This year’s Powell River Chamber of Commerce Business Awards will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. The award ceremony will be held on Saturday, February 8, at Dwight Hall.
According to Powell River Chamber of Commerce manager Kim Miller, this will be a year of changes.
“Hopefully, lots of people who have been attending for a long time will see that things are changing,” said Miller. “We’ve got a brand new award – the sustainability award – and we’re having nominations coming in for it. I don’t think it’s going to be the customers who nominate businesses under the sustainability category, I think it will be more the employees and the owners of the businesses because they know what’s going on behind the scenes.”
Miller said an employee of a business came in and described the initiatives the business was conducting in terms of sustainability, such as composting, no plastic water bottles, proper recycling of paper products and other features.
“It was interesting to hear him say he knew this as an employee,” said Miller. “Will customers? Probably not.”
The business awards will also be conducted with sustainability in mind. In the past, plastic cups have been used on the tables and beer cups have been made of plastic. Miller said the chamber has been collecting glasses from the thrift store, so it now has its own water glasses.
“That will be different than plastic water containers on the table,” she added.
Last year, there were plastic water pitchers on the tables and this year, Miller is going to get glass wine bottles to serve chilled water. There will be cards on the tables indicating that, because of the new sustainability award, the chamber has to practise what it preaches. Miller is hoping the initiative will cut down on the garbage the event generates.
“This will be doing our part,” she said.
Nominations for the awards are coming into the chamber office “like crazy,” said Miller. While nominations forms are put out in October, the flood of nominations comes in January.
“After Christmas, I guess everyone is thinking about the business awards,” said Miller. “It’s a little bit crazy right now.”
Deadline for nominations is Monday, January 20, because judges need time to go through them and time is required to have the trophies printed.
Ticket sales for the event are going well, according to Miller. She said it will sell out, as it has for the past five years. Tickets for the event are $60 each, and tables of eight or 10 can be reserved.
This year, in order to help with the auction portion of the event, the chamber has received assistance from Powell River Educational Services Society. The organization has offered 12 of its mature students who are going to businesses to determine if they would like to donate auction items. Miller said the students are undertaking the task really professionally.
“It’s work experience for the students and I’m really happy about it,” said Miller.
There are 15 awards in total at this year’s business awards ceremony. A difference in this year’s event from previous years, instead of having a number of runners-up, there will be one winner and one runner-up, instead of four or five runners-up.
For people who are sitting in the audience, it is going to make the awards part of the ceremony shorter, said Miller.
“We’ll speed things up a bit, so that’s a good thing,” she added.
People wanting to nominate businesses for the awards who do not have a form can go online to powellriverchamber.com, or Facebook, where the form can be found. Businesses do not have to be members of the Powell River Chamber of Commerce to be nominated.
“The business awards are for the whole community,” said Miller. “If you look back at the winners’ list over the years, more than half of them, each year, are not members of the Powell River Chamber of Commerce.”
Last year, employee of the year was added to the roster of awards that were given out. Miller said it is incredible, the write-ups that are received from people who recognize what great service they are receiving from individuals working in local businesses.
Powell River Community Futures is a sponsor this year and is paying for all of the awards.