Thirteen local businesses have been nominated to be the Squamish Business of the Year for 2008 - now it's up to Squamish residents to pick a winner.
BusinessSquamish.com and the Squamish Chamber of Commerce have partnered this year to organize the contest, which is aimed at showcasing successful local businesses.
Nominations have now closed and the nominees are Aarm Dental Group - Squamish, Agnes Jean Boutique, Carmelle's Lingere Boutique, Echoflex Solutions Ltd., Garibaldi Graphics, Gelato Carina, Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Co., NewPort Auto Inc., Platypus Play Centre, Play and Trade Squamish, Reach Physio Solutions, The Hive (& Zephyr Café and Trinity Romance.
"We are very happy with the group of companies that have been noticed," said Dave Thomson, Business Development Lead. "The array we have is unique from lingerie shops to dentists."
Online voting started last Thursday (Jan. 15) at www.businesssquamish.com and closes this coming Wednesday (Jan. 28). All Squamish residents are eligible to vote.
The winter will be contacted on Thursday (Jan. 29) and honoured at the Chamber of Commerce AGM on Jan. 31 at the Howe Sound Inn & Brew Pub.
"We want to encourage people to go online and vote. If you like the service of a certain business, why not tell everyone else and reward the people working their butts off the make a difference in this town," Thomson said.
The following are some excerpts from the nomination packages received.
"The local Squamish office of Aarm Dental Group received several nominations for Local Business of the Year, both from employees and satisfied clients. Both were impressed with owner Dr. Nancy Clayton's ability to run a successful business and her active participation in the "Women's Business Group" in Squamish."
"Just 2 years young, Agnes Jean on Cleveland Avenue in downtown Squamish is a modern organic boutique with style. Those who nominated Agnes Jean commended the shop and owner for their commitment to promoting recycling and eco friendly products, and their proof that you can support the environment while still being stylish."
"Relatively new in town, Carmelle's Lingerie Boutique received multiple nominations for Local Business of the Year. The owner and the products are self-evident in the name, and nominators explain the service and product range is second to none. "
"Echoflex is a true example of hard work and determination behind ingenious ideas discovered in the oddest of places. Putting Squamish on the Global map for real GREEN solutions saving planet earth one megawatt at a time."
"After 33 fruitful years in business in the Sea to Sky Corridor, Garibaldi Graphics must be doing something right, so it's not surprising they were nominated for Local Business of the Year. Owner Nancy McCartney now operates out of two locations - Function Junction in Whistler, as well as Cleveland Avenue in downtown Squamish."
Gelato Carina has become a thriving gelato ice cream store, cafe, and yarn shop. They have played an active role in the local community, and played host to a wide spectrum of local arts and music events."
"Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company needs little introduction among Squamish residents. A hotel, restaurant, catering service, pub and brewery located at 'lands end' of Cleveland Avenue in downtown Squamish plays host to hordes of hungry and thirst Squamish locals and visitors alike.
But not to be complacent with their success, owner Leslie Fenn recently launched a creative new product to attract new PR, new customers and have some fun with tongue-in-cheek humour. Hence the creation of Bailout Bitter - Bitter Beer for Bitter Times."
"Newport auto is a popular automotive service shop owned by Noel Koehn, near the bottle depot. More than one person commended Newport for their high level of service and ease of dealing with them, as well as the reassurance that the work they've done was precisely what was needed."
"One of the newest businesses in Squamish, Platypus Play Centre is actually younger than those who enjoy the facility - toddlers and young children. Platypus Playcentre is a purpose built licensed daycare for Squamish, providing part time and full time daycare for 12 (12 month to 36 month old) children and 25 (36 month to 60 month old) children. The Centre is strategically located in the young family filled Amblepath neighbourhood.
Obviously pleasing their first year parent and child clientele, Platypus received high praises from numerous nominators."
"Squamish, Play N Trade is a fun video game store for kids of all kinds. Among the newest businesses in town, the local Play N Trade was opened by owner Angela Fish in July of 2008, and is already making an impact in town.
Active in the community, Play N Trade hosts frequent in-store tournaments in an effort to give kids something to do while raising funds for local charities. The Wii charity bowling is one such example, the winner of which can select the local charity of their choice. "
"Owner and physiotherapist Sue Shalanski operates two Reach Physio Solutions locations in Squamish - in downtown and Garibaldi Estates. Her popularity is apparent, being voted top physiotherapist in Squamish from 2005-2008."
"The Hive home & gift shop in Squamish is owned and operated by Squamish resident Colleen Myers. Showing a clear commitment to Squamish business development, she recently expanded her involvement in the Squamish business community by co-opening The Zephyr Cafe in downtown Squamish."
Trinity Romance Shop, owned and operated by Eric Armour, received multiple nominations for Local Business of the Year. Trinity Romance has developed a "sex positive" environment for women, men and couples who want a comfortable and empowering place to enhance their love life."