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Summerland Chamber celebrates 79th Business and Community Excellence Award recipients

March 15, 2017

On March 11th the Summerland Chamber of Commerce celebrated the 79th annual Business and Community Excellence Awards with an “Oscar-style” gala ceremony. Held at Summerland’s Centre Stage, the evening was a wonderful celebration of business excellence and community support in Summerland. At the reception guests enjoyed fabulous, unique bites by Union Kitchen Inc., a signature cocktail called Summerland Sunset, from Okanagan Crush Pad and Maple Roch Pure Canadian Maple Syrup, and live entertainment.

The returning emcee was Erick Thompson of ET2media, the Chamber’s Board President, who kept the evening running smoothly with his quick humour and professionalism.
In many award categories online voting was very close; an indicator of the strength of the business community in Summerland.

The award recipients are:
Business of the Year, sponsored by the Summerland Credit Union: awarded to True Grain Bread.
Citizen/Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Nesters Market: awarded to Grant Stone.
The Mayor’s Award of Excellence, sponsored by the District of Summerland: awarded to the Kettle Valley Steam Railway Society.
Rising Star/New Business, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank Summerland: awarded to Main Street Yoga.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by IGA Summerland: awarded to Kari Harding of Rock Star District.
Professional Services Excellence, sponsored by Brown Benefits: awarded to the Summerland Credit Union.
Retail Excellence, sponsored by the Summerland Review: awarded to IGA Summerland.
Excellence in Customer Service, sponsored by RE/MAX Orchard Country: awarded to Johanne Roy of Nesters Market Summerland.
Trade Services Excellence, sponsored by Alder Street Auto Body: awarded to Integra Tire Auto Centre.
Tourism & Hospitality Excellence, sponsored by Sumac Ridge Estate Winery: awarded to Zias Stonehouse Restaurant.
Excellence in Agriculture, sponsored by Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive Winery Association: awarded to LocalMotive Organic Delivery & Okanagan Crush Pad in a tie with What the Fungus.
Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence, sponsored by Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen: awarded to Backyard Beans Coffee.
Sustainability Leader, sponsored by SummerGate Winery: awarded to Okanagan Crush Pad.
Technology and Innovation Excellence, sponsored by Accelerate Okanagan: awarded to ET2media.
The Arts Award, sponsored by the Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa: awarded to Maureen King.

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Summerland Chamber celebrates nominees and winners at Awards Gala this weekend

March 7, 2017

The Summerland Chamber is planning a glitzy, fun night of awards, live entertainment, and delicious appies this Saturday, March 11.

All the fun starts at 7pm with a reception, sponsored by Grasslands Nursery & Garden Supplies, and continues throughout the evening.

The evening will feature:
– Swinging Jazz from Allan Crossley on keys, Stefan Bienz on bass, and Larry Crawford on horns
– Amazing performances by Kinshira‘s glow dancers, contact juggling and acrobats
– Sipping our signature cocktail, Summerland Sunset, sponsored and crafted by Okanagan Crush Pad using their Narrative Small Batch Distilled Spirits and Maple Roch Pure Canadian Syrup.
– Savouring delicious, fresh bites from Union Kitchen Inc., who are lovingly creating the appies and dessert
– Bid on your favourite activities, events, and goodies at our live and silent auctions
– Marvel at the sparkling decorations from Impressions Weddings & Events, and the beautiful greenery provided by our decor sponsor Grasslands Nursery & Garden Supplies.
– Fun snacks and dessert sponsored by the Kettle Valley Steam Railway.
– Refreshing local wine and beer at the cash bar, sponsored by Maple Roch Pure Canadian Maple Syrup, with wines from Sumac Ridge Estate Winery and beer from The Cannery.

Learn more about the nominees and supporters of our gala event in our program, designed by Source Graphics and sponsored by LocalMotiveOrganic Delivery, who have also provided some of the fresh ingredients for tonight’s appies!

Tickets available now at 250-494-2686!

Time: 7pm till 11pm
– Reception, appies, and entertainment 7-7.50 pm
– Awards 7:50-9:50 pm (with a 30 minute break for snacks and live auction)
– Dessert and mingling 9:50 pm to 11 pm
Location: Centre Stage, Summerland

*$5 of each ticket goes towards the Summerland Secondary School bursary program.

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 Nominees announced for Summerland Chamber’s Business & Community Excellence Awards

February 7, 2017

The Summerland Chamber of Commerce will present the 79th Annual Business and Community Awards on Saturday, March 11th.  These awards celebrate entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, best business practices, contribution to the economy and to the community.

