The first thing Kari Osselton wants people to know is that the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce business excellence awards are not just for chamber members.
“Everyone and everybody can nominate a business, and you don’t have to be a chamber member to attend any (chamber) functions,” said Osselton, executive director of the local chamber of commerce. “It’s not an elite thing or just for chamber people.”
The chamber is busy organizing the annual chamber awards night at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort set for Friday, Mar. 1.
Each year, nominations for awards of excellence are accepted in a variety of categories relating to business in Sooke.
There are a couple of new awards this year: manufacturing, development excellence and sustainability/leadership and professional services.
“We changed some categories and put in some new ones,” said Osselton. “We want to fill that space, it’s for everybody. We’re embracing the community I guess.”
She said some professional businesses, such as doctors, lawyers, dentists and financial planners had no category.
There is a Directors’ Award which will be picked internally by the executive and directors and given to a deserving director.
The categories are: Citizen of the Year, Retail Excellence, New Business of the Year, Business of the Year, Employee of the year, Professional Services, Dining Excellence, Manufacturing, Sustainability leadership and Development Excellence. Nomination forms can be printed off from the chamber’s website at: www.sookeharbourchamber.com or from businesses around Sooke
Osselton said they are really looking for the reasons why a particular business is being nominated and judging will reflect the description of the reason for nomination.
“We’re trying to get away from a popularity contest and bring it to a higher level,” said Osselton. “We’ve upped the ante on the awards.”
The awards night will feature a buffet this year and a no-host cocktail hour, which begins a7 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. A live auction with emcee Ron Larson will also be part of the evenings festivities. Tickets are $55 person or two for $100. Dress is semi-formal.
The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce has approx. 200 members. The chamber offers workshops, mixers, breakfast and lunch meetings, group insurance, and a variety of merchant services. Membership is based on the size of the business and the number of employees, with categories for non-profit groups and home-based businesses. In 2013 the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce will be celebrating 65 years.