this business’s popularity continues to rise, but they will be the first to tell you people can find good everywhere, what keeps people coming back is the excellent service they experience with the fabulous food. Always looking for ways to improve, Japan Wasabi Sushi Wonton House constantly asks for feedback from their loyal customers on everything from the food, service to atmosphere.
Business of the Year Award
This Prince George based business has demonstrated outstanding performance, leadership, innovation, management and service over the years but particularly in the past year. Not only does this business provide quality product or service, they have also developed excellent employee-employer relationships and are involved in the community.
Coast Inn of the North
Coast Inn of the North is a full service hotel delivering consistent guest experiences, achieving success through the power of people and being an active participant in our community. They’ve contributed over 100 volunteer hours and fifty thousand dollars of In-kind donations. Driven by accountability and core values, they empower their team to be leaders in hospitality. Following recent renovations, their modernized rooms provide guests with all the comforts of home. Their ambassadors constantly receive accolades from their guests who are delighted with the service that Coast Inn of the North has become known for over the last 50 years.
Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Prince George
The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Prince George (99.3 The Drive, 101.3 The River and CKPG TV) creates value by entertaining, informing and connecting customers with businesses. They provide advertising solutions on radio, TV, and digital platforms and use those same platforms to market themselves. Through their deep commitment to the 2015 Canada Winter Games, the Broadcast Group produced six television specials and hosted innumerable interviews on radio. Their 5pm television newscast live from Canada Games Plaza received a National award for Best Local Newscast. For more than 70 years they have been committed to providing listeners and viewers with great local programming.
Northern Lights Estate Winery
Enhancing the Prince George Community, the Northern Lights Estate Winery has become a local place of pride. It used the natural beauty of the cutbanks and Nechako river to highlight the innate beauty of Prince George. The winery has surpassed much expectation for initial sales and has quickly ascended to the top five fruit wineries in BC in terms of volume. Stocked in almost twenty restaurants and five private liquor stores, sales of more than sixty thousand bottles of wine have been recorded to date. Their product quality, community partnerships, events and location all represent the best of Prince George.
Two Rivers Gallery
More than just a public art gallery, Two Rivers is an organization aimed at connecting individuals to experiences with art through exhibitions, public programs and events for all ages. Their goal is to foster conversations and encourage opportunities for deep and authentic engagements, ultimately encouraging the development of a creative community. With a passionate team of eight full time staff, Two Rivers Gallery collaborates with partners to engage the community in innovative ways such as the award winning MakerLab. The Gallery has recently been singled out as a BC Bright Spot, and organization that has “found ways to thrive in the challenging environment that is BC’s art and culture sector today”.
Business Person of the Year Award
This local business person has a history of significant contribution to the community and is recognized for outstanding achievement in the business world.
Carolyn Holmes – Two Rivers Gallery
Carolyn Holmes has worked at Two Rivers Gallery and formerly the Prince George Art Gallery for eighteen years. She was the organization’s first employee dedicated to educational programming and she has developed an educational department and team that has been recognized nationally. Under her direction, Two Rivers Gallery has created a substantial outreach program, an award winning Maker space, corporate team building opportunities, a vibrant study program and a number of large scale annual public events. Passionate about engaging the community in all things creative, Carolyn looks forward to making sure the Two Rivers Gallery is relevant to Prince George and the region.
Doug Bell – Northern Lights Estate Winery
As CEO of Family Fast Foods and the Northern Lights Estate Winery, Doug Bell’s lists of accomplishments is impressive. As a BComm graduate from UNBC he has served on a variety of boards and committees, volunteered as a junior high school coach and spent 5 years on the Wendy’s Canadian Advertising Cooperative, of which two years were as President. As the entrepreneur responsible for the vision, construction and operation of the Northern Lights Estate Winery, Doug took the idea of building a winery and saw it from conception to operation.
