Celebrating Best in South Kootenay Business 

Chamber Recognizes ‘Community Backbone’ with Business Excellence Awards 

Imagine you’re a fan in a crowd watching a hometown hockey game, and get ready to make some noise for the best of South Kootenay business.

Photo credit: Mike Hockley

On January 31st, the Trail & District Chamber of Commerce opens nominations for the 2021 Business Excellence Awards. Powered by Black Press, the online nomination process runs until Feb. 20th, providing a platform for the community to weigh in and recognize those who have gone above and beyond in 12 different award categories, including Business Person of the Year, Employer of the Year, and Community Impact.

“We take great pride in the accomplishments of our members and the local business community we serve;  that’s why we’re so pleased to host these awards each year,” says Executive Director Erika Krest. “We embrace all sectors of business, culture, and lifestyle. Recognizing our members validates their efforts, celebrates their accomplishments, and encourages growth within our region, one business at a time.”

The Chamber is proud to give the community the reins when it comes to both nominating and selecting winners. The nomination process is simple. Nominators review the categories online and submit their favourite businesses in as many or few categories as they choose. Anyone can nominate a business whether they live in the region or not; with many businesses providing online services, out-of-town customers can also cast their votes. 

“Being proud of your business and other local businesses is the way it should be; we’re the backbone of the Canadian economy,” says Petri Raito of Rossland Beer Company, previously awarded Employer of the Year. “I believe the awards bring us together in a positive way, which is something we all need these days. They can also bring recognition or awareness to a business that might not be well known yet.”

All those recognized during the nomination period are enthusiastically marketed through the Chamber’s website, newsletter, and social media channels. The exposure alone can boost morale and build momentum for a business.

“I believe close to 70% of Canadians work for small businesses, so if this is one small chance to rep your brand or company or prop up a fellow business, I say be loud and proud,” adds Raito. “It can be a hard and scary ride, and small businesses should be recognized for all the positive things they bring to communities and Canada – coast to coast.”

Last year, winners were spotlighted in a series of surprise videos that captured their emotional responses. This year, the Chamber is hoping to unveil award recipients at an in-person outdoor event in the spring. Previously, Matt Titheridge of Mofab graciously fabricated the event’s trophies; the Chamber is currently accepting proposals from local artisans to design and create the awards

Nominating a business is a sincere way to thank South Kootenay businesses and organizations and show appreciation for those who provide employment and services to residents and work hard to strengthen the local economy. The Trail Smoke Eaters, a former Community Impact Award recipient, was previously recognized for its community pride and philanthropy. 

“Hockey in the City of Trail is more than a sport; it’s the thing that ties our community together,” says Allison McCarthy, corporate sales and marketing manager. “The Trail Smoke Eaters put a large emphasis on how we represent our community on and off the ice. Just as hard as we compete to win, we understand it is our responsibility to be role models in our communities and give back wherever and however we can.”

Once the nominees are determined, the Chamber will open up online voting, giving the community the chance to have their say once again. Through this collaborative process, the Chamber hopes to continue to foster a cohesive, forward-thinking environment that credits its business community for their incredible contributions.


Interested in becoming a Chamber member? Our membership page has information on member benefits.

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