Outstanding businesses on the Semiahmoo Peninsula – and the people who keep them humming along – were celebrated at a gala event in South Surrey last week.
The 21st Annual Business Excellence Awards, hosted by the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce, were presented at Hazelmere Golf & Tennis Club on Wednesday night (Feb. 12), honouring corporate leaders, non-profit organizations, outstanding entrepreneurs and supporters of the arts.
In all, trophies were handed out in 10 categories, including the newly minted Business Leader of the Year (U40) award.
Following opening remarks from executive director Ritu Khanna and board president Adam Smith, the ceremony, MCed by Business in Vancouver’s Hayley Woodin, began with back-to-back nods to healthy teeth and gums.
Dream Orthodontics and Southridge Dental took home the awards for Business of the Year – small and medium, respectively.
Large Business of the Year honours, meanwhile, went to Starline Windows.
Ron Martini, owner of the 500,000-sq.-ft. Campbell Heights facility, told the audience that after coming to Canada from Italy in 1968, he worked as a welder and started his own small business before buying Starline windows, which at the time had six employees. It now employs more than 1,000 people and is the largest supplier of windows for highrises in western North America, he said.
Zapoteca Mexican Grill & Seafood – which opened on Valentine’s Day 2018 – was named New Business of the Year.
Addictive Comedy, soon to be rebranded as “Hilarapy,” took Supporter of the Arts Business of the Year honours. Through humour, Addictive Comedy aims to smash the stigma surrounding addiction, mental illness, trauma and loss.
Before handing off the mike to her partner, Elaine Cheung – who announced that a new alcohol-free performance venue is set to open in late spring or early summer – comedian Lizzie Allan told the audience, “Together we are taking over the world. You’re welcome.”
The award for Non-Profit Organization of the Year went to Rotary Club of Semiahmoo (White Rock), while Save-On-Foods took the trophy for Community Builder Business of the Year.
After being named Business Leader of the Year (self-owned), Stewart Peddemors of PREC Re/Max Colonial Pacific Realty told the gathering, “There’s one special person I’d like to thank, and that’s a person who was here last year.”
Addressing Cliff Annable’s widow, Maureen, Peddemors said, “Thanks to Cliff.
“Cliff put me on this path this year and I wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for that guy saying, ‘Stew, you should help out. We’re doing the pier and these things,’ and so I did.”
Annable, a former municipal councillor who also served as executive director of the chamber, died on March 5, 2019. In brief remarks at the end of the evening, it was announced that a scholarship is planned in Annable’s name, with more details to come.
In accepting the award for Business Leader of the Year (corporate), Greg Timm, president and COO of Pacific Customs Brokers, told the crowd that he is thankful every day to live in Surrey.
“It’s incredible, actually, the amount of philanthropy and volunteerism and kindness that comes out of this community. It’s really what makes this place special.”
The final award of the evening, for Business Leader of the Year (U40), went to Piya Sandhu, owner of The Handpicked Home.
Introduced this year, the award recognizes the efforts of young entrepreneurs.
“This category is so important, so I’m honoured to be a part of it,” Sandhu said.
“It shows young business people – young, innovative minds – that if you have a plan and you have a passion for what you love and a great idea and a drive to make a difference in your community, then you should – absolutely should – go for it.”