October 22, 2018
It might be business up front, but it was a party in back. In a night of celebrations and congratulations, the 22nd annual Quinte Business Achievement Awards was a big success as a sold out crowd of 360 came out to honour and congratulate nominees and award winners at the National Air Force Museum of Canada.
This year, 111 companies were nominated across 15 different categories.
“The Business Achievement Awards committee work takes about nine months to pull together these awards every year,” said committee chairperson, Suzanne Andrews. “This year we had 111 companies complete the nomination process, showcasing the great diversity and strength Quinte businesses have.”
Past nominees and even non-nominated businesses were in attendance throughout the evening to show their support for the people and business in the area.
“It is always great to see our local businesses so proud to be located in the Quinte region,” said Morgan Scott, event coordinator.Walking away with the Business Excellence Award this year was everybody’s favourite guilty pleasure, Donini Chocolate. “We came here with being nominated for the Manufacturing Award which that in itself was a privilege,” said Director of Operations at Donini Chocolate, Kimberly Bushell. “This is such a great honour…I’m completely blown away.”
“It’s great to get the positive feedback that we have,” said Antonia Zambri, Senior Retail Store Manager. “It’s a great business to be in. Who doesn’t like chocolate? So we’ve got a bit of an edge over a lot of other businesses,” laughed Zambri. “But it’s still wonderful to feel that positivity around us.”
For Bushell and Zambri, one of the biggest appeals to having a business in the area is the people. “You know that you are supported there,” said Bushell. “If you have any issue or you have anything you need assistance with, they are there at a moment notice.”
“It’s surprising and refreshing to have a community who comes together for everything,” said Zambri. “If there is an idea out there, somebody goes with it, everybody congregates together and works together to fulfil goals and it’s amazing and refreshing to have that kind of community support.”
Chandy Davis with Electro Cables Inc. was the recipient of this years’ Business Person of the Year award.
“It’s amazing. I really have to thank everyone else that works with me because our business wouldn’t be as great without everybody that’s there,” said Davis. “The Quinte region is my favourite region in Canada and I am just so happy to see the growth that we have in this area and the support from all the different faculties.”
Joining the award winners this year was Melanie Harrington, who took home the 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Harrington runs a small family farm, Dahlia May Flower Farm that grows cut flowers both organically and seasonally. “We offer floral design services in the Quinte area, we run a flower market every weekend at our farm and we provide flowers 11 months of the year,” said Harrington. “[I am] Extremely grateful to the community of Quinte West for supporting our business for four years and extremely grateful to my staff because I would not be here without them and all of their hard work over the last four years.”
Harrington said that the farm began as an experiment four years ago, and that they have been blown away by the support they have received. Having the desire to bring something new to the Quinte Area is one of the inspirations for building their business in the area. If she had to offer any advice to someone looking to begin their own entrepreneurial journey, Harrington said it would be to not be scared, and dedicate a lot of time.
“The best advice I could give is to go for it, not be scared and know that you will have to put in an incredible amount of time and hard work to get where you want to be.” “It will be 100% worth it in the end.”
For the past 22 years the Business Achievement Awards recognize individuals, companies and organizations who have taken the extra steps towards business excellence and who help to make the Bay of Quinte Region what it is.
The list of this year’s award winners are listed below.
- Agribusiness of the Year – Brambleberry Farms
- Business Person of the Year – Chandy Davis
- Hospitality/Tourism Business of the Year – The Vic Café
- Manufacturing/Industrial Business of the Year – Quinte Boat Docks
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Melanie Harrington
- New Business of the Year – She Thrives
- Not for Profit of the Year – Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation
- Retail Business of the Year – B&H Carpet
- Regulated Professions Business of the Year – Rushnell Funeral Services
- Trade/Construction Business of the Year – Quality Mechanical
- Specialized Service Business of the Year – Nesda Technologies
- Sustainability Award – Veenstra Plumbing
- Trailblazer of the Year – NOD Apiary
- Business Excellence – Donini Chocolate
- Health and Wellness – The Right Fit
(l-f) Todd Smith MPP Bay of Quinte, Kim Bushell Donini Chocolate, Antonia Zambri Donini Chocolate, Neil Ellis MP Bay of Qunte, Ross Rae Chairman QEDC
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