THANK YOU CRANBROOK!
With over 85 nominees, and nearly 240 attendees, this year’s celebration is the largest in our 31 year history!
What started as a single customer service award in 1991 has evolved and grown into a complete recognition of excellence in business throughout our community.
Catch up with what happened! ↴ Scroll below to see who took home awards in all 14 categories of excellence.
Were you in attendance? Find your photobooth snapshot in our photo gallery!
2023 CATEGORIES OF EXCELLENCE & WINNERS
HOSPITALITY & TOURISM EXCELLENCE AWARD
Presented to: Fire Hall Kitchen & Tap
Firehall Kitchen and Tap has been a vibrant part of Cranbrook since June 2018 – a gathering place for locals, tourists, and everyone in between. The staff go above and beyond to provide personalized recommendations for outdoor activities, scenic spots, and must-visit local attractions, encouraging visitors to return and explore more of what Cranbrook has to offer. At Fire Hall Kitchen & Tap, they focus on customer loyalty, menu magic and creating a buzz to serve the younger crowd in Cranbrook. They also believe in giving back, hosting annual fundraisers to make a positive impact here in Cranbrook.
The Hospitality Excellence Award is presented to a company or organization which demonstrates a commitment to excellence in the areas of hospitality & tourism. This award recognizes true excellence by those who truly embrace going above and beyond. Providing extraordinary customer service and experiences the recipient makes visitors and locals alike feel like they are the number one priority during their visit.
NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented to: Cranbrook Foodbank Society
The Cranbrook Foodbank has been serving the community since 1982, stewarding the collection and free distribution of donated, rescued and purchased food to those in need. With only two full-time employees and the support of many volunteers, the Cranbrook Foodbank feeds over 2600 clients (a number that continues to grow), which is approximately 12% of Cranbrook’s population who are struggling with the rising cost of food. The Foodbank attributes its success to directly involving clients and stakeholders in its development, flexibility, and dignity; the Foodbank is a healing place where it’s about more than just food.
The Non-Profit Organization of the Year award recognizes a non government organization, society or charity that is a not for profit dedicated to making a difference within the sphere of their stated goals and objectives. The recipient has an outstanding record of achievement and meets the highest ethical standards of the non-profit community. The recipient shows a high level of care and concern for the community.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARD
Presented to: Tanglefoot Veterinary Services
Tanglefoot Veterinary Services is a mixed animal veterinary practice offering a full spectrum of preventative, surgical, emergency, and medical care. The clinic is a partnership of 5 women which keeps the business locally owned in an industry where corporate ownership is common, and they have become an industry leader across Canada with adherence to the highest quality service and exemplary professional standards. Tanglefoot prides itself on the level of service it provides, creating the East Kootenay Veterinary Group to introduce a call-sharing alliance among several clinics in the area to provide emergency call services outside of regular working hours.
The Professional Services Excellence award honours a company or professional that provides services to individuals, groups or businesses. The recipient demonstrates an adherence to the highest quality service and support for their customers. Adhering to the exemplary professional standards the recipient demonstrates excellence and is a recognized leader in their professional service industry sector.
RETAILER EXCELLENCE AWARD
Presented to: Huckleberry Books
Huckleberry Books is an indie bookstore that provides a well-curated selection of titles for readers of all ages. Beyond their commitment to providing the perfect book for every customer, Huckleberry Books is invested in the community through numerous events and projects that they partner on with other local businesses and organizations. They host a monthly book club that meets at the Heid Out, help organize the Where’s Waldo Scavenger Hunt and Downtown Tick or Treating events and fundraise for Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy and Orange Shirt Day, just to name a few.
The Retail Excellence award recognizes a business that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the retail sector. The award recognizes success, innovation, and ethics in business practices. The recipient is a retail leader with a consistent record of accomplishment, innovative business processes, an astute business acumen and overall success. The recipient shows evidence of success that is outstanding for the size of their operation.
