At the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce & Tourism’s Awards of Excellence last night (November 8), Cindy Windover arrived as the emcee for the event and left as Citizen of the Year.
She was among 11 businesses and individuals honoured at the 19th annual event, held for the first time at Lakefield College School.
In a departure from the past, the event began with a social gala rather than a sit-down dinner. At 6:30 p.m., attendees mingled while nibbling on hor d’oeuvres, enjoying wine and beer, and bidding on many silent auction items donated by local businesses, while local band Rhythm and Grace (featuring children and youth from the Duketow family) supplied the music.
At 8 p.m., attendees moved into the Bryan Jones Theatre for the awards ceremony. Chamber board president Tonya Kraan (of Strexer Harrop & Associates) acknowledged the sponsorship of the event by Shorelines Casino Peterborough, remembered the late Garry Douglas (a board member who recently passed away), and introduced emcee and past president Cindy Windover (of Windover Plumbing).
Cindy, who was unaware of her pending selection as Citizen of the Year, recognized the organizers, volunteers, and sponsors of the event and entertained the crowd with her observations about small business owners, while also acknowledging the 80 nominees as well as the 27 finalists who were up for awards.
A live auction of five experiential packages preceded the awards ceremony (both the silent and live auctions raise funds for the Chamber). Auctioneer Keith Monk engaged members of the audience with humour while managing to solicit high bids for most of the items.
One auction item of special note was the 4,000th blanket hand tied by Faith Dickinson, founder of Cuddles for Cancer, a charity that creates comfort blankets for people with illness, Canadian soldiers and veterans, and more.
While Faith was unable to attend as she is England, members of the charity’s newly created youth council were on hand to display the blanket for auction.
Roberta Herod of Herod Financial Services surprised and delighted the crowd by preempting the bidding on the blanket by offering $1,000. Half of the winning bid will be donated back to Cuddles for Cancer to create more blankets.
After the live auction, the awards ceremony commenced. A representative of the sponsor for each award introduced the finalists and then announced the winner.
The first award was for Not-For-Profit Excellence, sponsored by Darling Insurance.
The award recognizes an organization that exemplifies excellence in service for the betterment of the community.
The finalists were Cuddles for Cancer, Community Care, and the Peterborough Humane Society.
The winner was the Peterborough Humane Society.
Retailer of the Year
The Retailer of the Year award, sponsored by Nexicom, recognizes a high level of sales and customer service, innovative products or services, and proven marketing techniques.
The finalists were Happenstance Books & Yarns, Style Boutique, and Trinkets & Treasures.
The winner was Trinkets & Treasures.
Service Sector Excellence
The Service Sector Excellence award, sponsored by Herod Financial Services, honours a business that excels in the service sector, including but not limited to the trades, health and wellness, and professional services.
The finalists were Kawartha Lakes Construction, Lakefield Herald, and The Regency of Lakefield.
The winner was The Regency of Lakefield.
Sponsored by Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, the Tourism/Hospitality Excellence award honours a business that demonstrates the ability to promote the region as a tourism destination point, and/or provides exceptional service in the hospitality field.
The finalists were Greenbridge Celtic Folk Festival, Indian River Reptile Zoo, and Lang Pioneer Village Museum.
The winner was Lang Pioneer Village Museum.
Commercial Development or Renovation
The Commercial Development or Renovation award, sponsored by BALL Real Estate Inc., Brokerage, recognizes a significant contribution to the overall image of the region through physical improvements, or an ongoing effort to maintain high aesthetic standards.
The finalists were Jack’s Lake Lodge Cottage Rentals, Lock Stop Cafe, The Cozy Home, and The Regency of Lakefield.
The winner was Jack’s Lake Lodge Cottage Rentals.
Note: due to a family emergency, the owners were unable to attend to accept the award.
Sponsored by Gastle and Associates Registered Patent Agents, the Entrepreneur Innovation award recognizes use of innovative products, marketing techniques or services, as well as risk taking.
The finalists were kawarthaNOW.com, Molly’s Acres, Thirteen Moons Wellness, and Vetterview.
The winner was Vetterview.
Customer Service Excellence
The Customer Service Excellence award, sponsored by CIBC, recognizes customer service at a high level of excellence and being a model for other businesses in the community to follow.
The finalists were Happenstance Books & Yarns, Logan Tree Experts, The Regency of Lakefield, and Village Pet Food & Supply.
The winner was Logan Tree Experts.
Young Professional Award
Sponsored by Community Futures Peterborough, the Young Professional Award recognizes a young professional under the age of 35 who demonstrates innovation, risk taking, entrepreneurial spirit, and exceptional leadership.
The finalists for the award, which was presented in memory of Judy Heffernan, were not announced.
The winner of the award was Emily Wilkins of Adventure Outfitters.
Outstanding Business Achievement
The Outstanding Business Achievement award, sponsored by the County of Peterborough, recognizes a leader in moving the region forward: expanding market share, product/service innovation, environmental considerations, and employee relations.
The finalists were Lakefield Foodland, Nightingale, and Salon Sorella & Day Spa.
The winner was Lakefield Foodland.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award, a special award for 2018 sponsored by ISL Insurance Brokers, was awarded to Audrey Von Bogen.
Citizen of the Year
The Citizen of the Year award, sponsored by RBC, is presented to a person who has been a leader in moving the region forward and has been responsible for the improvement and well being of the business community beyond personal or business gain.
The finalists for the award were not announced.
The winner was Cindy Windover — who was also the emcee for the evening and is the past president of the board of the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce & Tourism.
For more details on the award recipients and the finalists, visit kawarthachamber.ca.