Nominations closed on February 1, with 67 businesses and individuals being nominated in 14 categories, which is a 38% increase in nominations over last year.  The nominees are as follows:

Business of the Year, sponsored by Summerland Credit Union

8th Generation Vineyards
ABK Restoration Services Ltd.
BeadTrails Experience
Deputy Diesel Performance
Grasslands Nursery and Garden Supplies
IGA Summerland
Maple Roch Pure Canadian Maple Syrup
SIS Roofing and Exteriors
Tones Hair Design
True Grain Bread Summerland

 

Rising Star/New Business, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

Back Door Winery
Canines & Co. Okanagan Dog Obedience School
Carl’s Flower Company
Dominion Cider Co.
Eyes 4 You
Golden Wrench Contracting
Main Street Yoga
Nailed It! Projects
Ogopogo Valley Tours
Synergy Home Inspections

 

Sustainability Leader, sponsored by SummerGate Winery

8th Generation Vineyards
Grasslands Nursery and Garden Supplies
Hunter’s Hill Holdings Ltd.
Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
Technology and Innovation, sponsored by Accelerate Okanagan

ElectroMotion Energy
ET2media
FarmSolutions.net
Salubrious Seeds

 

Award for Excellence in Agriculture, sponsored by Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive Winery Association
Brarstar Orchards
LocalMotive Organic Delivery
LocalMotive Organic Delivery & Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
What the Fungus

 

Professional Services Excellence, sponsored by Brown Benefits

ABK Restoration Services Ltd.
Avery Law Office
Beauty & the Brit
Beauty Box Studio Inc.
Lakeshore Fitness + Health
Morpheus Graphix
Patrick Murphy – RE/MAX Orchard Country
Providence Funeral Homes Summerland
Terry Sedawie – RBC Royal Bank

Spokes Clinical Naturopathy

Mike Stohler – RE/MAX Orchard Country
Summerland Family Chiropractic
Summerland Credit Union

 

Trade Services Excellence, sponsored by Alder Street Auto Body 

Deputy Diesel Performance
Integra Tire Auto Centre
Selles Roofing Co.
SIS Roofing and Exteriors
Verity Electrical Contracting

Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence, sponsored by Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen

Backyard Beans Coffee Roasting
Maple Roch Pure Canadian Maple Syrup

 

Young Entrepreneur, sponsored by IGA Summerland

Corinne Inman – Morpheus Graphix
Kari Pennington – Rock Star District
Huan Pham – Lakeshore Fitness + Health
Mark Sherriff – Deputy Diesel Performance

Tourism/ Hospitality Excellence, sponsored by Sumac Ridge Estate Winery 

8th Generation Vineyards

BeadTrails Experience
La Punta Norte Guest House
Local Lounge • Grille
Saxon Estate Winery
Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa
Zias Stonehouse Restaurant

 

Retail Excellence, sponsored by the Summerland Review

Cherry Tree Quilts
IGA Summerland
Pharmasave Summerland
Rock Star District
The Peach Pitt of Summerland
SASS Boutique

 

Award for Excellence in Customer Service sponsored by RE/MAX Orchard Country

Laura Avadich & Norma Bradley  – Summerland Credit Union
Hedy Chen – Hagen’s Travel & Cruises
Sam Cheveldave – Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa
Tara Hollas – Summerland Food Bank & Resource Centre
Retha Marsden – Edward Jones (beside Nesters)
Johanne Roy – Nesters Market Summerland

 

The Arts Award sponsored by Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa

Maureen King
Susan Scott
Sophia Zang
Marginal Arts Festival

Citizen /Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Nesters Market

Doug Holmes
Nic and Shei Seaton
Grant Stone
Mary Trainer

All of the award nominees will be honoured at a free Nominees Reception sponsored by Nesters Market, with support from Bottleneck Drive, on Friday, February 10th.

In a change for 2017, all nominees will be eligible in the voting process. From February 14th to 27th the business community will be able to vote in all categories.  The general public will also be invited to vote for the Citizen/Volunteer of the Year award, The Arts Award, and the Award for Excellence in Customer Service.  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, March 11th  at Centre Stage and tickets are available beginning February 10th at the Nominees’ Reception and from the Summerland Chamber of Commerce office.

 

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For more information please contact:

Christine Petkau
Executive Director
Summerland Chamber of Commerce
250-494-2686  cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com

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Okanagan focuses on BC Agrifood Industry

December 16, 2016

In mid November I had the opportunity to attend the first BC Agrifood and Seafood Conference: Growing the Future Together, which was held in Kelowna.

In addition to an agritech innovation challenge sponsored by the BC Innovation Council, the conference had excellent workshops in four streams; access to markets, domestic growth, innovation and food supply security. As BC Minister of Agriculture, Norm Letnick, stated at the event, ‘the conference is a great opportunity for us to have a conversation about how we can develop, strengthen and build relationships in this sector’.

