South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce this week honoured outstanding contributions to the Peninsula business community.
The chamber’s 17th annual Business Excellence Awards – recognizing achievements in 2015 – was held Thursday, at Hazelmere Golf and Tennis Club.
In a well-attended buffet-style event (sold out, at some 185 seats) individuals and businesses were singled out for the top spot in seven nomination categories.
Mark Ankenman, president of Ankenman Associates Architects Inc., was named Business Person of the Year in the self-owned category, while Ranj Sehdev, general manager of the South Surrey Staples, got the nod in the corporate category.
Ankenman, who has more than 35 years experience as an architect and business person on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, is also active in the community on a number of local boards and committees.
Sehdev, who immigrated to Canada with his family in 2005, has been a member of the South Surrey business community for more than eight years, with a strong record of supporting businesses, schools and charities. He became a Canadian citizen last year.
Business of the Year laurels went to Hallmark Carpets (93) Ltd. (in the 1-7 employee category); José and Co. Custom Jewellers (in the 8-14 employee category) and Pacifica Retirement Residence (15 plus employees).
Hallmark, owned by Josie Tutte and Tim Atkinson, has been a White Rock business since 1979, building a reputation for a wide selection of competitively priced floor-covering options, as well as frequently teaming on projects with charitable organizations, non-profit groups and the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation.
José and Co., led by president José Latchinian, has been part of the Semiahmoo Peninsula scene since 1992, building on experience gained in jewelry services first established in Toronto in 1973, and providing iconic pieces for individuals, families and corporate clients.
Pacifica Retirement Residence, for which Rob Gillis is senior general manager, offers an all-inclusive, many amenity, luxury hotel style residence for retirees, including rentals and condo ownership, and also supports many local projects including fundraising for the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation’s ER drive.
Semiahmoo House Society was chosen as best non-profit, while Best New Business of the Year went to Cultivé Frozen Yogurt.
Semiahmoo House Society, overseen by executive director Doug Tennant, uses a person-centred philosophy to address the special care and needs of individuals in the community who face challenges of numerous kinds; and emphasizing the creation of opportunities to support their goals and aspirations and help them in their journeys of experience and discovery.
Tennant used his moment at the mic to thank the business representatives and the community at large for being so welcoming to Semiahmoo House clients and their families. He noted that support provided is reciprocated, and that Semiahmoo House is proud to support area businesses and their staff.
Cultivé, owned by Carolina Perezalonso, is a self-service operation providing a range of healthy locally made, gluten-free frozen yogurts – including flavours using real fruit purees – minus gelatin, artificial sweetners and food colouring, as well as dairy-free/vegan sorbet options.
Peace Arch News sponsored several of the awards, with Mardon Insurance Brokers sponsoring Business Person of the Year (self-owned) and Remax Colonial Pacific Realty sponsoring Business Person of the Year (corporate).
Darrell Jones, president of the Overwaitea Food Group, was guest speaker at the event, for which Global TV meteorologist Mark Madryga was master of ceremonies, and chamber president Jim Purcell provided opening remarks.
Guests included Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin and councillors from both cities. Also on hand were the White Rock Youth Ambassadors, as welcomers, and they were joined by Canucks anthem-singer Mark Donnelly to lead the crowd in O Canada.