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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.

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Tourism Plays Major Role in Summerland’s Economic Development

August 8, 2016

In the Okanagan region tourism is a dynamic force in our local economies. Here in Summerland the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association estimates that tourism contributes as much as $50,000,000 to our local economy each year.

Increasingly we also understand that tourism isn’t just fun for fun’s sake, but instead it’s a tremendous leverage for resident attraction and investment. People visit communities and enjoy the amenities, then decide to relocate, bring their families, buy homes and start businesses.

A great way to introduce people to our community is through festivals and events. And through those events, visitors are seeking authenticity and an experience. This September there are three new events in Summerland that deliver on all fronts and will make a wonderful introduction to our community.

The first of these events is the new Marginal Arts Festival, September 1 – 4, created by the Ryga Festival Society. The festival honors the work of Canadian playwright and author, George Ryga, who lived in Summerland from 1963 until his death in 1987.

The weekend will include professional workshops, readings, concerts, a variety show, and performances in many art forms. A homecoming concert will be performed by 3-time Juno Award winner, Campbell Ryga and his band.

That same weekend there is a new wine event being held that will celebrate our wineries and cider companies as well as the history of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway (KVR). The Grand Sommelier Express is being hosted by the Bottleneck Drive Association and will feature a reception, a ride on the historic KVR with an all on-board wine tasting and a three course wine-makers’ dinner served at the railway station and accompanied by live music.

More feasting will be available the following weekend at the inaugural Summerland Feast of Farms. The feast will be presented under the stars, complete with musical entertainment, at Dickinson Family Farm, Summerland, BC. Locally produced wine, cheese, and bread sampling will be followed by a seated, family-style, ‘long table’ chef prepared, meal for 100 guests. This event is a fundraiser for the expansion of a Summerland community garden and the purchase of gardening tools for shared use.

We’re looking forward to all of these new events and expect them to be a wonderful introduction to our beautiful community. For information about these events and many more in Summerland, please visit:www.summerlandchamber.com/events/calendar.

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Local Economic Development in BC

July 22, 2016

In June I had the opportunity to attend the BC Economic Development Association’s (BCEDA) 2016 Summit held in Richmond.  One of the sessions introduced the results of the 2016 survey of economic development in BC.  This survey included 414 responses from communities throughout BC and was sponsored by the BCEDA, the Union of BC Municipalities and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Economic Development Division.

Some of the responses were particularly interesting from our Chamber’s perspective as we partner with the District of Summerland to deliver economic development initiatives in our community.  While we’ve done that for more than 15 years, the survey showed that this is becoming more common in BC.  In 2009 the survey showed that 4% of communities used the services of their local Chambers to undertake EcDev work.  In 2016 that number has climbed substantially to 32% overall with midsize communities of 5,000 – 50,000 being even higher at 38%.

Those in favor of having economic development delivered by an organization separate from the City, whether Chambers or other organizations, suggested that the arms-length relationship was non-partisan and provided the ability to build greater trust with the business community.

The report indicated that local business retention and expansion activities (BRE) continue to be the top priority for economic development efforts (65%), followed by tourism and cultural activities (48%), and attracting external industry, businesses and resources.

“Specific to BRE efforts, the three most commonly identified activities are community profiles, a developed website and personal contact with existing businesses. Other common BRE activities are business walks programs, promotional brochures and “Buy Local” events, the last of which saw a substantial increase” from  the 2009 survey.

To read Summerland’s Investment and Relocation Guide, view our promotional videos, check the reports from our 2015 and 2016 business walks or check out our #discoverhome local shopping campaign, please visit our website.

To read the province’s report in its entirety please visit gov.bc.ca/economicdevelopment.

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