Matt Strano named Peterborough and the Kawarthas Business Citizen of the Year

CEO of Charlotte Products Ltd. among businesses, organizations, and individuals honoured at Chamber of Commerce's 2022 Business Excellence Awards

Matt Strano, CEO of Peterborough-based cleaning products company Charlotte Products Ltd., speaks after being named Business Citizen of the Year at the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce's 19th annual Business Excellence Awards at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough on October 19, 2022. (kawarthaNOW screenshot)
Matt Strano, CEO of Peterborough-based cleaning products company Charlotte Products Ltd., speaks after being named Business Citizen of the Year at the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce's 19th annual Business Excellence Awards at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough on October 19, 2022. (kawarthaNOW screenshot)

The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce handed out its 2022 Business Excellence Awards at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough on Wednesday night (October 19), recognizing businesses, organizations, and individuals in over 20 categories with more than 50 finalists.

Among the recipients, Matt Strano of Charlotte Products Ltd. received the coveted Business Citizen of the Year and Friendly Fires received the Employer of the Year award.

The 19th annual event was the first held since the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce merged with the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, and the first in-person Business Excellence Awards since the pandemic began. The event was introduced by the chamber’s new president and CEO Sarah Budd, replacing the retired Stuart Harrison, and emceed by Megan Murphy, with Kate Suhr performing on-stage jingles to recognize each award winner.

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Strano, the CEO of Peterborough-based cleaning products company Charlotte Products Ltd., was recognized both for his business leadership and his positive impact on the broader community, including by establishing Charlotte Cares, a program that supports local charitable organizations including Habitat for Humanity, One Roof Community Centre, Hospice Peterborough, Five Counties Children’s Centre, Peterborough Humane Society, and more.

A father of three teenage daughters, Strano also serves as a mentor, volunteer, and coach with many organizations including the Peterborough City Soccer Club, which named him volunteer of the year in 2020, and is a participant in Junior Achievement, One Roof Community Centre, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peterborough. He serves on the board of Peterborough and the Kawartha Economic Development and is very active in the Kawarthas Manufacturers Association.

During the early days of the pandemic, Charlotte Products Ltd. collaborated with local companies to localize supply chains and to respond to demand for disinfectant and sanitizer products, doubling their production capacity in just two weeks.

Alicia Doris accepts the Local Focus award for her business Living Local Marketplace, which showcases and shares the work of local artisans and small businesses. (kawarthaNOW screenshot)
Alicia Doris accepts the Local Focus award for her business Living Local Marketplace, which showcases and shares the work of local artisans and small businesses. (kawarthaNOW screenshot)

Other award recipients included Living Local Marketplace for Local Focus, Lang Pioneer Village Museum for Tourism, the Peterborough Humane Society for Marketing & Promotion, Millbrook Mercantile for Retail, and The Mane Intent, which received both the Health & Wellness and Micro Business awards.

A complete list of all award recipients is provided below.

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Recipients announced on October 19

  • Local Focus – Living Local Marketplace
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit – Organized by Design
  • Health & Wellness – The Mane Intent
  • Customer First – Kawartha Country Wines
  • Tourism – Lang Pioneer Village Museum
  • Marketing & Promotion – Peterborough Humane Society (Our Pet Project)
  • The President’s Award – Ashley Lamothe (Creative Kwe)
  • Micro Business – The Mane Intent
  • Skilled Trades – New Beginnings Contracting Services
  • Green Initiatives – The Nutty Bean Café
  • Professional Services – Gauvreau Accounting Tax Law Advisory
  • Hospitality – The Boardwalk Board Game Lounge
  • Commercial Development or Renovation – Lakeshore Designs (Boathouse Boutique and Bikini Beans Cafe)
  • Retail – Millbrook Mercantile
  • Not-for-Profit – Community Care Peterborough
  • Employer of the Year – Friendly Fires
  • Business Citizen of the Year – Matt Strano (Charlotte Products Ltd.)
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Previously announced recipients

  • Businesswoman of the Year (Entrepreneur) – Brenda Ibey (The Avant-Garden Shop)
  • Businesswoman of the Year (Organization) – Alicia Dafoe (Village Dental Centre)
  • 4-Under-40 Profiles in memory of Kathy Windrem – Dr. Nicole Edgar (Peterborough Centre of Naturopathic Medicine), Michael Gallant (Lett Architects Inc.), Chad Hogan (Market Hall Performing Arts Centre), Caitlin Smith (ReCreate Space)
  • New Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year – Faheem Mohammadzada (Brothers Pizza)
  • Peterborough County Farm Family of the Year – The Cornish Family (Indian River Acres)
  • Business Student Leadership Prizes – ehan Mahboob (Trent University), Aiden Rice (Fleming College)