Cranbrook’s Chamber of Commerce honoured 13 local businesses and entrepreneurs over the weekend with the 2022 Business Excellence Awards.
Among the winners were Heidi Romich and her business, The Heid Out Restaurant and Brewery.
Officials with the Chamber said Saturday night’s event was the first in-person award ceremony held since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Details about each of the winners follow.
Business of the year with 16 or more employees, and businessperson of the year
The Heid Out Restaurant and Brewery received the award for business of the year with 16 or more employees.
Throughout the pandemic, the Heid Out supplied frozen meals to Cranbrook’s Salvation Army and donated one meal for every purchase.
“We are just so grateful for our incredible staff. We’re accepting the award on their behalf and they have risen to the challenge the past couple of years,” said owner Heidi Romich. “I can’t say enough to the community support since we’ve opened, but through the pandemic. It has been unbelievable and we’re so proud to live in Cranbrook.”
Later in the evening, Romich was given the award for businessperson of the year.
“I started the restaurant 22 years ago, and it was kind of meant to be a short-term thing. It’s been quite a journey and I’m just so proud to operate a business here in Cranbrook,” said Romich during her acceptance speech.
Business of the year with one to 15 employees
With 20 years of being in business in the community under their belt, Sweet Gestures Chocolate Shoppe has earned the award for business of the year with one to 15 employees.
“We started in 2002 in Marysville in a tiny little shop before we moved to Cranbrook,” said co-owner Michelle Shypitka.
The shop has been recently sold to new owners, but Sweet Gestures co-owner Deb Smithurst said she is optimistic about the business’s future.
“We’re thrilled for them to be able to step into our shoes and continue to carry the business forward in the community,” said Smithurst.
“It’s quite amazing closure for us, what a way to end 20 years in business,” said Shypitka. “We were quite surprised, really, and we’re really happy that we’re here with our beautiful staff.”
New Business of the year
After opening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Twisted Peaks Frozen Yogurt was presented with the best new business of the year award.
“We got so much support right off the bat and the community has really backed us up on it and it’s been a great way to open,” said co-owner Becky McArthur.
McArthur said she is grateful for the support given to her business, with lineups occasionally reaching down the street.
Hospitality and Tourism Excellence
Ella’s Cafe was given the award for Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality. As of 2022, it has been open for two years.
“This award so much to us. It means recognition, it means appreciation and for that, we’re truly grateful,” said co-owner Aleitha Harvey.
Harvey said Ella’s Cafe is the only Jamaican restaurant in the Kootenays.
“Being an entrepreneur is in my blood, but I never did think we would be so welcomed in the homes of our friends in Cranbrook who have really become like family,” said Harvey.
Inclusive Employer of the Year
Kootenay Computers has been in the IT business for six years under owner Sebastiaan van der Horst.
Van der Horst has been in IT for over 25 years and worked as a nurse specializing in developmentally challenged clients.
“You can be inclusive to anybody in society to give them a fair chance to excel and work on their skills and abilities and help everybody get along,” said van der Horst.
The Chamber of Commerce said Kootenay Computers operates a computer donation program, where low-income individuals, refugee families, and students within the community are given computers.
Other winners include the following:
- Non-profit of the year: Operation Street Angel
- Professional Service Excellence: The Hearing Loss Clinic
- Retailer Excellence Award: The Paw Shop
- Business to Business Excellence Award: Artistic Media Productions
- Customer Service Excellence Award: M&M Food Market
- Age-Friendly Business of the Year: Pharmasave
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Two Birds Deli; Marina Stropky & Maraih Tarasoff
More details about each of the winners can be found below.
More: Business Excellence Award winners (Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce)