Summerland Chamber celebrates Business Awards nominees with reception

January 26, 2016

The Summerland Chamber of Commerce will present the 78th Annual Business and Community Awards on Saturday, February 27th.  These awards celebrate entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, best business practices, contribution to the economy and to the community.

59 businesses and individuals have been nominated in 11 categories, which is a 35% increase in nominations over last year.  The nominees are as follows:

Business of the Year, sponsored by Summerland Credit Union: Bead Trails, Dirty Laundry Vineyard, Interior Ink Works, Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, Summerland Dental Centre, SWC General Contracting, The Suburban Princess, True Grain Bread, and What the Fungus.

Citizen /Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Nesters Market: Awarded since 1938, this year’s nominees are Paul Barber and Charlotte Burley, Dave and Alison Carleton, Sue Eden, Karen Hooper, Ayman Kanaan, Maryana (Mirjana) Komljenovic, Mary Trainer, Ellen Walker-Matthews, Denise Whittaker, and Ingrid Wuensche.

Rising Star/New Business, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank: Artisans of the Okanagan, Back Door Winery, Beauty Box Studio Inc., Dominion Cider Co., Drew’s Kitchen, Essential Fire Protection Ltd., Esthetics by Nicole, Maximus Vineyard Management, Summerland Sunday Market, Sing Your Song Studios, Synergy Home Inspections, and Tammy’s Brush 2 Canvas.

Young Entrepreneur, sponsored by Bottleneck Drive Winery Association:  Jess Repetowski of Signwave Signs, Corrine Inman of Morpheus Graphix and Publications, and Carrie Mayes of Peanuts and Pumpkins Kids Shop.

Tourism/ Hospitality Excellence, sponsored by Sumac Ridge Estate Winery:  Kettle Valley Steam Railway, Mike West of Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, and TH Wines.

Trade Services Excellence, sponsored by Alder Street Auto Body:  Deputy Diesel Performance, GPH Mechanical, Summerland Glass and Mirror, and Summerland Tirecraft Auto Centre.

Professional Services Excellence, sponsored by Brown Benefits:  Beauty & the Brit, Chantelle Meriam of Edward Jones, Interior Ink Works, Morpheus Graphix and Publications, Terry Sedawie of RBC Royal Bank, Mike Stohler of RE/MAX Orchard Country, Sue Eden of Royal LePage Parkside Realty, Summerland Dental Centre, and Tones Hair Design.

Retail Excellence, sponsored by the Summerland Review: Cherry Tree Quilts, Summerland Home Hardware, The Suburban Princess, Summerland Builders Mart (TIM-BR Mart), and Your Dollar Store With More.

Sustainability Leader, sponsored by IGA Summerland: Friends of Summerland Ornamental Gardens, Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, Strachan Consulting, SummerGate Winery, and What the Fungus.

Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence, sponsored by Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen: Okanagan Vinegar Brewery and lone tree coffee.

Technology and Innovation, sponsored by Accelerate Okanagan: Cordillera Consulting, ElectroMotion Energy, and What the Fungus.

All of the award nominees will be honoured at a Nominees Reception sponsored by Nesters Market on Thursday, January 28th.

Two finalists will be chosen for each category on February 1st.  The business community will be able to vote electronically on the finalists from February 3 – 18.  The general public will also be invited to vote electronically for the finalists in the Citizen/Volunteer of the Year award.  All awards will be presented at the Gala.

The Mayor’s Award of Excellence, given at the Mayor’s discretion to a local organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the community, will also be presented at that time.

The Gala will be held on Saturday, February 27th at the Summerland Waterfront Resort and is catered by Local Lounge*Grille.


Nominations for the Summerland Business & Community Awards open until Jan. 20th

January 11, 2016

Every year the Summerland Chamber of Commerce has the privilege of recognizing and honoring our local businesses as well as those who have made a difference in our community.  This year will be the 78th Anniversary of the awards event.

Last year we talked about how connected our community is between businesses, individuals and organizations.  Our buying habits and practices make a tremendous difference on a very local level since the businesses we buy goods and services from locally are then able to support the organizations, clubs and service groups who are so active in Summerland.

