Business Excellence Awards

Two Amherstburg businesses win Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber BEA awards

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Two businesses from Amherstburg captured Business Excellence Awards (BEAs) at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce Awards.

The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team won the Professional of the Year category, beating out naturopathic doctor Meighan Valero and AM800 radio host Lisa Williams.

“It’s such an honour to have received the ‘Professional of the Year’ award. Being nominated with Dr. Meg Valero and Lisa Williams an old co-worker of mine at AM800 was amazing! Both of them so deserving in their own rights.”

Gemus said he was “humbling” to be nominated.

“It’s all still a bit of a blur,” he said.

Dan Gemus, surrounded by his real estate team, won Professional of the Year” at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. (Submitted photo)

Gemus added he is thankful for his friends, family, team and clients for the honour.

The award was presented last Wednesday night at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts in Windsor.

Wolfhead Distillery won the award for New Business of the Year, with other nominees being Exodus Escape Rooms and Thrive Benefits Group Inc.

Larry Girard, executive chef and vice president at Wolfhead, said they had no idea they were going to win the award.

“It’s a great feeling of achievement,” said Girard. “It was an important award for us.”

Girard, who is partners with Tom and Sue Manherz at Wolfhead, credited the staff and said they empower their employees at Wolfhead.

“Our team carries the ball for us,” he said.

Larry Girard and Sue Manherz from Wolfhead Distillery accept the New Business of the Year Award. (photo by John Liviero,
Sooters
Photography)

Girard added that most of their products, upwards of 85 per cent, is local and said “we can’t expect them to support us if we don’t support them. The only way we can be sustainable is if everyone supports local.” On the restaurant side, everything is free and on the alcohol side, they are piling up awards including eight at the recent competition in California.

Smashed Apple Catering Inc. was the third finalist from Amherstburg. However, Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast won in the Tourism and Hospitality Award. The other nominee was Food & Beverage (F&B).

The complete list of award winners was:

Mid-Size Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

Baron Championship Rings

 

New Business of the Year Award – Sponsored by EPICentre, University of Windsor

Wolfhead Distillery Inc.

 

Believe Windsor Essex Award – Sponsored by WFCU Credit Union

Michael Schlater, CEO, Domino’s Pizza of Canada

 

Innovation Award – Sponsored by Union Gas

Inspire HUB Technologies Inc.

 

Small Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by Families First

Forest Glade Tecumseh Veterinary Professional Corporation

 

Pillars of our Community Award – Sponsored by Motor City Community Credit Union

Transition to Betterness

 

Young Professional of the Year Award – Sponsored by Libro Credit Union

Dr. Abby Jakob, Optometrist/Owner, EYES Optometry

 

ATHENA Award – Sponsored by BELL

Pat Soulliere, President, Soulliere Financial Group

 

Tourism & Hospitality Award – Sponsored by Caesars Windsor and OLG

The Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast

 

Professional of the Year Award – Sponsored by TD Bank Group

Dan Gemus, Owner/Broker of Record, Dan Gemus Real Estate Team

 

Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Sponsored by St. Clair College

Vince Schiller, Owner/President, Southwestern Manufacturing

 

Large Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by BMO Bank of Montreal

Aphria

 

Nominations open for ACOC’s Business Excellence Awards

By Ron Giofu

 

The best of the best in Amherstburg’s business community will be on display April 27 but now is the time to let the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) know who the public thinks is the best.

Nominations are now open for the ACOC’s Business Excellence Awards with the public invited to let the Chamber know who they think the winners should be. ACOC president Carolyn Davies pointed out they have modified the categories slightly, with the major change being elimination of Large Business of the Year and Small Business of the Year and going with Business of the Year and New Business of the Year instead.

There are 11 categories in all with the Welcoming Accessibility Award being a new addition for this year. Davies said that award is geared towards businesses who have taken steps to allow those with disabilities greater access to their establishments.

Other categories include Excellence in Customer Service, Most Attractive Improvement, Community Service/Community Involvement, Growth & Expansion, Investing in a World Class Workforce, Excellence in Food Services, Business Legacy and the ACOC Director’s Choice Awards.

