Over 200 Lac La Biche residents, chamber members and business owners packed the Agricom on Saturday night to recognize the successes of businesses small and large in the community, bringing Small Business Week to a close with a bang.
Masters of Ceremonies Gail Broadbent and Brian Stratichuk welcomed members of the community, and kept the night moving.
Broadbent spoke about the strengths and merits of business people. “You can’t accept the way things are. You look for ways to make things better. You accept failures and learn from them. And, most importantly, you have the confidence to succeed.
“This is your evening; celebrate your successes and enjoy.”
Guest Speaker Jonathan Woebler from ATB Financial (Edmonton), a gold sponsor, was impressed at the support of the community for small business.
“To have this roomed filled is a testament…the success of our province has been built on entrepreneurial spirit of these small businesses. They are pursuing a vision not only when times are good but also when times are not so good.”
The awards portion of the evening evoked emotion, surprise and gratitude from business owners.
Lac La Biche Sporting Goods was awarded the Customer Service Award.
Kraceva took home the award for Spirit. “Thank you,” said owner Mary Kuznetsov “I don’t know what else to say. I’m shocked.”
The Flame of Excellence Award went to Plamondon District Community Development Society. “The Society has worked hard to bring the community together under the banner of Community Development,” said Richard Mahe, who received the award. “Thank you for this recognition.”
Lac La Biche Value Drug Mart took home the Golden Broom. Owner Collum Stratichuk said it was an honor to receive the award. “It’s a privilege to provide service to you on a day to day basis and I hope it benefits all of you in some way.”
Subway’s Matt Dulmage accepted the award for Employer of the Year. He thanked his family, staff and customers.
“It’s been a privilege to work for you for the past seven and a half years,” he said.
Labone’s Catering, which also provided the four-course meal for the evening, won the award for New Business of the Year. Twintel Communications was awarded the Small Business of the Year.
Bold Developments was named Business of the Year. Joe Martushev accepted the award, calling it “truly an honour,” epecially in the “short time” (six years) Bold Developments has been in business.
Mayor Kirylchuk attended and gave a spirited county address. “To the businessmen and business women: you are all giants in our community. Your growth has made this community what it is today.” He said that during his time campaigning, one of the major themes that came out was that people wanted to see more businesses in town, and he wants to be a part of making that happen.
“I’m excited to be able to work with new council and to make Lac La Biche a better place to live and recreate.”
All the award winners received certificates and a print from a local artist.
Musical humorist Todd Butler closed out the night with an hour of entertainment, poking fun at everyone from Conrad Black to George Bush. He finished his set by playing his guitar behind his back while accompanying himself on the kazoo.
Shirley Klyne, the Executive Director of the Chamber, said she was so thrilled with the turnout for the evening.
“I had high expectations, but I didn’t know it could go so well. We had a sellout crowd, and I’ve had nothing but compliments from everyone.”
She said the help from volunteers that came together rat the last minute really helped to make the event happen, and she hopes to see this event continue on in the future.
“Let’s consider this the first annual,” she said. “I really hope that Lac La Biche, the Chamber, and small business will continue to celebrate small business week like this in the future, because it has been a great success this year.”