Part of being connected is knowing where those goods and services can be found.  In fall the Chamber launched a new website with a comprehensive new business directory that provides this information.

At this year’s Gala we particularly want to celebrate those companies who incorporate community support into their plans for business excellence.  And in 2016 we will be encouraging you to discover all the products and services you can find right here at home.   Thank you for continuing to support Summerland businesses.

Nominations in the following award categories opened on December 14, 2015:

Business of the Year
Rising Star/New Business
Sustainability Leader
Technology and Innovation
Professional Services Excellence
Trade Services Excellence
Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence
Retail Excellence
Tourism and Hospitality Excellence
Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Citizen/Volunteer of the Year

The Mayor’s Award of Excellence continues to be an important acknowledgement of community leadership. This award is given at the Mayor’s discretion to an organization that has made an outstanding contribution to Summerland.

Nominations can be made by the public and by businesses.  Chamber business members (both local and corporate members) are eligible to be nominated. A business may also nominate themselves for an award as we have many businesses in Summerland that are not visible to the general public yet they play a vital role in our economy and are doing excellent work.

Nominations will be open until 5:00 pm on January 20th. Please plan to join us on January 28th at the free annual Nominees Reception, sponsored by Nesters Market, to congratulate all the nominees. A nominations committee will shortlist finalists and from February 3rd – 18th, Chamber of Commerce members will have the opportunity to vote for the winners.  The general public is invited to vote for Citizen of the Year.  The awards will be given out at the Gala on February 27 at the Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa. For online nominations and information about the awards and Gala, please visit www.summerlandchamber.com.

We always appreciate your feedback.  Please contact me at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com  or our Chamber President, Kelly Marshall, at president@summerlandchamber.com .

Christine Petkau is the Executive Director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. 


Summerland Chamber Reviews the Year

December 16, 2015

2015 has been an exceptional year of new projects and exciting opportunities for the Summerland Chamber.  Here’s a short list of some of those accomplishments:

  • Tourism Management: The Chamber provides comprehensive Destination Management Services to the District of Summerland.  We welcome more than 12,000 visitors each year to our Visitor Centre, provide images, content and design for the Summerland Visitor Guide, manage the image bank and handle all tourism marketing for our town.
  • Regional Bike Path Guides and Summerland Specific Hike and Bike Trail Map: Building on our region’s tourism and economic development focus on biking as an economic driver, we were a partner in the creation of a comprehensive South Okanagan regional bike map and we also used that data as well as other Summerland hiking material to create a new local bike/hike map.
  • GoMedia: In 2015 Destination Canada hosted their annual international travel media conference in Penticton.  We were exhibitors at this conference and also hosted more than 50 international writers through two ½ day fam tours in Summerland.  We have created a new media section with stories and images on the tourismsummerland.com website and the event has already generated media coverage for our community.
  • New chamber website: Our new Chamber website was launched in May.  A clean new look with important information front and centre helps us promote our members and the work of the Chamber, a comprehensive new business directory makes local business easy to find and the site’s responsive design means it is user friendly on all digital platforms, from laptops to handheld devices.  As the Summerland Chamber represents 100% of local businesses, this site is a very important promotional tool for our business community.
  • Our Connected Community video: Launched in February, this video showcases the value of shopping locally.  When we support local businesses, that money flows out to all the local organizations and non-profit groups that make our community vibrant.
  • Sector Meetings: This year we hosted a number of meetings within particular sectors to improve our connections to our members and hear their issues.
  • Business Walks: The Chamber Board, joined by District of Summerland Mayor and Council, also made significant connections with our business community via Summerland’s first ‘Business Walk’.   Seven teams, each made up of a Board member and Councillor were able to meet 66 businesses on the morning of Oct. 22.  A survey was also extended to our membership to gather feedback.  90% of respondents said that business was steady or improving and also shared their perspectives on what we can do to improve the business climate in our community.  The full report, issued on November 9, is available on the Chamber website.
  • Regional Economic Development: The Chamber represents Summerland on the South Okanagan Economic Development Consortium as part of our business retention, attraction and expansion portfolio. This year the regional group has focused on a series of business solutions forums, labour market development and retention, regional airport promotion, ag sector growth and the development of a regional business directory.
  • Summerland Business and Community Awards Gala: Held the last Saturday of February, the 77th awards Gala celebrated of the best of our Summerland businesses and community supporters. Nomination forms for the 78th Gala will be available shortly.
  • Festival of Lights: The 28th annual Festival of Lights, organized each year by the Summerland Chamber, celebrated a Country Christmas theme and was bigger and better than ever. Attendance was excellent and the festival attracted new vendors and activities.  We’re looking forward to more festival excitement in 2016.
  • Growing Web and Social Media Presence: The Chamber reaches thousands of unique visitors each year through our three websites at summerlandchamber.com; tourismsummerland.com and summerlandlightup.com. We also have more than 7,000 daily followers across our 3 Facebook pages, 3 twitter accounts, Instagram, Pinterest and Blog. 