Davies said it is a chance to recognize hard working local businesspeople for the efforts they do and the commitment they make.

“Business owners work hard trying to provide a good service,” she said, adding for many it’s a 24/7 commitment.

The ACOC Business Excellence Awards are a way for the community to show their appreciation to the business community, Davies noted.

Nomination forms can be dropped off at Gibb Insurance, the River Town Times, the Dan Gemus Real Estate, Duby’s Home Centre or people can visit www.amherstburgchamber.com. The awards will be handed out April 27 at Pointe West Golf Club. Tickets are $50 per person and available at the same locations.

Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce awards feature three Amherstburg finalists

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its 28th annual Business Excellence Awards (BEA) in the spring and Amherstburg will be well represented.

Three Amherstburg businesses have been nominated for awards, with the winners to be announced April 18 at Caesars Windsor.

Dan Gemus, owner/broker with the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team was nominated in the Professional of the Year category. Other nominees include naturopathic doctor Meighan Valero and AM800 radio host Lisa Williams.

Tourism & Hospitality Award finalists include Amherstburg’s Smashed Apple Catering Inc. with other nominees including Food & Beverage (F&B) and the Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast.

Wolfhead Distillery was nominated in the New Business of the Year category, along with Exodus Escape Rooms and Thrive Benefits Group Inc.

“I’m so honoured to have been nominated. When I received the news a couple months ago that I had been nominated it seemed a little surreal at the time! Being at the news conference (last Wednesday) and hearing my name announced as a finalist was incredible!” said Gemus. “Being nominated along side Dr. Meighan Valero and an old AM800 co-worker and friend Lisa Williams is very humbling. All the nominees are so deserving. It will make for a fun night in April!”

Sue Manherz, co-owner of Wolfhead Distillery with husband Tom, said they were “quite surprised and honoured” to be nominated.

“We are up against a couple great companies and wish them the best of luck as well,” said Manherz. “We have a great team here at Wolfhead and none of this would be possible without everybody’s hard work and passion for what we have created. With the support of not only local residents but out-of-town people, they have helped put Wolfhead on the map and we are excited to see what the future brings us.  Being nominated for New Business of the Year is very humbling and rewarding and we strive to keep things moving in the right direction!”

Bill Deslippe, owner/chef at Smashed Apple, noted it was their second time being nominated for a Windsor-Essex BEA.

“We are hustling out here for Amherstburg. These are our roots and everything we do is a reflection of our amazing town and the people living here. We are proud to represent and hope to take home the win this year,” said Deslippe. “Having said that, we are in the same category as our friends and fellow talented business owners Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast and F&B Walkerville. We couldn’t have asked for a better compliment than to be placed in the same category as these innovative, talented and skilled business owners. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, being compared to these greats feels like a win already for Smashed Apple, we are doing it right! We are going in proud and humbled for the nomination, but come the night of the awards, we want to take it home!”

Award recipients will be announced during a gourmet dinner and show. Tickets are on sale now at www.windsoressexchamber.org.

Award recipients announced in advance include:

 

Believe Windsor Essex Award

Michael Schlater, CEO, Domino’s Pizza of Canada

 

ATHENA Award

Patricia Soulliere, President & CEO, Soulliere Financial

 

The full list of 2018 BEA Finalists include:

 

Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalists

Radu Bogdanel, President, Fulger Transport Inc.

Ernie Nesbitt, Owner, Jose’s Bar and Grill

Vince Schiller, Owner, Southwestern Manufacturing

 

Professional of the Year Award Finalists

Dan Gemus, Owner/Broker of Record, Dan Gemus Real Estate Team

Dr. Meighan Valero, Naturopathic Doctor, Meighan Valero Naturopathic Professional Corporation

Lisa Williams, Radio Host – AM800 The Morning Drive, Bell Media / AM800

 

Young Professional of the Year Award Finalists

Dr. Maxwell Abraham, Orthodontist, Owner, Abraham Orthodontics

Dr. Abby Jakob, Optometrist/Owner of EYES Optometry, EYES Optometry

Dr. Jackie Vandereerden, Doctor, South Walkerville Medical Centre

 

Small Company of the Year Award Finalists

Anchor Coffee House Inc.

Forest Glade Tecumseh Veterinary Professional Corporation

Sentry Windows & Doors

 

Mid-Size Company of the Year Finalists

Baron Championship Rings

Flexible Industrial Solutions

Kinder Academy

 

Large Company of the Year Finalists

Aphria

Fortis Group

Highbury Canco Corporation

 

Innovation Award Finalists

Inspire HUB Technologies Inc.

K3D Inc.

Ro-Matt International Inc.

 

Tourism & Hospitality Award Finalists

Food & Beverage (F&B)

The Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast

Smashed Apple Catering Inc.

 

New Business of the Year Award Finalists

Exodus Escape Rooms

Thrive Benefits Group Inc.

Wolfhead Distillery Inc.

 

Pillars of our Community Award

Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario

Transition to Betterness

Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society

 

 

Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce honours local business community

 

By Jonathan Martin

Local business owners have suited up to recognize the achievements of their colleagues.

The 2017 Business Excellence Awards were held this past Friday night at Pointe West Golf Club.

The event was organized by the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, but businesses were nominated for awards by their patrons.

Mary Ann Wolff (left) hugs Josie Piruzza after beign given the lifetime achievement award.  A former pharmacist and franchise owner, Wolff retired from Shoppers Drug Mart in February.

Mary Ann Wolff (left) hugs Josie Piruzza after being given the lifetime achievement award. A former pharmacist and franchise owner, Wolff retired from Shoppers Drug Mart in February. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

In total, only 11 certificates were handed out, but past ACOC president Chris Gibb said every nominee should be proud.

“It’s amazing the number of nominations we receive,” he said. “Every business (present at the awards ceremony) has earned the love and respect of its customers.”

CJ Bondy Plumbing nabbed the small business award, which is defined as having fewer than 20 employees. The award was presented by town councilor Leo Meloche.

Precision Plastics earned the counterpoint, snagging the large business award, which is given to a local business that employs more than 20 people.

The Amherstburg License Bureau was given the excellence in customer service award. Gibb chuckled into the microphone and said, “Only in Amherstburg would the license bureau earn an award for its customer service.”

Janet Willoughby, left, listens to the acceptance speech given by the Amherstburg License Bureau after announcing that they had been awarded the excellence in customer service award in Amherstburg last Friday.  The dining room buzzed with laughter after it was mentioned that "only in Amherstburg would the license bureau be recognized for its  customer service skills."

Janet Willoughby, left, listens to the acceptance speech given by the Amherstburg License Bureau after announcing that they had been awarded the excellence in customer service award in Amherstburg last Friday. The dining room buzzed with laughter after it was mentioned that “only in Amherstburg would the license bureau be recognized for its customer service skills.” (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Speck’s Restaurant owner Sarah Beaudoin delivered a teary-eyed acceptance speech after receiving the most attractive improvement award.

Norm Mickle, the local real estate agent who started the “Amherstburg, You’ll Love it Here!” promotional campaign, was presented with the community service/involvement award and premium liquor manufacturer Wolfhead Distillery caught the growth and expansion award.

Funeral directing student Kelsey Sutton accepted the business legacy award on behalf of Sutton Funeral Home. Sutton is the latest in the family’s funerary dynasty.

Justin Falconer prepares to present the investing in a world class workforce award to Anna Fiorito and the team at Amherstburg Physical Therapy.

Justin Falconer prepares to present the investing in a world class workforce award to Anna Fiorito and the team at Amherstburg Physical Therapy. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Amherstburg Physical Therapy snagged the investing in a world-class work force award for its exemplary staff and Bill Deslippe earned himself an excellence in food service award for his company, Smashed Apple, which started as a food truck and then expanded into a brick-and-mortar takeout restaurant.

Community Living Essex County board of directors president Ron Giofu, along with CLEC director of operations Karen Bolger, presented Jones Group with the welcoming accessibility award for its support of the Essex County Heroes Athletic Club.

