by Jessica Murdy – Chilliwack Progress – Novenber 17, 2007
Rose Siemens of Whatcom Wines accepts the 2007 Excellence in Dining award on behalf of Bravo Restaurant & Lounge. (presented by the Fort Wine Co.)
When the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce set out to expand its popular Business Excellence Awards, they knew it would be a hit with their members.
But they were blown away by the response from the community as a whole. In total, 168 businesses were nominated for 23 available awards.
It was the best, and the biggest celebration of local business yet, says Todd Harvey, Chamber president.
“This was a huge event and we’re extremely pleased,” he says. The annual awards are handed out a gala reception each year. The event sold out this year, with 350 people in attendance.
All the numbers are up from previous years, Harvey says. It’s a sign that Chilliwack’s economy is growing, as well as confidence in the Chamber.
New awards were added, a successful attempt to applaud even more businesses for their individualized areas of expertise.
“In previous years, the judging was extremely difficult,” he says. “But this year, with the new categories, we were able to recognize excellence in more areas.”
He says judging each year is an extremely difficult process with some very tight competitions.
“It’s a lot of hard work on the judging side, but it’s well worth it,” he says. “Recognizing excellence in business is one of the most important functions of the Chamber … it’s a celebration of the achievements of local business and that’s something that the Chamber takes to heart.”
Membership in the Chamber has grown in previous years, making it even more desirable to increase the number and the diversity of the awards. In addition to the Chamber awards, the City of Chilliwack also sponsored three new Green Awards.
Those awards went to businesses who are effectively implementing environmentally-friendly programs.
The 2007 Business Excellence Awards were also handed out in a new location, due to the increase in membership. The Tzeachten Hall provided a larger venue, and both Chuck Strahl and Clint Hames were on hand to emcee the event.
“They are very enthusiastic and both did a very good job,” Harvey says. “Not every city is lucky enough to have both the MP and the mayor would come out to a Chamber function like this.”
Chilliwack’s Chamber of Commerce is quickly becoming one of the strongest in the province, Harvey says. And new members are welcome at any time.