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39th Annual Business Excellence Awards

Full Winners 2023

Celebrating Greater Vernon's Business Success

Innovators, entrepreneurs, leaders, and champions were celebrated during the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s 39th annual Business Excellence Awards gala Oct 26th.

Awards were handed out in 17 categories during the event at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, with Kal Tire as the presenting sponsor.

“The Business Excellence Awards are a testament to the commitment, hard work and strength businesses and non-profits demonstrate daily, and we congratulate the winners and all the nominees. Your accomplishments truly elevate the North Okanagan,” said Kirndeep Nahal, Greater Vernon Chamber president.


Large Business of the Year - KingFisher Boats

Award sponsored by: Kal Tire

Honourable mentions: Nixon Wenger LLP, Splatsin Development Corporation

Large Business

KingFisher Boats has been around for 64 years - In 1959, The company launched thier first aluminum fishing boat. Since then, they have proudly sold over 133,000 boats to passionate anglers and families throughout North America. They have an apprenticeship program and work closely with Okanagan College, BCIT, TRU and UNBC. KingFisher are environmental stewards, having invested over $100,000 in riparian area preservation. They also once put forth a huge effort to deliver a boat to a customer two months early so that he could enjoy time on the water with his wife who had terminal cancer.

Medium Business of the Year - R.E. Postill & Sons

Award sponsored by: Fox Plumbing Heating Cooling Electrical

Honourable mentions: Cambium Cider Co. , Cheers Okanagan Tours and Transportation

Medium Business

R.E. Postill & Sons is a fourth-generation family owned and operated business currently specializing in commercial gravel production and trucking. Their company is 79 years old and has maintained some customers for over 60 years which speaks volumes of their service. They are community-minded and employee centric while also innovating through times of adversity.

Small Business of the Year - Rusty Spur Farm, Feed & Pet

Award sponsored by: Community Futures North Okanagan

Honourable mentions: Olive Us Oil & Vinegar Tasting Room, Kasper Denture Clinic

Small Business

Rusty Spur Farm, Feed & Pet provide solutions, advice and products to improve the health, safety and nutrition of farm, hobby farm and pets throughout the North Okanagan. They are proven detailed experts in their resources and products and excel at customer service. Employees are given full benefits and in-store discounts which can range up to $500 per month. 95% of products are Canadian made and they’ve innovated many paper-based processes to cloud and online options.

People's Choice Business - Braden Kipp, Easthill Physiotherapy & Acupuncture

Award sponsored by: Total Restoration Services

People's Choice Business

The People’s Choice Award is selected by the public from an online vote. All nominees are eligible for the People’s Choice award. The community was able to vote once per day during the voting period.

People's Choice Non-Profit - North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy

Award sponsored by: Total Restoration Services

People's Choice Non-Profit Chuck

The People’s Choice Award is selected by the public from an online vote. All nominees are eligible for the People’s Choice award. The community was able to vote once per day during the voting period.

Business Leader of the Year - Nik Vischschraper – Splatsin Development Corporation / Quilakwa Investments Ltd.

Award sponsored by - TD Benefits

Honourable mentions: Jason Kasper - Kasper Denture Clinic, Melissa Dobernigg - Cambium Cider Co.

Business Leader

Nik is heavily involved in the community managing a diverse portfolio that works on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. He has accomplished profitability and growth but also notes the importance of growing his people into leaders while staying true to the community and cultural values. This has been shown with strong retention through internal promotions.

Chamber Champion - Tolko Industries

Award sponsored by: Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Champion Brad 1

Tolko Industries has supported the Chamber though a number of initiatives over the course of the last year which included participating in our Community Expo, Sponsoring our Work & Invest Vernon Campaign to attract skilled workers and entrepreneurs, and they also sponsored our Business Awards. The Chamber works with Tolko to verify their certificates of origin so they can ship goods around the world. Perhaps the most impactful partnership was collaborating on a policy resolution to develop a comprehensive national forestry and forest sector strategy. This policy received 99% support from 375 delegates from across Canada at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM. Tolko also supports countless other community initiatives throughout the year.

Employer of the Year - Canadian Mental Health Association

Award sponsored by: City of Vernon

Honourable Mentions: Splatsin Development Corporation, KingFisher Boats

Employer of the Year

Canadian Mental Health Association excels as an employer due to a number of factors including their equity, diversity and inclusion committee. They’ve introduced a Guarding Minds at Work survey. They have a CMHA Respectful Workplace Charter, offering Trauma Informed Care online courses and they also have a municipal pension plan.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Dolly Reno, Noble Yoga

Award Sponsored by: Nixon Wenger LLP

Honourable mentions: David Scarlatescu – The Fig, Melissa Knutsvik – Touch of Elegance Studio and Training

Young Entrepreneur

Dolly Reno of Noble Yoga had to overcome immense personal and professional hurtles to build her business from the ground up. She had an unwavering dedication and commitment to see her vision come to reality. Dolly has also done amazing work to help trauma survivors and CMHA clients.