John Gibson – Prince George Airport Authority
John Gibson is committed to the Prince George community and its future. John has been at the Prince George Airport (YXS) since 2009 and since then the Airport Authority’s financial performance has improved continuously and passenger traffic levels have set new records every year. The Airport Authority has expanded its business to include cargo warehousing and jet fuel handling. Gibson also represents PG at the BC Aviation Council, Airports Council International North America & Transport Minister’s Air Industry Standing Ministerial Advisory Committee as Chair of the Canadian Airports Council. Back at home, John sits on the Tourism Prince George Board along with the City’s Select Advisory Committee on Economic Development.
Peter Sia – Northland Nissan / Hyundai
Progressing from the shop floor as a Journeyman Automotive Technician to a General Manager leading and growing two businesses, Peter Sia’s focus has always been to create the best experience for his customer. As manager of Northland Nissan and Hyundai, Peter leads two full service car dealerships with a staff compliment of eighty. Northland Nissan has risen to be the number one Import Dealer in Northern BC and they are working towards achieving the same high standard for Northland Hyundai. Northland Nissan’s growth has been exponential, going from a five thousand to a twenty five thousand square foot operation. Hiring the right people and creating a culture of teamwork can be attributed to Peter’s success.
Environmental Awareness Award
This business or organization demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the environment by considering the impact on the environment in all decision making, product/service development and business practices.
PG Recycling & Return-It Centre
The goal of the PG Recycling and Return-It Centre is to provide one stop recycling services to the residents of Prince George. Recycling a large variety of items from beverages containers and household packaging materials to electronics and small appliances, they have you covered. PG Recycling and Return-It Centre continues to add more environmentally friendly recycling options and consistently educates the community through web and social media networks as well as word of mouth.Through this they are able to continue with their goals of helping those in our community reduce the impact we have on the environment.
Pinups Punks And Pretty Things Hair Lounge
Pinups Punks And Pretty Things Hair Lounge is a home based beauty salon offering women’s hair cutting, colouring and makeup services, as well as on-location hairstyling and makeup services for weddings, photoshoots and other events.Through the Green Circle Salons program, the hair lounge began recycling up to ninety-five percent of the waste the salon produces. Over the past year hair clippings, excess colour waste, foil and metal tubes, aerosol cans, plastic wrap and vinyl gloves have avoided the landfill through the Green Circle Salon program.
Play Grounds Cafe
Environmental responsibility for all ages. Play Grounds Cafe utilizes renewable resources, green toys and equipment, natural and organic offerings, and biodegradable cleaning methods. Doing their best to embody the five R’s they Reduce by cooking in small batches, Reuse shipping materials for children’s crafts, provide and encourage customers to Recycle through their five bin system, sourcing interior decor pieces of Reclaimed wood and Repurpose turning items like pallets into seating. Play Grounds Cafe always strives to find new ways to make a greater influence and less of an impact.
Prince George Diaper Service
Prince George Diaper Service offers parents another option for diapering their baby. Every day four million plastic diapers are added to landfills, leaching harmful bacteria and viruses into the soil. A rough estimate by PG Diaper Services has shown that they have saved around 7120 diapers from entering the Prince George landfill. That equates to 3.34 tonnes of garbage, 669 pounds of wood, 111.5 pounds of petroleum feedstocks, 44.6 pounds of chlorine and 637 pounds of plastic. Prince George Diaper Service aims to provide everything necessary to not only love your baby but your planet as well.
Community Impact Award
This business or organization coordinates projects, services, and/or events that give back to the community. Their efforts contribute to the social and cultural well-being of Prince George.
Costumes for a Cause
Costumes for a Cause is a not-for-profit with one mission: to help as many people as they can. With a variety of mascot costumes, they attend birthdays and special events by donation, with 100% of those donations going back into new costumes and gifts for kids in the hospital. With a solid base of regular volunteers and word of mouth advertising Costumes for a Cause has grown more than anticipated in their first year. Whether they are visiting a very special birthday child or sitting with one during chemotherapy treatments, these volunteers have committed to supporting the Prince George community.
