2022 Business Excellence Awards
The Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce recognizes and honours the achievements of its member businesses with an annual Business Excellence Awards Gala. Join us for a night of dinner, dancing and celebration!
2022 Business Excellence Awards
Excellence in Sales and Service
Bright Eyes & Bushy Tails was established in 2005. The Present owners are Rupali Sharma & Vikas Sharma. They are a family oriented & locally owned fresh food pet store, proudly serving the community for the last 17 years by giving exceptional customer service, best products for the pets at very affordable prices.
They recently joined the BEE SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM run by Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley and hired two new employees from that program.
So they can proudly say on behalf of the team that they are a business for the community, by the community & to the community.
Excellence in Hospitality and Lodging
Centrally located at the intersection of Hwy. 41 and Hwy. 17 in the pretty little city of Pembroke, Ontario is The Best Western Pembroke Inn & Conference Centre. A full-service hotel with 88 rooms, suites and banquet halls is only part of what makes this hotel an amazing experience for corporate, business and leisure travellers. They offer the Westwinds restaurant and a full service fitness centre with pool.
The Best Western is Green Friendly, offering reward points for skipping the housekeeping. They have received awards from CAA and other entities, and their fitness centre has raised over 500 hundred thousand dollars for local charities.
Excellence in Agri-Business, Farming and Rural Achievement
Hedgeview Farm Organics (HFO) is a market gardening business owned and operated by Brenna Jansen in Laurentian Valley. This business was started from scratch in 2010 when Brenna returned to the valley at 25 years old, to pursue a career in agriculture on the fields of her family’s former dairy farm.
Hedgeview Farm Organics is a woman-led, Certified Organic, 3-acre market garden with 2 greenhouses, producing 50 different crops including 100 different varieties of veggies and some fruits. The garden also boasts a small commercial (award-winning) garlic operation specializing in certified organic and rare garlic that is loved locally and increasingly more, all over Canada! Overall, the farm is focused on producing quality products, implementing environmental practices and furthering food security locally. The farm is heavily engaged with its community and in particular outreach involving children and food literacy.
Excellence in Communications
myFM was born in Renfrew, ON in 2004 with the Pembroke myFM being the second station, owned and operated by Jon Pole and Andrew Dickson. The team quickly grew My Broadcasting Corporation to a family of 18 radio stations across the province. MBC has won small businesses awards, an award for local news coverage, and they were on Canada’s fastest growing companies list for a decade. “At MBC, we embrace the opportunity we have as a local broadcaster. Each day our teams leverage the power of local radio and our local websites to help make a difference in our communities. Communicating relevant information in a timely manner.”
The myFM award entry included letters of support and testimonials from Mayor LeMay, the Pembroke Lumberkings owner Alex Armstrong, the OPP, Pembroke Regional Hospital Foundation, Robbie Dean Counselling Centre, the OSPCA and more.
Excellence in Construction and Trades
Stone Moss Construction is a landscaping operation owned and operated by Andre and Christelle. They named the company after their 12-year-old Rottweiler, “Mossimo.” Rottweilers were originally bred as work dogs in the field. This breed had to be affirmative and powerful enough to herd cattle and pull carts. They are incredibly loyal and despite popular belief, the Rottweiler is one of the most intelligent dog breeds in existence. Their ability to learn, adapt to their environments, and their keen eye for their surroundings are unparalleled.
They think Mossimo is the perfect mascot for the company because he not only represents them perfectly but inspires them. “They are unconditionally loyal to our clients and hard working in the field. They have an ability to learn and adapt to every new project they take on, and their attention to detail is unrivalled. They are inspired to create an outdoor experience for their clients that will last a lifetime with a mission to help people discover a life lived outside in a beautifully designed and constructed landscape.”