INCLUSIVE EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented to: The Paw Shop
The Paw Shop has been in operation for 14 years, specializing in dog and cat supplies, while aiming to make a difference in the lives of pets through a variety of different products and offerings. Employing two staff with diverse abilities, every staff member at The Paw Shop is considered an individual with unique skills and abilities. The Paw Shop works to ensure its staff are properly supported and that their role suits them and allows them to enjoy meaningful work. Above all, The Paw Shop sees the value that an inclusive team brings to their business, from new perspectives on processes and organization, to an incredible work ethic, attention to detail and a renewed sense of what it’s like to truly work as a team.
This award goes to a business that is a practicing inclusive employer. From policies and procedures to diversity initiatives this business demonstrates a commitment to identifying and employing diverse individuals and engaging them in an inclusive workplace. An employer that looks beyond traditional recruitment and retention strategies in order to support the development of their staff.
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARD
Presented to: McWhirter Office Solutions
McWhirter Office Solutions is an office furniture and supply store that has been servicing the East Kootenays since February 2021. As a small, family run business, often competing with big box stores, the company is guided by three core values that make it stand out: integrity, communication, and growth. McWhirter strives to exemplify these values in their daily operations, from the consultation process they offer allowing a customized office set-up, to the speed of delivery they can accommodate, to their strong customer service and commitment to customer convenience.
The Business to Business Excellence award recognizes excellence in the business to business service industry. Working with other businesses, and recognizing their needs, the recipient demonstrates a consistent adherence to the highest quality service and support for their clients. The recipient has demonstrably optimized business processes to drive higher levels of operational performance, customer satisfaction and loyalty.
CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARD
Presented to: The Hearing Loss Clinic
The Hearing Loss Clinic was established in Cranbrook in 1993 and has since grown to 9 locations. Their team is passionate about creating a client experience based on best practices and is on a mission to set the gold standard for audiology care with the ultimate goal of improving their clients’ lives. The clinic prides itself on their large scope of practice, working hard to offer as many ear-related services as possible to serve more clients. Leading with the “3 P’s – passion, people and purpose”, the team at The Hearing Loss Clinic regularly goes above and beyond to support its clients, from driving a set of hearing aids directly to a client’s house, to celebrating a client’s birthday to advocating for hearing healthcare at large.
The Customer Service Excellence award will be presented tonight to a Cranbrook company that embraces the concept that outstanding customer service is critical to the success of their business. The recipient’s business is dedicated to continually striving to exceed customer expectations. They have an ingrained culture through all levels of their organization built around the customer experience.
AGE FRIENDLY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented to: Life Balance Health & Fitness
Life Balance Health & Fitness is a female oriented gym that offers women of all ages a safe environment to work out in. In particular, Life Balance has created an accessible and welcoming space for its aging clientele. This includes offering medical holds on memberships, checking in on clients if they’ve been gone over a week, modifying programs to accommodate joint issues or replacements, as well as making accommodations for service or companion dogs and oxygen support. From minor details such as lighting, to major considerations such as parking and building accessibility, Life Balance has truly gone above and beyond to serve its senior clients.
The Age Friendly Business Award is presented to a business with dedicated commitment and business practices that best serve older adults in Cranbrook. Criteria includes accessibility, customer comfort and communication.
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented to: Ella’s
Ella’s is the only Jamaican restaurant in the Kootenays, serving authentic Jamaican food and fusion menu items as well. Considering themselves ambassadors of Jamaica, Ella’s aims to showcase the country’s best through their commitment to amazing food quality and above par customer service. Opening in February of 2020, Ella’s not only survived through Covid, but managed to grow and thrive despite being in one of the toughest industries to weather the global pandemic. Ella’s attributes this success to the cherished and nurtured relationships they have cultivated with customers and staff who are more like family.
The Business of the Year, 1-15 employees award will be presented to a business that has been established in Cranbrook for more than three years. This well-rounded recipient is regarded as an industry leader with a strong reputation for their business successes. The recipient demonstrates a high degree of professionalism and performance in key measures of business. The recipient’s business shows a substantiated business history exhibiting sustainable growth over numerous business cycles.