MP Makeup Artistry & Prince George Dress Dreams
Prince George Dress Dreams is one of PG’s more glamourous recycling projects. As a professional makeup artist, Mandy Paavola has been able to take donated gowns and create an experience for high school seniors they otherwise would not have had. Believing that no grade 12 student should have to forgo prom or grad simply because they cannot afford it, this service makes girls’ dress dreams come true. Each year Prince George Dress Dreams hopes to reach more and more teens that could use this hand up.
PG Recycling & Return-It Centre
PG Recycling and Return-It Centre offers one stop recycling solutions for the general public as well as recycling solutions for industry and commercial businesses. Through an initiative that sees 6 large beverage container donation bins placed through the city for easy access to the public, the proceeds from these donations go to various charities throughout the community. PG Recycling and Return-It Centre have fundraising options to help community groups reach their goals, a win for the environment and the community.
Sun Life / Spread the Sunshine
A partnership project between Sun Life and The River 101.3, Spread the Sunshine supports 1 to 2 causes per month through various events. It takes hundreds of volunteer hours and tens of thousands of dollars to make this initiative work. Last month Sun Life purchased discounted advertising from The River 101.3 to promote JR Diabetes and then raised $6800 as a team for their walk. The Spread the Sunshine project has been awarded $30,000 in grants from corporate Sun Life over the past two years to expand their campaign with discussions about making this a national project.
*NEW* Innovator of the Year
This business or organization has developed or adopted an innovative concept, process or product that demonstrates creativity in problem solving and / or business practices.
Northern Lights Estate Winery
Northern Lights Estate Winery has created a new industry in Prince George. Their goal is to provide “Extraordinary wines and an extraordinary atmosphere” through selling high quality wines and merchandise to the community and engaging in local partnerships. In addition to manufacturing, the winery has created a sense of pride within the community. Overcoming the perception that fruit wines can not rival grape wines, the products being produced as Northern Lights Estate Winery are being recognized across the province for their quality and consistency. They have become the first fruit winery to be accepted into the prestigious BC Wine Institute.
Play Grounds Cafe
Play Cafes, as a concept, are available in the larger suburban areas throughout BC and North America. Play Grounds Cafe has taken the idea of a play cafe and developed it to support the entire community. Where Play Grounds differs is through their singular facility and inclusive approach to their customers, providing space for both their youngest clients and caregivers as well as their clientele that don’t bring children. Enabling our community to come together in a relaxed and friendly way, Play Grounds continually looks to innovate on an ongoing basis and stands as a testament to Prince George’s innovative business landscape.
Prince George Humane Society
The Prince George Humane Society is a community based, registered non-profit that provides a safe haven for abused, neglected and abandoned animals in the Northern BC. This organization is 100% donor funded and relies solely on volunteers. Since their inception just over one year ago, PG Humane Society has rescued over 300 animals in the community. In April, they opened an adoption and humane education centre. Through various community partnerships, the Humane Society has been able to partner shelter dogs with clientele at St. Patricks house, create the Pat’s for Paws program, and partner with airlines to develop a transfer program to ensure more lives are saved.
Sparkgeo builds cutting edge geospatial technology and has map analytics products. Their combination of agile software development and ability to truly listen to their customers’ needs has landed Sparkgeo an impressive list of Fortune 500 clients. Before every great leap in innovation, society believes something is impossible… then, somebody does it. Sparkgeo thinks of innovation in terms of systematic disruption of human assumption.
Micro Business of the Year Award
This business, has less than 5 employees, has demonstrated success and innovation over the years and especially within the past year. They provide a quality product or service and conduct their business with professionalism and integrity.
Digital Umbrella Creative (DUC)
Digital Umbrella creative is an innovative and collaborative agency providing high quality graphic and web services to both business and private clients. Through personal and professional networking, DUC ran an informative comedic video series around design decisions. DUC has succeeded in creating a customer experience that will not only educate their customer but turn them into a loyal customer who ultimately becomes their biggest advocate. Avid in the startup community and vendors at Northern Fancon, DUC strives to set a new standard in business services.
