Recognizing Business Excellence in South Simcoe

By Miriam King, Bradford Times

Bradford West Gwillimbury Mayor Rob Keffer welcomed dignitaries, business  representatives and award nominees, to the  2017 South Simcoe Business Excellence Awards, co-hosted by the Town and Nottawasaga Futures last Friday.

It was the 20th year for the Awards, established to honour businesses in BWG, New Tecumseth, Innisfil, Essa Twp., and Adjala-Tosorontio, in categories that included Customer Service, New Business, and Entrepreneur of the Year.

“I am consistently impressed by your passion and enthusiasm,” Mayor Keffer told business owners, noting that the awards serve another role: “To make people aware of what's available to them in their own backyards.”

He was joined at the podium by MPP for York Simcoe Julia Munro;  Innisfil Mayor Gord Wauchope, representing the County of Simcoe Warden Gerry Marshall; and Shauneen Mackay, representing MP Dr. Kellie Leitch, who saluted “the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that keeps our communities strong and prosperous.”

MPP Munro  thanked business owners for bringing goods and services to the residents of South Simcoe,  and for being “the people in the community who have a stake in the community, who understand entrepreneurship and risk-taking.” She noted that when businesses take advantage of opportunities for success, and take risks, “we're all winners.”

This year, Nottawasaga Futures received 235 nominations for its Business Excellence Awards. The nominees were whittled down to 66 finalists, before the 16 judges chose the winners:

Agricultural Award. Winner was Sheldon Creek Dairy, owned by the Den Haan family of Loretto, in Adjala-Tosorontio.  Hon. Mention went to Murphy's Farm Market, in Essa Twp.

Customer Service Award: Miss Jennie's Performing Arts Studio, Innisfil.

New Business of the Year Award: The Modern Market, New Tecumseth.  Honorable Mention went to BWG's EcoMobiLess mobile car cleaning and detailing service.

Quality Award, for Business Excellence in a Micro Business (1-9 employees) went to The Heating Source Inc., in New Tecumseth.

Quality Award for a Small Business (10-24 employees) – PhysioMed Alliston,  New Tecumseth

Quality Award for a Medium Business (25-74 employees) – Alliston Home Hardware, New Tecumseth.

Quality Award for a Large Business (75+ employees) – McDonald's restaurant in Angus.

Green Transition Award, presented to an established business that has initiated significant “green” practices – Lefroy Harbour Resorts, Innisfil

Youth Entrepreneur Award – Tara Andrews, of Beyond Buoyancy Aquatics in BWG.

Jr. Youth Entrepreneur Award, and winner of the High School Business Plan competition – Brayden Jackson, 16, of BWG; Hon. Mention went to Diego Lopes, 18, of New Tecumseth. There were 7 finalists in the challenge.

Entrepreneur of the Year – Kelly McIlwrath, founder of Kelly's Kitchen in Alliston.

Finally, a tie: the Business Excellence Award, recognizing an established business that has contributed significantly to the economic development of the community, was awarded to two businesses – Alliston Feed Services Ltd., of New Tecumseth, owned by Peter and Sheila Dockerty; and Drysdale's Tree Farm in Essa Twp., Doug Drysdale Jr. accepting.

There was one other presentation. BMO, Bradford Branch, was recognized as a Community Leader for its partnerships with the BWG Downtown Revitalization Committee, The Learning Partnership and other  organizations. Branch Manager Mark Taylor accepted the award.

The Business Excellence Awards are presented annually. Next year's awards evening will be hosted by Essa Township.