Cathy Gouk loves to give back to the community. Now Sooke has given something very special back to her.
Gouk’s business, Cathy’s Corner Cafe, was named Business of the Year by the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.
There were 11 categories in this year’s Business Excellence Awards, ranging from business of the year to the pandemic pivot award.
Residents vote for their favourite business to determine the winners. This year more than 3,000 votes were cast and 300 businesses nominated.
Gouk learned about her win Wednesday morning when her cellphone was pinging relentlessly. She checked her Facebook page and discovered she was the big winner on the night.
“We were so shocked, honoured and humbled,” Gouk said. “”It was pretty exciting.”
She started Cathy’s Corner Cafe nine years ago. The tiny cafe at the corner of Otter Point and Murray Road caters to “regular working people and making everyone feel at home,” she said.
Cathy’s Corner Cafe is famously known for its free Christmas dinner and other charitable ventures throughout the year.
Gouk and her daughter Janice offer the community a free turkey lunch, complete with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and a side vegetable. And, of course, turkey. This year’s dinner happens on Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 15 and 16).
Earlier this week, Gouk bought $180 worth of underwear and socks for the Sooke Shelter when she heard the group was struggling to get warm clothing for its clients. Her granddaughter also donated four bags of used clothing.
“It’s my way of paying it forward and to say thank you, because without the community this tiny little restaurant wouldn’t be here,” Gouk said.
Cathy’s Corner Cafe, along with its Business of the Year honours, also won in the dining and hospitality category. Multiple awards were collected, too, by the Sooke Food Bank (Not-for-Profit, Pandemic Pivot and People’s Choice).
The Business Excellence Awards winners:
Dining and Hospitality – Cathy’s Corner Cafe
Home-Based Business – Meanwhile in Sooke
Manufacturing and Industry – Sheringham Distillery
Not-for-Profit and Volunteer – Sooke Food Bank
Pandemic Pivot Award – Sooke Food Bank
Professional Services – West Coast Family Medical Clinic
Retail and Services – Group Insurance Plan: Collar & Comb Grooming
Trades and Skilled Labour – West Shack Auto Service
New Business of the Year – D.A. Forbes Pharmacy Sooke
People’s Choice – Sooke Food Bank
Business of the Year – Cathy’s Corner Cafe