A retail hangout in Prince George, Game Quest caters to any demographic interested in video games and consoles, board games, card games, roleplaying games and much more. Not just content to be a traditional retail store, over half the store is event space. Hosting a variety of gaming tournaments or just a place to hang out, Game Quest has provided a location in our community where people can socialize and compete in a safe, alcohol and drug free environment. Hard work and determination have been displayed by moving to a new location 4 times the size of their original space and running the gaming area at Northern FanCon. It’s no wonder that this business has been nominated the past two years for the BC Small Business Awards.
Loved Always Childrens’ Consignment Boutique
Since September 2014, this Specialty Avenue boutique offers consignors and customers the opportunity to buy and sell, lightly used children’s wear. As the only consignment store with a children’s focus, Loved Always is quickly becoming a “go to” place for new and unique gifts for babies, children and the new mom. Supporting a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” philosophy, this shop proudly supports local artisans and “Made in Canada” products, a large portion of their floor space is designated to not only local artisans but throughout BC and across Canada to sell quality pieces.
Wild Rose Wellness
Owner, operator and sole employee, Chelsea Gibson started her business fulfilling a childhood dream. Starting as a home based business with clients twice per week and a couple of workshops a year, Wild Rose Wellness has grown to a downtown studio serving over 150 clients and bi-weekly workshops within the last year. Chelsea is a best-selling international author, a therapist, Reiki Master and an Access Facilitator with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) from UNBC. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and coaching, along with specialized certifications are all available through Chelsea at Wild Rose Wellness. Chelsea is dedicated to making the Prince George community a happier place.
Tourism and Hospitality Award
This Prince George-based business or organization has delivered a top quality product or service which had worked to promote tourism and hospitality for Prince George and the region.
Northern FanCon is a comic con/entertainment expo. This pop culture convention is hosted in all four arenas of the CN Centre and Kinsmen arenas and has featured guests like William Shatner, Levar Burton and Jason Mews, just to name a few. This extremely popular event offers Prince George a unique opportunity to play host to many expo attendees. During the past two years, Northern FanCon has attracted over two dozen celebrity guests, hundreds of vendors and thousands of attendees from as far away as Japan and New Zealand. Guests may have never heard of Prince George before they attend, but they leave with a taste of our city.
Northern Lights Estate Winery
Locally owned and operated, Northern Lights Estate Winery believes responsible and safe enjoyment of their products can enhance the community, instilling pride into those who live here. Their goal is to provide “Extraordinary wines and an extraordinary atmosphere”. Hosting local events, in addition to regular operations, the winery has welcomed guests from all over the world. Visitors from Europe, Asia, South America, the United States and more, are excited to learn about Prince George and the winery, taking and sharing this information when they return home.
Norton North Ranch Cottages
Offering high end and unique cottages in the middle of a 308 acre ranch, Norton North Ranch Cottages hosts tourists and travellers from around world who are seeing a high-end rural experience in our region. This traditional cattle ranch has been successfully transformed into a destination for tourists who demand luxury and excellence. Their ratings on sites such as Booking.com and TripAdvisor only reinforce the quality and service guests receive, Norton North Ranch Cottages was the recent recipient fo the Northern BC Tourism Award for Innovation. Their vision and belief is that Northern areas can support upscale tourism accommodations and destination services.
UNBC Continuing Studies
As part of the best small university in Western Canada, the Continuing Studies program at the University of Northern British Columbia serves the needs of learners of all ages. Offering a wide range of programming through their campuses in Prince George, Terrace, Fort St. John and online, Continuing Studies can help you build your professional skills and explore topics of personal interest. Beyond the classroom, their Educational Adventures are experiences of a lifetime. These programs include partnerships with local business, tourism agencies and First Nations. The programs coordinators, Rob Bryce and Troy Lee are active partners in the community and promote the region on conference panels, online forums and more.
Outstanding Corporate Culture Award
This business is where everyone wants to work. They create an inclusive and welcoming environment at work that successfully reduces barriers for all. They foster a culture of commitment to employee development that breeds a loyal and healthy workforce.
