Awards of excellence presented to Langley’s top businesses

The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce presented its business excellence awards on Wednesday night.

Janet Burden (left) of Stepping Stone Community Services Society received the award for community impact

Janet Burden (left) of Stepping Stone Community Services Society received the award for community impact

The 17th annual Business Excellence Awards were presented by Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday night.

The event took place at Cascades Casino and Convention Centre, and was emceed by Jim McGregor.

A total of 48 individuals, businesses and organizations were nominated for awards.

Angie Quaale photoThe George Preston Business Person of the Year award went to chamber past president Angie Quaale, of Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store. She has been a tireless promoter of Langley, through her store, the Langley Community Farmers Market, Fraser Valley culinary tours and the annual BBQ on the Bypass that her business sponsors. She also write a regular column for The Times and is chair of Tourism Langley.

“When Angie takes on an initiative, she gives it all her attention, commits to the project fully to ensure immediate success and has the vision to guarantee success over the future,” said McGregor.

Since opening the doors in 2004, she and her team at Well Seasoned have continued to expand the scope of their products and services into a very successful enterprise that has weathered the economic storm and contributed greatly to the community.  She has diversified her business and services to meet ever changing trends and demands in the marketplace.

Other nominees in this category were Chris Davies of Chris’s Sign and Lighting Service; James Gilmore of PriceSmart Foods; Milt Kruger of OnLine Collision and Wayne Patterson of United Rentals.

Nav Dardi of Panago Pizza, Langley City was honoured for Community Impact, for profit businesses. Panago Pizza has a “give-back” attitude to provide strong community support through its actions.

From staff to management, they are all onboard to make Langley a better place.  Panago has numerous programs aimed toward community support. They assist local schools to ensure children have healthy hot lunches; partner with the fire department to award pizza for customers with properly functioning smoke detectors;  support local non-profit organizations by providing pizza or gift certificates for volunteers; and work with local sport teams, churches and youth organizations.  Their ‘pet project’ was formation of a partnership with the local food bank to feed people in need within the community. The business does give back to the community.

Other nominees in this category were Earl’s Kitchen and Bar; Langley Events Centre; On Line Collision; PriceSmart Foods and Wendel’s bookstore and Cafe.

The Community Impact, non-profit, under $250,000 budget award went to  Langley Community Farmers Market, represented by Benedict Canale. The over $250,000 budget award went to Stepping Stone Community Services Society, whose executive director is Janet Burden.

The Langley Community Farmers Market provides Langley and surrounding areas with locally grown-foods, farm products and other locally-made items in a direct producer to consumer marketing venue.  They serve diverse populations, preserve and promote local agriculture, enhance the local community and improve the overall quality of life.  Currently in its fifth season, the market has hosted a wide variety of vendors that “Make It – Bake It – or Grow It.”

It has continually grown in attendance, public reach, education, community involvement and economic impact.  In 2013, it participated in a nutrition coupon program to provide low-income seniors and families with education and financial resources to participate in the weekly market.

Stepping Stone knows the difference its services makes. It helps people live in decent affordable housing, have enough money to purchase food, have friends, a support system and participate in their community as volunteers, students and employees.  The organization serves over 800 people in all its programs.

Mental health programs include support, rehabilitation, employment and housing.  Support services help people live independently and connect with community resources.  Rehabilitation services focus on recovery, and the Homeless Outreach Program helps people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Other nominees in the non-profit community service category were the B.C. 2013 Special Olympics organizing committee; Relay For Life Langley and Tourism Langley.

The Environmental Leadership award went to Langley Environmental Partners Society, whose executive director is Nichole Marples.

Founded in 1993, LEPS is a non-profit, partnership-driven organization that aims to achieve the mission of protecting and restoring the natural environment through education, cooperation and action.  It works with a diverse variety of partners to achieve common environmental goals focused on education, mapping and inventory, habitat restoration and agricultural stewardship.  It will continue to offer programs that reflect and respond to the environmental needs and concerns of the community.