This is a particularly interesting topic here in Summerland. As part of the sector development work the Summerland Chamber of Commerce is involved in with the District of Summerland and the South Okanagan regional economic development group, we have been exploring the agricultural technology sector for a few years.

What started as casual conversations began to coalesce into more meaningful discussions with government and industry leaders around the possibilities to grow businesses in these areas in Summerland.

For example, precision science and technology services pertaining to agriculture, supply chain businesses in the wine industry, neutraceutical and biotechnology companies, businesses that work in telematics, RFID technology, soil sensors, RTK navigation systems, etc., are all potential businesses that could be a fit for our community.

There are a number of reasons why Summerland is a great choice for growth in this sector.

We are a community founded in the agricultural sector and, in particular, we are home to the cutting-edge Summerland Research and Development Centre. Over the years, world-renowned food based biotechnology companies have begun as research projects at the Centre and then commercialized, grown and remained in Summerland and we know that cluster opportunities exist.

Summerland is also ideally situated in the heart of the Okanagan with close proximity to major centres such as Kelowna and Penticton, fast access to two airports and easy connections to major highways that take our products east to the rest of Canada, west to the Lower Mainland and south to the US.

Agricultural technology businesses located in Summerland would provide increased economic and employment opportunities in our community and region and build on Summerland’s deep roots in agriculture. Sector development is not a fast process but real strides can be made in a few years. We look forward to growth in this area.

Christine Petkau is Executive Director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Summerland. The Chamber is also responsible for business retention, expansion and attraction (economic development services) on behalf of the District of Summerland. She can be reached at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com.

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How BC Chambers are working together to learn more about our business community

November 4, 2016

In late October representatives from 5 Okanagan Chambers gathered together for a BC Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) Area Meeting held in the Okanagan region.

Usually occurring twice per year, the area meetings are a great opportunity for Chamber representatives to gather in their region, discuss policy, programs and ideas and to hear from members of the Provincial organization.

This meeting was no exception. New BCCC President, Val Litwin, shared information regarding their Board’s planning efforts for the coming years and what they are doing to strengthen the Chamber network in BC.

As part of a continued commitment to data-driven decision-making, the BCCC is uniting with Chambers from across the province to better understand our local businesses, as well as get a snapshot of the greater business community in BC.

A brief 10-minute survey has been created which will provide real-time data on the level of confidence local businesses have in the current and future state of BC’s economy.

Each Chamber is connecting with their members to participate in the province-wide Collective Perspective survey. The results of this survey will provide crucial information that will help guide the development of programs and initiatives to better serve member needs.

It will also provide perspective on the challenges and opportunities BC businesses are anticipating over the next five years. The survey closes on November 4 and results will be shared within the Chamber network.

The morning also included a presentation regarding apprenticeship from the Industry Training Authority, Chamber information regarding strategic planning and branding, and discussions on relationship building with new groups and sectors that will bring economic and social value as well as environmental awareness to our communities.

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The importance of communication

October 10, 2016

Last month, at the BC Chamber Executives Conference in Parksville, the Summerland Chamber was honoured with the 2016 BCCE Communications Award for Chambers with more than 500 members.

We take our communications with our stakeholders very seriously and work hard to reach all our audiences. In addition to serving our 700+ members, the Summerland Chamber is also responsible for tourism and business retention and expansion activities on behalf of the District of Summerland.

Because of these multiple roles in the community, our communications activities are significant and we often use a different ‘voice’ to reach our varying audiences. We also won this award in 2013 and since that time we’ve made significant changes. In the spring of 2014 we completed a major project to separate our tourism information from our main Chamber site.

bcce-award-2016

Tourismsummerland.com provided a new showcase for our many business members in the tourism sector and the activities and attractions that Summerland is known for. The site is rich in photos and text and provides a comprehensive directory of our tourism business members. We make significant investments in search engine optimization each year in order to attract visitors to the site. The site is supported by social media on the following platforms: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

In addition to various print media and the social media above, our tourism and communication staff is currently involved in a provincial pilot training project through Destination BC to enhance our social media efforts for tourism with an emphasis on Twitter.

In 2015 we were able to take on the project of re-doing our main Chamber website, www.summerlandchamber.com. Our goal was to put our 700+ members front and centre with a beautiful new business directory, which links from the main page of the website. This new site gives us the option to also include more pictures and videos and is supported by social media at facebook.com/SummerlandChamber and twitter.com/summerlandchmbr.