Coast Inn of the North
At Coast Inn of the North they believe in investing in their best assets, their people and supporting individual development of these Ambassadors’. Their commitment to professional development is not just about getting that next promotion, it’s about enriching and growing their Ambassadors’ work/life experience. Customer Service Excellence training is provided to all new hires to ensure they understand the Coast’s culture of excellence. The Coast Inn of the North continues to build on their success and reputation for excellent service and quality offerings through a commitment to supporting, challenging and celebrating their Ambassadors at every opportunity.
Hub City Volkswagon
Their mission statement, “Moving Families Forward” can be applied to more than just the customers this locally owned, family run dealership serves, it also applies to their team. Hub City Volkswagon believes that their staff is one of the most important elements of their business. Investing in their team with personal and life coaching, they aspire to assist their employees with tools to help them succeed in all aspects of their life. Through positive reinforcement, employee building events and flexible work options, Hub City has created an appreciated culture and work environment for their team.
Through the efforts of their dedicated staff and physicians, in partnership with communities and organization, Northern Health provides exceptional health services for residents in the north. Providing training and educational opportunities for staff, along with a robust Respectful Workplace program, emphasis is placed on collaboration to achieve work goals which enhances innovation across the organization. The CEO and senior leadership are accessible to all staff and Northern Health solicits the opinions of point of care staff and involves them in the design and development of initiatives which benefits their staff, patients and families.
Two Rivers Gallery
Two Rivers Gallery is a creative force in Prince George. Through strategic succession planning, dedicated and experienced staff have been promoted into key management positions within their organization. The Gallery’s direction is guided by a small team which includes administrative, exhibition and programming managers. Each summer the Two Rivers Gallery team of eight full time employees nearly doubles mentoring up to seven university students through valuable work experience. This close knit staff makes amazing things happen in the gallery building and throughout the community.
Hell Yeah Prince George Award
In recognition of the wildly popular Facebook page “Hell Yeah Prince George”, this award celebrates people and businesses putting themselves out there as PG Ambassadors. Nominations and voting for this award takes place completely through through social media outside the regular nomination schedule.
Black Donkey Cafe
The Black Donkey Café is a favourite local hangout in Prince George’s downtown core for many reasons.
While primarily a cafe, they also cater to all ages with weekly themed nights such as Karaoke Wednesdays and Open Mic Fridays. The Black Donkey Café has an outdoor venue space that can hold up to 600 patrons which recently hosted a Late Night Market. Café owner, Chris Blackier, is passionate about contributing to the revitalization of downtown by hosting events in and outside the café for all ages. His goal is to contribute to building safer places for the future generations to thrive in.
The Candy Kid
Known simply as “The Candy Kid”, 7 year old Sunjai has achieved some very big things in his life. After receiving surgery, Sunjai began selling chocolate bars at the age of 3 to help raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital. His goal is to raise a total of $57,000 by selling hundred-dollar chocolate bars; raising one thousand dollars for each of the 57 stitches he received during his surgery. Since 2013, Sunjai has raised $30,000 by selling chocolate bars at Save-on-Foods, UNBC, door-to-door, and at hockey games. Apart from fundraising, Sunjai loves sports like hockey and soccer and enjoys camping and watching the Edmonton Oilers and PG Cougars play.
Prince George Humane Society
The Prince George Humane Society is a registered charity that provides a safe haven for abused, neglected and abandoned animals in Northern BC. Their motto is “Love is Rescue. Rescue is love”. They focus resources on spay & neuter services, vaccination, animal management, bite prevention and resources for First Nation communities. Through a variety of educational programs, children receive engaging information about current animal welfare issues. The PG Humane Society helps us all understand the consequences of our decisions involving pets and animals.
Kyle Sampson is probably a name you’ve heard around town. Previously a Radio Personality, now he manages Marketing, Events, and Sales in Northern BC with Pacific Western Brewing Company. Giving back and being involved in the community is a top priority for Kyle. He spends his spare time being involved with local charities, events and not-for-profits – and you can usually catch him out supporting community events and local businesses around town. He has a heart for Prince George and is proud to call it home.