Diversity Excellence - Glohaven Community Hub

Award sponsored by: MNP

Honourable mentions: Turning Points, North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society

Diversity Excellence

Glohaven Community Hub is a community-based eCommerce ecosystem that is revolutionizing the 'shop local' movement. Their staff are 75% represented by co-op students, youth, women, indigenous and people of colour. Glohaven is very forward thinking and actively partners with organizations to increase diversity and inclusion. They’ve also raised $60,000 for the community through Globox fundraisers.

Retail Business of the Year - FILL Vernon's Refill Store

Award sponsored by: Downtown Vernon Association

Honourable mentions: Canadian Tire Vernon, Quilakwa Canco

Retail Business

Fill Vernon’s Refill Store has a mission to make the world a greener place by reducing plastic pollution. In just over 3 years they have saved 250,000 containers from entering the environment. Fill has strong community involvement recently donating deodorant, toothpaste, laundry soap and shampoo to evacuees and fire fighters. They’ve also demonstrated going above and beyond for customer service.

Non-Profit Excellence - Canadian Mental Health Association

Award sponsored by: Community Foundation North Okanagan

Honourable mentions: Community Futures North Okanagan, Vernon Towne Theatre

Non-Profit Excellence

Canadian Mental Health Association have built a community of support for individuals and their families living with mental health challenges, from youth programs to housing to education to employment to psychosocial rehabilitation. They have proven excellence with past initiatives and through hard work their budget has grown significantly to provide more services to the community including the new Foundry Project.

Trades Business of the Year - Farrow Built

Award sponsored by: Scotiabank

Honourable mentions: Fox Plumbing Heating Cooling Electrical, Alternative Water Solutions

Trades Business

Farrow Built is a family focused business that specializes in shops and farm buildings. They’re confident and skilled in numerous aspects of construction showcasing innovation in the industry. By implementing a four-day rotating work week and prioritizing a work-life balance for their employees, they’ve increased staff retention from 20% to 90% in just over 1.5 years.

Tourism Excellence - Okanagan Science Centre

Award sponsored by: Tourism Vernon

Honourable mentions: Vernon Winter Carnival Society, Allan Brooks Nature Centre

Tourism Excellence

The Okanagan Science Centre has enhanced learning for youth by focusing efforts to increase educational programming, camps and exhibits as well as take-home science kits. They have a strong online presence to promote the area with over 20,000 monthly website visits and are one of the few Science Centres in Canada serving a rural population. They are a Biosphere committed organization through TOTA and recently upgraded accessibility for those with neurodiversity.

Restaurant of the Year - The Roster Sports Club Bar & Grill

Award sponsored by: YLW Kelowna International Airport

Honourable mentions: Cambium Cider Co. , Samosa Joes

Restaurant of the Year

The Roster Sports Club Bar & Grill Host a variety of events at the restaurant. They have strong community involvement in local fundraisers. Employees have written policies and training to enhance service. The Roster also has staff accommodations available and not to mention they use locally sourced ingredients in their food and drinks.

Professional Business of the Year - Nixon Wenger LLP

Award sponsored by: TD Bank

Honourable mentions: Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, Family First Optometry

Professional Business

Nixon Wenger LLP exemplify community involvement though sponsorships, grants and events. They have a wide range of services due to the size of their business and have a mentorship program for college students. They demonstrated adaptability through COVID and showcased their longevity now celebrating 50 years in business.

Customer Service Excellence - White House Mortgages

Award sponsored by Okanagan Spring Brewery

Honourable mentions: Vernon Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical Services, Nixon Wenger LLP

Customer Service

White House Mortgages has a passion for treating their customers in a friendly and professional manner. Focusing on a high level of personalization and doing what makes the customer feel the most comfortable. They have after sales service check-ins at seven and thirty days as well as on a yearly basis.

New Business of the Year - Steve Braun Coaching & Counselling

Award sponsored by Tolko Industries

Honourable mentions: LINQ Flooring, Noble Yoga

New Business Steve Braun

Steve Braun Coaching and Counselling has an honest passion and sincere desire to give back and help those who don’t fit the usual criteria for help. Steve passes on personal experience to have the tough conversations and his submission resonated right to the heart of the judges.

Photo credit: Peter Solymosi

Brian Emcee
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Thank You Sponsors

Award Sponsors Snip