By Jamie Rieger
Bernice DeLeenheer, president of the Bow Island and District Chamber of Commerce hosted the Small Business awards night, held in Bow Island on Friday evening.
“We are having this even to celebrate our small businesses. We have businesses here doing things that make our town a thriving community,” said DeLeenheer.
“We are here to support you, the businesses,” she said. “We are out there in the community and if there is anything you would like to see or have here, let us know.”
Theresa Hardiker, executive director of the Economic Development Alliance of Southeast Alberta (EDA) was the first presenter for the evening, speaking about how her organization supports small business in southeast Alberta, and more specifically about how local businesses can prepare for when the renewable energy industry comes to town.
“I have spent lots of time talking to businesses about what could happen. If 300 construction workers are in the area and come into your store, will you be able to handle it? We’re preparing and trying to help businesses understand the opportunities available,” said Hardiker.
“Bow Island could be one of the centres of influence. What about housing? Can they bring their trailers?” she said.
Hardiker is also encouraging local businesses to diversify in preparation in order to offer the supports that will be needed.
Jennifer Schafer from Avail in Taber/Vauxhall then gave a presentation on four ways to grow your business, including marketing and development techniques.
DeLeenheer then closed the night with the small business awards.
The Business of the Year award went to Silver Spray Car Wash and Gas Bar (no representation at the awards night).
The business is owned by Abe and Margaretha Heinrich, who have owned the family operation since 2006 and recently upgraded their wand car wash bay and opened an automatic wash bay.
Other award winners are:
Long Service award- Bow Island Medical Centre
Most Innovative new business- GL Tires
Spirit of Bow Island- Shortgrass Library System