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented to: Canadian Rockies Landscape Corporation
Since 2001, Canadian Rockies Landscape has established itself as a leader in both artistic and practical landscape design and construction. They offer a unique and one-of-a-kind design build process for commercial and residential landscape clients that allows them to stand out from other contractors. Operating with a team of many long-term employees, a philosophy of “commitment to our community” and a focus on customer care, professionalism and quality, Canadian Rockies Landscape has an impressive record of satisfied customers with a referral network that has led to a growing wait list of eager clients.
The Business of the Year, 16 plus employees award will be presented to a Cranbrook business that has been established for more than three years. The well-rounded recipient is regarded as an industry leader with a strong reputation for their business success. The recipient demonstrates a high degree of professionalism and performance in key measures of business. The recipient business shows a substantiated business history exhibiting sustainable growth over numerous business cycles.
NEW BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented to: Morchella Market & Café
Morchella Market is a local grocery store and café that focuses on sustainability and local, organic produce and products. Under the new ownership of young locals Rebekah and Mike, Morchella has recently been transformed into a hotspot for friends and families to gather and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Growing through regular word of mouth and eliciting a “big city feel” among customers, Morchella Market sets its sights on becoming an influential member of the local business community, hosting community-inclusive events and gatherings to bring people together, have fun and support local causes.
The New Business of the Year is awarded to a business established in the last 3 years that is considered a rising leader in their sector. The recipient has demonstrated outstanding sustainable business practices, is financially sustainable and potentially scalable. The business is being managed with a robust planning process and is able to materially differentiate itself from its competition.
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented to: Carter Flexhaug, Flexy’s Fresh Fruit & Vegetables – Cranbrook
Carter Flexhaug opened Flexy’s Okanagan Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Cranbrook this past June. The fruit and vegetable stand was open daily through September, bringing fresh, locally-sourced BC fruit and veggies to the Cranbrook community, meeting local demand and supporting BC farmers. In his first year of business, Carter employed several young adults and students, donated to the Foodbank and offered a seniors discount on Wednesdays to give back to the community. Navigating several barriers as a young entrepreneur, Carter was able to overcome these through perseverance, resourcefulness, and a dedication to customer service.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year award recognizes an outstanding entrepreneur, age 40 and under, that has distinguished themselves by building their own business or as part of the decision making management team of an existing business. This award pays tribute to an outstanding young entrepreneur who has distinguished themselves not only by their success in business, but also by their creativity, innovative spirit, and community involvement.
BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented to: Aleitha Harvey
To quote one of our nominators, “Aleitha is hardworking and dedicated. She is a wonderful person to her customers and employees. With her bright and warm smile she makes everyone feel at home at Ella’s.” As the owner of Ella’s, Aleitha has grown the business’ revenue, staff and services, recently moving into a larger location to accommodate this growth and development. Opening their doors just a month and two days before the sector shut down due to the global pandemic, Aleitha has used her strong relationship building skills, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous learning to succeed in one of the most challenging times for business at large, let alone within the hospitality industry.
The Business Person of the Year award goes to an individual displaying outstanding leadership and vision in the Cranbrook business community. The recipient’s business has been operating for at least five years and has succeeded through innovation, risk taking and a commitment to the community. The recipient serves as a positive role model and mentor for other business people and exemplifies community leadership and dedication.
*NEW* EXCELLENCE IN ARTS AWARD
Presented to: Cranbrook Community Theatre
Cranbrook Community Theatre has contributed to the advancement and evolution of local amateur theatre over the past six decades with over 160 productions involving hundreds of local citizens and thousands of spectators. Committed to the maintenance and restoration of the City-owned heritage property where they operate, ongoing improvements have contributed to advancing theatre arts production in Cranbrook and improved accessibility of the theatre to actors, crew and audience members. Cranbrook Community Theatre operates with the motto: “theatre for the community, by the community” and embodies this whole-heartedly in its operations. All productions are proposed by the community, open to community participation and promote inclusion and diversity through story-telling.
Excellence in Arts is Awarded to an individual or organization displaying outstanding creativity and vision in the Cranbrook arts community. The recipient is in devoted practice within one or more of the following areas: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Literary Arts. The award acknowledges contributions and innovation in the arts that strengthen the cultural, social and economic fabric of the community.