Excellence in Tourism and Recreation
Opened in October 2019, in historic downtown Pembroke Ontario, Ottawa Valley Power Play is a high-technology, virtual reality arcade offering educational and entertainment activities that challenges intellectual, strategic and problem-solving skills through gaming. Kids, youths, and adults can experience virtual reality in games, exploration zones, escape rooms and even do a bit of ghost hunting. A unique type of entertainment that has been enjoyed by people from the age of 8 to the age of 85, it is high tech entertainment for the Ottawa Valley.
Excellence in Creative Arts and Culture
John A. Butler Photography is a full-time photography studio that specializes in headshots, business/corporate photography, executive/environmental portraits, high-end contemporary portraiture, fine art portraits, family portraiture and recently real estate photography. They also shoot for many local minor sports and dance studios every year for their team and individual photography.
John’s love for photography started in the ’90s. In his early 20’s he started out shooting bodybuilders, fitness and swimsuit models. After having his first photograph published in an international magazine, he was hooked.
John pushes himself and attempts to always be moving forward in this highly competitive field. They are one, if not the only, brick and mortar studios still around in the Pembroke area.
John does much volunteer work for the community, including co-host of “John and Dave TV” on Cogeco YourTV.
Excellence in Professional Services
Jenn Snider is passionate about helping families to ensure their children’s future is brighter. Jenn works under the umbrella of Knowledge First Financial and is an independent representative. KFF has been a leading RESP Provider since 1965 and is Canada’s first choice when it comes to RESPs. Jenn moved to the Ottawa Valley 5yrs ago in 2017 and opened a branch office in Pembroke: working from Deep River, down into the Madawaska Valley of Barry’s Bay over through Killaloe, Eganville, and Renfrew out to Arnprior. Any event going on she will be there to talk to parents about the importance of starting an RESP and receiving the Government Grant incentives.
Excellence in Personal Care, Health and Wellness
VC Athletic Therapy had humble beginnings in the basement of 13 Craig Place in Petawawa, Victoria’s family home. Victoria was able to introduce Athletic Therapy to a whole realm of people that truly needed it, whether cutting their own wood, playing high level sports, training for their demanding job as a contractor, soldier or first responder. In 2012 Victoria hired a second athletic therapist and office administrator. That year they won new business of the year and began supporting the Lumber Kings in the clinic, local triathlons, bike, running and ski races as well as the Predators rugby club. They became a staple at local community sporting events with tables and tents set up for volunteering Athletic Therapy services.
Nowadays at these events you’ll meet a team of practitioners that include massage therapy, chiropractors, Osteopaths, Holistic Nutritionist and TCM Acupuncturists. There are often high school co-op students, university kinesiology students and 3rd year Athletic Therapists from all over the country. The evolution of VC Athletic Therapy has turned into a health collective.
Victoria is currently acting as a lead medical chair for the Ontario Winter Games to be held here in Renfrew County next year. They travel the world with sports teams to the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and more.
Kitchissippi Productions is a queer indigenous-owned visionary production company that works with ambitious community-driven organizations to bring back the magic of in-person gatherings to virtual and hybrid meetings, events, and entertainment.
They are on a mission to help ambitious community-driven organizations to expand and flourish through dynamic virtual & hybrid events that enable them to create meaningful change in their communities where everyone belongs.
The business was founded by Dorian Pearce, who always had a dream of running a production company. The model is to empower local change-making organizations through the power of events. He believes that events have the power to bring people together towards action. The business works primarily with groups, businesses, and organizations that share his vision for creating communities where everyone belongs. He brings a diverse-lens to every event that he curates and ensures that equity is at the heart of every experience he produces.
J.P. Waxington started out of a love for candles and a desire by a local veteran and his wife to share their passion of the craft. They have created a pure soy candle line that will remind you of the local valley in which it was created. They believe that fragrance is an extension of nature and our memories of our experiences and surroundings, so they create scents that would trigger those moments.
“The entire collection is vegan and cruelty-free. All the candles are made with 100% North American soy wax, and each of our candles is wicked, poured, and labelled by hand.”
