Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Chamber celebrates success at gala

During troubled economic times, those businesses that find their niche tend to stand out and this past year was no exception as the Chamber of Commerce gathered over the weekend to celebrate business success in the city.

The Saturday night event featured many of the business class of the city, gathered together to recognize those businesses that have endured and those that are starting out blazing their own trail on the North coast.

Also recognized were many individuals who have made an impact on the city's landscape over the years.

The Monday edition of the Daily news featured the nights events as the front page headline story.

Spotlight is one city's elite entrepreneurs at business excellence awards presentation
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Monday, February 02, 2009
Pages one and three

More than two hundred people attended the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce Centennial Celebration and Business Excellence Awards Gala held at Chances on Jan. 31.
It was an evening filled with acknowledgements and memories.

"I'm excited about the turnout," said chamber president Deb Stava.

"Tonight, we're celebrating what Prince Rupert was built on. This is a caring and giving community that we live in and there have been challenges faced by the people who have come before us."

Thirteen awards were distributed to local businesses, organizations and individuals, recognizing business excellence - and a special presentation was made to Debbie Mirau of Advantage Print and Design, for her design of the chamber's new logo.

On behalf of the Allied Tribes, Chief James Bryant welcomed guests to traditional Tsimshian territory.

"This is the home of our people," said Bryant.

"There was always an abundance of resources here and today those resources are still here. We need to keep and protect our resources - we're here to stay and so are you. We can work together on those goals."

The biggest issue, Bryant said, is the access road from Lax Kw'alaams to Metlakatla.

"There are a lot of possibilities for us. Thank you to the Chamber of Commerce, Deb Stava, City Council and Port Edward for wanting to make things possible."

Stava told the audience she came to Prince Rupert with her family in the 1960s, when her dad came to manage Eaton's. She married into a family that had arrived on the coast in 1917 on a freighter and made their livelihood from fishing.

"People choose Prince Rupert and Prince Rupert chooses people," Stava said. "I can't go anywhere without running into people that have connections to Prince Rupert."

Mayor Jack Mussallem recalled the history of Prince Rupert and the role of the business community.

Mussallem said many business leaders have served on committees and boards and the business sector has always been generous.

When someone would have a house fire, Gordon and Anderson would donate a fridge or stove. If someone had an emergency, Quadra Travel would supply discounted airline tickets, Mussallem recalled.

Mike O'Neill, member of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, said Prince Rupert will be bringing two policies to the B.C. Chamber's attention in the near future.

The first policy refers to child care in the work place, allowing access to resources that haven't been available before, while the second policy will address ferry fares and the impact on tourism.
"We need a modern approach to increase tourism in the North," O'Neill said.

Port Edward mayor Dave MacDonald gave a brief history of Port Edward, indicating a townsite plan was signed in 1908.

"World War Two put Port Edward on the map, the pulp mill kept it there but it's been the fisheries that have sustained it," he said.

The evening's most senior memories were shared by Walter Smith, 93, who served as president of the Chamber in 1968.

He talked about the Second World War putting Prince Rupert on the map for the rest of Canada, the existence of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, responsible for starting Port Day - the predecessor of Seafest - and the real purpose of the chamber being to promote community.

There was no school board, parks board or recreation board in the early days. The chamber was into everything and those people were dedicated, Smith remembered.

"Yes, the chamber is one hundred years old and a lot has happened in the past. We're looking forward to the future and hoping for the best and wishing you good years ahead," Smith added.
Business Excellence Awards

Rookie Business of the Year: Sponsored by Hecate Strait Employment Development Society: Chances Prince Rupert

Small Business of the Year: Trades/Industry/Manufacturing/Transportation, Sponsored by Northwest Science and Innovation Society: Entire Automotive Services

Small Business of the Year: Hospitality/Tourism, Sponsored by Coast Prince Rupert Hotel: Prince Rupert Adventure Tours

Small Business of the Year: Retail, Sponsored by G.W. Nickerson Co. and The Electrician: Homework

Aboriginal Business of the Year: Sponsored by TRICORP: Grassy Bay Services Ltd.

Community Involvement Award: Sponsored by Community Futures Pacific Northwest: Northern Savings Credit Union

Excellence in Customer Service: Sponsored by TD Canada Trust: Homework

Non-Profit of the Year: Sponsored by Prince Rupert Grain: The Salvation Army

City Ambassador Award: Sponsored by the Prince Rupert Port Authority: Herb Pond

Green Award: Sponsored by Northwest Community College: Eco Management

Newsmaker of the Year: Sponsored by The Northern View: Rupert Rampage

Business of the Year: Sponsored by BDC: Northern Savings Credit Union

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