Please connect with us online at SummerlandChamber.com to learn more about our work in Summerland and the South Okanagan. The Summerland Chamber of Commerce wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Christine Petkau is Executive Director at the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com.


Summerland Festival of Lights shines a light on community and downtown businesses

November 19, 2015


Every year the Summerland Chamber plans and hosts the Okanagan’s premier kick off to the Christmas season.  The 28th annual Festival of Lights will be held on Friday, November 27th this year and the theme is Country Christmas.  Just over 6000 visitors are expected for the evening.

We love Light Up because it gives us a chance to celebrate the season, showcase our beautiful downtown and let people know that Summerland is a great community where families thrive and businesses prosper.

The fun begins with the Santa procession at 5:00 pm.  The evening also features western themed Ice Sculptures sponsored by Nesters Market, Santa’s workshop hosted by the Summerland Credit Union, and fun kid zone activities and photos with Santa sponsored by IGA.  All the Summerland Royalty and candidates will be dressed in their western best this year with matching light up Stetsons.  Get a picture of yourself riding ‘El Diablo’ the mechanical bull!  And remind your kids to bring their letters to Santa to drop off at the post office.    Your family will also enjoy pony and ATV rides, bouncy toys, community dancers and choirs and great music.

At 7:00 pm the street will go dark and the whole crowd will count down to the moment of Light Up.  It’s magical!  Fresh from Sun Fest and the Merritt Music Festival, county group The Chris Buck Band will entertain on the main stage this year, along with duo Robyn and Ryleigh.  A spectacular fireworks finale is sponsored by the Summerland Credit Union and will be set to country music.

You’ll also be able to try the most delicious food you’ve ever seen in one place!  We simply couldn’t put on this amazing event without the participation of some great partners,  Festival Services sponsor Progressive Waste Solutions  and Festival Support from the District of Summerland.   See you on November 27th .  You can check out all the activities and details at www.summerlandlightup.com.

This is the kick off to a fantastic weekend with the 5th Annual Light UpThe Vines being held on Saturday and Sunday, November 28th & 29th.  This beautiful self guided winery tour is hosted by our winery association, Bottleneck Drive and their member wineries and cideries.   All the locations are lit for Christmas and offer tastings and other delicious fare.   More information can be found at www.bottleneckdrive.com.

The Summerland Waterfront Resort has exciting accommodation packages designed for the weekend so you can stay and play in style.  Check those out at www.summerlandresorthotel.com.

It’s a fabulous weekend to be in Summerland!

Christine Petkau is Executive Director at the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com.



Small Business Week celebrates entrepreneurs

October 16, 2015

Small Business Week in Canada will be celebrated from October 19th to the 25th.  This is the national celebration of entrepreneurs and the contributions of their small businesses to our country’s economy.

Across British Columbia, 98 percent of businesses are small businesses, employing more than a million people.  And here in Summerland, small businesses are the heart and soul of our community and the engine of our local economy.

This year we are celebrating with a couple of events.  On October 20 our Business after Business event (small business week edition) will be celebrated at Summerland Credit Union and will include a trade show of Credit Union member businesses.

Later that week, Summerland will conduct its first ever Business Walk event.  Business Walks were first initiated in Canada in 2012 by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission.  Since that time business walks have been conducted in many BC and Alberta communities and the majority of Okanagan communities.

The goal of a business walk is to provide an informal opportunity to connect with businesses face-to-face and take the pulse of the business community.  On October 22nd, Chamber Board members will team up with Summerland’s Mayor Waterman and Councillors to visit a number of local businesses to ask some brief questions. We anticipate being able to reach over 100 local businesses in a half day.

Following the visits, the Chamber will create a report indicating common themes raised by the business community.  Working together with Mayor and Council will provides us with an opportunity to celebrate and promote local businesses and provide our business members with an opportunity to share their views and build new relationships.  This is a great way to celebrate Small Business Week.

 Christine Petkau is Executive Director at the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com.


International travel writers tour the Okanagan for the 12th annual GoMedia Canada Marketplace

October 5, 2015

Travel writers from all over the world were in Penticton last week for the 12th annual GoMedia Canada Marketplace. GoMedia is produced annually by Destination Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Commission). This year’s event, hosted by Tourism Penticton, the City of Penticton, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and Destination British Columbia, will be staged at the Penticton Convention Centre, with events and tours scheduled throughout the region.

As the Summerland Chamber also manages Tourism Summerland, we participated for the first time in this event to market our community. In the GoMedia model, tourism marketers from across Canada have the opportunity to speak with top travel media from around the globe. The event features a market place where pre-arranged 15 minute meetings take place between journalists and exhibitors. Through these one-on-one meetings, networking events and tours in the local communities, we had the opportunity to showcase Summerland and provide writers with a roster full of inspiring stories that they can tell in their publications and on-line.

Summerland was also responsible for hosting 2 tours during the conference. These were held the morning and afternoon of September 28th. Summerland’s tours were designed to illustrate how the Okanagan region was originally opened up via the Kettle Valley Railway system and went on to become a fruit supplier to the rest of the country. Our tours included a ride on the KVSR, a stop at Summerland Sweets, an organic harvest lunch and an apple tasting demonstration provided by scientists from the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre.

According to their profiles, the journalists have a wide range of interests, media, audiences, demographics and clients that they write for. Our job is to help the writers find stories they can sell to their editors and those editors want stories that are compelling and relevant. In order to make these writers’ work easier, a media section has been developed for our website. This area has story ideas, contact people and images all ready to go.

We always keep in mind that travelers may someday also become residents. Those of us who came here as visitors and then moved here know this is true. Travel is an excellent funnel for residents and future investors in our communities so we wear our economic development hat for an event like this as well.

All in all, the GoMedia conference is no small undertaking. The expectation is that we will see many exciting stories being written about the Okanagan in the year to come and these will entice new visitors to our region.

Christine Petkau is Executive Director at the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com.


South Okanagan Chambers plan Business Solutions Forums for members.

August 20, 2015


As part of business retention and expansion support for our members, South Okanagan Chambers have been planning a series of Business Solutions Forums.

The need for these forums arises from previous collective work with our business members that has identified that common issues exist in the business community.  These common issues include, but aren’t limited to: cost of living, housing costs and availability, seasonality of much of the available work, shortages in skilled labor, succession planning and business skill building, community reticence to growth, workers with spouses who can’t find employment, etc.

The goal of the proposed business solutions forums is to create the opportunity for businesses struggling with common issues to share existing creative solutions with each other; both to learn from one another and to explore potential collaborative solutions in a neutral environment.

In addition to the Chamber Executive Directors from Penticton, South Okanagan and Summerland, the planning group has included economic development representative from Penticton, Summerland and Osoyoos, economic development staff from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skill Training (JTST) and representatives from Okanagan College School of Business.

Through the fall communities will be organizing and conducting business walks and a number of individual business interviews will also be conducted in order to gather information.  In the early winter of 2016 the forums will be conducted with the goal of determining solutions that can be implemented.  Findings will also be shared with other regions.  Hopefully these forums will provide tangible solutions for our business members and culminate in a stronger more competitive regional business environment.

Christine Petkau is Executive Director at the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com.


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