At the end of his military career, Chad had and still struggles with both depression and physical injuries. He used candles to help him cope with his bad days and found that they played an essential role in his daily healing. They decided to share their combined passions with others and founded the J.P. Waxington Candle Company. They feel very grateful to be fulfilling this simple perfect dream and sharing it with those around them that also find beauty in the simple things.
Community Impact Award
“RC VTAC was created in March 2020 in response to Premier Ford’s directive to create assessment centres to test people with COVID-19 symptoms. In a County where much of our population resides in rural and remote areas, a stationary centre would not serve our needs. Instead, an unprecedented collaboration between public health, primary care, hospitals, and community paramedics resulted in a virtual centre, staffed by nurse practitioners and family physicians, supported by administrative personnel and community paramedics.
While it continues to meet the need of providing access to testing for COVID-19, one of our other objectives was to protect the surge capacity of 911 Paramedics and our hospitals. In our area there are tens of thousands of people who do not have access to primary care. When these folks are ill they crowd into the emergency departments of our local hospitals and are more likely to request 911 Paramedic Services. Walk-in clinics and urgent care options are nonexistent in Renfrew County.
Within days of RC VTAC expanding its mandate to include people who do not have a family doctor or who could not access their family doctor, emergency room visits began to decline. People who had no access to a doctor for years, now had episodic care.
The model of care that RC VTAC created represents a significant opportunity to scale and spread this successful model across Ontario at a time when many Ontarians and health care providers are feeling the same pressures that we are experiencing in Renfrew County.
In closing, this award would further assist with lobbying efforts to have the Ministry of Health provide annualized funding for RC VTAC ensuring its future as an innovative and highly needed service to our residents.”
Pembroke Mall is a full-service destination offering a mix of retail, services, food offerings, and more to the Pembroke community, and beyond, making it a place for community members to gather and connect.
The Shopping Centre has been a valued member of the Pembroke community for decades and has both adapted and grown. Pembroke Mall not only benefits the community, but the local business community as it is a caring home for many businesses. The Team at Pembroke Mall becomes personally involved with its tenants both large national brands and small locally owned. Its manager, Strathallen Property Management Inc., works closely with its tenants, providing tools and resources to help them be the best service providers they can be.
The Shopping Centre also focuses closely on the community. It boasts promotions and events for holidays and partnering with local charities and non-profit organizations to create a deeper connection between these organizations and the Pembroke community.
Lifetime Achievement Award
As the Chamber enters its 67th year, it is with pleasure that we present Lisa Edmonds with the annual Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honours outstanding leaders who have made significant contributions to the advancement of sustainability in business over their lifetime and have made a difference in our community.
Edmonds grew up in the family business where her father, Mac Edmonds, was a founding partner of Edmonds, Gallagher, and McLaughlin (EGM). She left home in pursuit of education while competing internationally for several years on Canada’s national alpine ski team.
An Ottawa Valley girl at heart, Edmonds returned home to eventually lead Team EGM. In addition to being a wife and mom, Lisa donates countless volunteer hours each year to supporting key causes in her community.
Edmonds was an integral member of the Algonquin College Pembroke Waterfront Campus Capital Campaign working, serving as a Girls’ Night Out planning committee member for five years, helping to raise bursary funds for students in need.
She has the well-being of the business community at heart at all times as a sitting member of the Pembroke Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee (PEDTAC).
As a local business and community leader and philanthropist, Edmonds has been a long-time champion of the Pembroke Regional Hospital and the PRH Foundation, helping to steer the planning of the annual Black and White Gala every year since its inauguration in 2002, helping to raise millions for local health care. Lisa joined the PRHF Board of Directors in 2017 and currently serves as Board Chair.
Lisa has left an indelible mark on our region as a result of her tireless commitment and life’s passion for lifting up our business community.
Thank you to our business partners who have generously contributed as Premium Sponsors to the gala celebration.
Thank you to our business partners who have generously contributed to the gala celebration. As Gold Sponsors, a representative of each of these businesses will get to show their support by awarding a Business Excellence winner.