Our news pages link to monthly newsletters, the very popular Business Buzz which highlights the activities of our members, and also this blog. Through our economic development activities, we have partnered in the last two years with the District of Summerland to create a series of informative videos about business and investment opportunities in the community which can be viewed on our website or on our YouTube channel.

In March of this year, again partnering with the District of Summerland, we created a local shopping campaign to benefit our members called #discoverhome. This series of 10 videos has been shared through Facebook to Summerland residents as well as through Instagram and has received more than 40,000 views.

The Chamber is also responsible for a major event in Summerland called the Festival of Lights, held the last Friday of November. 2016 will be the 29th year the Chamber has presented the festival and it is the Okanagan Valley’s premier kick-off to the winter holidays.

The festival attracted almost 8000 visitors last year and is supported by its own website at www.summerlandlightup.com and on Facebook. We live in a world where the ability to communicate is key. A recent article in Forbes Magazine stated that ‘in order to innovate, it’s not enough to just come up with big ideas, you also need to work hard to communicate them clearly.’ The Summerland Chamber sincerely appreciates being recognized by our provincial peers for success in this area.

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Agricultural technology has deep roots in Summerland

September 26, 2016

Growing up I spent a lot of time in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where my grandparents and uncles farmed for more than 50 years.  And when I moved to Summerland I couldn’t help but think that this was like the Niagara of my childhood, made even more beautiful with mountains.  The meandering views, the orchards, vineyards, fresh picked fruit and bountiful markets, affect all of us who visit and live here.  But what about beyond what we see and taste?  What is agriculture doing in our economy?

Canada has about 7% of its land that is suitable for farming and of that, 4% is located in BC.  Overall in Canada, primary agriculture accounts for a much smaller share of output and jobs than in earlier years.  For example, in Kelowna, the share of the population directly employed in agriculture is less than 2%.  And there are those who believe that food production can be more cost effectively left to other countries, even after accounting for environmental impacts.

However, we also know that the processing of ag products, as well as retailing, food services, transportation, handling and the provision of input supplies to primary agriculture are major Canadian industries.

Wine is one great example of beverage processing.  In BC the Okanagan region is the major wine producing area.  The BC Wine Institute reports that, in 2011, the BC wine and grape industry alone contributed 1.43 billion to the provincial economy and counting jobs and taxes, had an overall economic impact of over 2 billion.  Remember those beautiful vineyards I mentioned earlier?  The wine industry also brought 800,000 wine tourists to the province, primarily benefiting the Okanagan region.

So while primary agriculture has its challenges, niche agriculture products and support have excellent growth potential, both in BC and closer to home.  The Government of BC is also looking at this and, as part of its 2015 – 2018 strategic plan, has prioritized the growth of the agri-food and technology sectors.

To respond to these opportunities, and as part of the sector development work the Summerland Chamber of Commerce is involved in with the District of Summerland and the South Okanagan regional economic development group, we have been exploring the agricultural technology sector for a few years.

What started as casual conversations began to coalesce into more meaningful discussions with government and industry leaders around the possibilities to grow businesses in these sectors in Summerland.  For example, precision science and technology services pertaining to agriculture, supply chain businesses in the wine industry, neutraceutical and biotechnology companies, businesses that work in telematics, RFID technology, soil sensors, RTK navigation systems, etc., are all potential business that could be a fit for our community.

There are a number of reasons why Summerland is a great choice for growth in this area. We are a community founded in the agricultural sector and, in particular, we are home to the cutting-edge Summerland Research and Development Centre.  Over the years, world renowned food based bio-technology companies have begun as research projects at the Centre and then commercialized, grown and remained in Summerland and we know that cluster opportunities exist.

Entrepreneurs in these sectors are also seeing global threats as potential business opportunities.

Studies show that climate change in this region will require significant adaptation to ensure long term success for this sector.   The BC Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation Risk + Opportunity Assessment Report of 2012 states that new ways to deal with water use, pest management and disease control are critical to the industry.  However, the development of these responses as well as agriculture technology, innovation and information management systems can reduce operating costs, precisely control inputs and improve yields for producers in the Okanagan and globally.

We shouldn’t forget that Summerland is also ideally situated in the heart of the Okanagan with close proximity to major centres such as Kelowna and Penticton, fast access to two airports and easy connections to major highways that take our products east to the rest of Canada, west to the Lower Mainland and south to the US.

Agricultural technology businesses located in Summerland would provide increased economic and employment opportunities in our community and region and build on Summerland’s deep roots in agriculture.

Sector development is not a fast process but real strides can be made in 3-5 years.  We hope the community will be interested in supporting this development.

Christine Petkau is Executive Director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Summerland. The Chamber is also responsible for business retention, expansion and attraction (economic development services) on behalf of the District of Summerland.