Volume 12 Week 5

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(Updated 8:30 p.m., Jan. 29)
Local businesses fêted at Chamber awards gala

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Orléans Chamber of Commerce held its annual Business Excellence Awards gala on Thursday night, bringing together small and medium-sized business owners from across the east end.

Fourteen of the coveted trophies were handed out in a variety of categories including Restaurant of the Year, Financial Professional of the Year and Business Person of the Year.

The biggest difference between this year’s awards and those in years past was the introduction of a judging committee to select the winners in all but four of the categories.

Prior to this year, the awards were voted on by the general public and whichever business did the best job of encouraging their supporters to vote for them usually emerged the winner.

This year, the public was only able to vote in four categories, but only after the judging panel narrowed the field down to three finalists in each category.

The categories decided on by the public were Business Person of the Year, New Business of the Year, and Small and Large Business of the Year,

The mix of public voting and a juried selection process made for some interesting results.

For instance, Cuisine and Passion on St. Joseph Blvd. was voted Small Business of the Year, but failed to get the judges’ vote for either Restaurant of the Year, or Retail Business of the Year. The latter was won by J.T. Bradley’s Country Convenience Store in Navan.

Even stranger was the omission of OCCO Kitchen in the Restaurant of the Year category. Despite getting passed over by the judges, the critically acclaimed eatery was still voted New Business of the Year by the general public.

Sure Print and Graphics was voted Large Business of the Year, but owner Monica Alongi had to settle for runner-up status in the voting for Business Person of the Year, which was won by Natalie Beauchamp, chief financial officer of RJR Innovations.

The Service Business of the Year award went to the Pilon Group realty team. The judge’s choice for Healthcare and Wellness Professional of the Year was Orléans optometrist Dr. Linda Kwasnick.

Sing House Studios beat out the AOE Arts Council and Arteast for the Arts, Recreation and Leisure Business of the Year; and Host Indian Restaurant on Montreal Road, bested OCCO Kitchen and Boston Pizza for Restaurant of the Year.

Other award recipients include Robert Rheaume from BDO Canada in the Financial Professional of the Year category; Cecilia Perdigao from the La Pierre Law Office in Blackburn Hamlet in the Non-Financial Professional of the Year category; and the Cardinal Creek Community Association as the Community or Non-Profit Organization of the Year.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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