Jim Heyens of Southpoint Publishing Inc. (of which RTT is a member) poses for a photo beside Smashed Apple founder Bill Deslippe.  Smashed Apple snagged the Excellence in Food Services award. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Jim Heyens of Southpoint Publishing Inc. (of which RTT is a member) poses for a photo beside Smashed Apple founder Bill Deslippe. Smashed Apple snagged the Excellence in Food Services award. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Finally, former Shoppers Drug Mart franchise owner and pharmacist Mary Ann Wolff delivered an impassioned acceptance speech upon receiving her lifetime achievement award. She said the last time she had the opportunity to make an address she passed it up, so she wanted to make the most of it this time round. She used her time at the podium to speak in favour of hiring students and youths and to thank the colleagues she has worked beside over the past decades.

The event was sold out, despite this year’s addition of 50 seats. The 2017 business excellence awards ended up hosting nearly 200 patrons.

CAO outlines town’s economic development goals at ACOC awards

 

By Jonathan Martin

Amherstburg’s CAO has outlined the town’s conceptual plan for the site of the former Duffy’s Tavern and Motor Inn and also talked about the Belle Vue property.

Addressing a dining room full of local business owners at Friday’s 2017 business excellence awards, CAO John Miceli also went over how council plans to improve the town’s infrastructure.

The Town of Amherstburg closed on the acquisition of Duffy’s Feb. 14. According to Miceli, the town issued a tender for the site’s demolition March 28. He said the town hopes to have the land cleared of buildings by mid or late June.

This spring, Miceli said town hall plans to hold public consultation meetings to “confirm the community’s wishes as it relates to the Duffy’s site.”

Miceli said the estimated budget for the development of the project is $6 million.

“This, friends, is exciting,” he said. “It will be the premiere community gathering place in the region.”

belle-vue1web

Belle Vue is considered a “crown jewel” of Amherstburg, says CAO John Miceli

As it stands, the plan includes a central plaza to accommodate events, a wharf to dock ships, fishing spots, a boat ramp, a service building with washrooms and concessions, an event area with supporting infrastructure and a waterfront amphitheatre.

Miceli added, “I believe that, should we develop the conceptual plan as tabled, council and this community will have a waterfront unmatched to anyone in this region and our waterfront will serve as an economic engine for our community.”

Belle Vue will also be an “economic engine,” he said. The restoration of the 200-year-old town-owned mansion on Dalhousie St. will cost in the neighbourhood of $3 million with it being about $9 million to develop the entire property as proposed by the municipality.

“Belle Vue, in my opinion, is a crown jewel of this community,” the chief administrative officer told the crowd of nearly 200 people at Pointe West Golf Club.

Miceli pointed out the Belle Vue Conservancy is in the process of fundraising with a goal of $1 million.

He said that town hall is in talks with consultants about the creation of a community improvement plan (CIP) and the establishment of urban design dialogues.

A CIP is a municipal planning and development tool put out by the provincial government. Ultimately, its implementation would allow the town to offer tax incentives to assist in the development of properties within the area designated by the plan.

“Our goal will be to provide initiatives that will assist in creating a climate that will result in a new hotel,” said Miceli. “A new hotel in the town of Amherstburg. That is what your community wants; that is what your council wants to deliver.”

Miceli also spoke about phase 8b of Kingsbridge, referring to a zoning by-law that was passed March 20 allowing 55 single-family dwellings to be developed east of Knobb Hill Dr. and north of McLellan Ave.

He said Meadow View Estates, set to be built on the corner of Simcoe St. and Meloche Rd., will be developed in phases and result in an additional 142 residential units.

“The town has taken steps to improve our relationships with developers,” Miceli said. “We are now working together to make Amherstburg a community of choice for development. As you know, without development we can have no growth and without growth we cannot sustain our current service levels.”

PowerPoint Presentation

The town’s concept plan for the Duffy’s property was discussed by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) John  Miceli as part of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards. The banquet took place Friday night at Pointe West Golf Club.

The town has capacity at the new wastewater plant for approximately 50,000 people, he said.

Miceli reminded listeners that the town is in the process of collecting data related to internet services through a survey that can be accessed on the town’s website. The information will be used “to apply for grants and hopefully build a business plan for council to consider” regarding the improvement of rural internet infrastructure.

As he stepped down from the podium, he challenged the local business community, asking them what they thought they could do to “to seize their opportunity to create economic development in this community.”