Other nominees were Corix Group of Companies; Langley Home Depot; Recyc-Mattresses; Seasonal 56 and Redwoods Golf Course.

The 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year is Dan Trites of Ignite Cafe. He was unable to pick up his award as he was working at his small restaurant in Langley City, but his wife Angie Bell accepted on his behalf.

“Always creating fresh exciting menus using as much local agriculture as possible, Dan uses his lifetime of training and exposure in the food and restaurant industry to create a unique dining experience.  Dan’s vision for the company is to continue to provide a welcoming, intimate dining environment where guests can enjoy great fresh food and warm service.  Reviewing restaurant and ‘foodie’ ratings of Ignite Cafe are a true testament to the uniqueness of its service,” said McGregor.

Other nominees were Cindia Correia of The Creative Bookworm; Don Easton of Checkers Premium Fudge and Tony Malyk of Empowered Business Coaching.

The Service Excellence award went to Carlo and Denni Bonetti, Bonetti Meats. They took over ownership of the business, which has operated for 40 years, from Carlo’s parents in 2010.

“They could have chosen the easy route of simply maintaining an already established and successful business. However, they chose instead to find ways to improve operations and strive for continued growth. The personal connection with their customers has helped this business rise as one of the best in the industry through understanding, education and involvement in the community.  The benefit of growing with the community is having the knowledge of those they are serving, and because of this Bonetti Meats can address these individual needs,” said McGregor.

Other nominees were Clover Towing; Ears Hearing Clinics of Langley; Fernridge Automotive; Global Office and Business Centre; Jelly Marketing; Langley Bottle Depot; Magellan Law Group and Wendel’s Bookstore and Cafe.

Business of the Year award for small business went to Paul Chung of Innovative Fitness. Innovative Fitness is dedicated to helping customers set attainable goals and leading individuals to personal victory.

The company, funded in 2010 and employing eight people, not only challenges its customers to become greater, it also challenges its own staff to improve physically and personally.  Innovative Fitness believes in a healthy and strong community. Community participation and support is both a commitment and priority.

This commitment includes many community-based initiatives and charitable causes such as the ‘Train The Trainer’ to benefit various organizations like the Langley Christmas Bureau, 60 Minute Kids Club and Canuck Place Children’ Hospice, the Adventure Challenge for Kids  and the Healthy Community Challenge.

Other nominees were Chylan Emergency Gear; Magellan Law Group and Milsean Shoppe.

Business of the Year award for medium-sized business went to Chris Davies, Chris’s Sign and Lighting Service. Chris’s Sign & Lighting Service Inc. has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a one-man sign and lighting maintenance service.

In business for over 20 years, Chris’s Signs now employs over 30 people and has expanded to include locations in Alberta.  It has developed a great staff culture to help it excel above its competitors, and provide prompt, professional and courteous service.  Chris’s Sign Service has built a foundation of business ethics and determination that will allow it to be a successful leader in industry for years to come.  Management’s dedication and hard work, along with vision and willingness to take calculated risks, has been the recipe to Chris’s Sign Services success.

Other nominees were Bonetti Meats; Nufloors Langley; Tamlin Homes Ltd. and Townhall Public House.

Business of the Year award for large businesses went to the Langley City PriceSmart store, whose manager James Gilmore accepted the award.

Since opening the Langley location as Save On Foods in 1986, and converting to PriceSmart Foods in 2006, this local business has provided hundreds of area residents with employment opportunities, provided quality grocery and pharmacy products at competitive pricing, and supported the community in countless ways.  From the Senior Resource Centre Healthy Living Program to local school lunch programs, from the Lions Clubs to the Nicomekl River salmon release,  from the Langley Community Days parade to the Down Syndrome Easter Egg Hunt, the store and its employees not only donate, they show up to participate.

In the highly competitive retail grocery industry, PriceSmart Langley has continued to serve the needs of our citizens through innovation, team work and dedication to community.

Other nominees were Cascadia Windows Ltd.; Corix Group of Companies and TMW Systems Inc.

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