Chamber awards recognize business excellence

2018 WMBEXA winners Stacey Huard, Erin Francais, Teresa Helperl, Joelle Ward and Jesse Ries during a panel discussion at a business award nomoniee luncheon Thursday, January 10 in Martensville

With a record number of nominations in this year’s Warman-Martensville Business Excellence Awards (WMBEXA), judges will have their work cut out for them as they select the top performers.

Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce (PSCC) Executive Director Jaimie Malmgren said a total of 77 businesses and organizations are nominated in this year’s competition. Some businesses are nominated in more than one category, bringing the total number of nominations to 122.

Winners will be announced at the WMBEXA gala, slated  for May 3 at the North Ridge Centennial Community Centre in Martensville. The top five finalists in each category, including Business of the Year, Non-Profit of the Year, Community Involvement, Customer Service and New Business, will be announced March 14.

This is the fourth annual edition of the WMBEXA competition, organized by the PSCC. The first competition was organized in 2016 shortly after the amalgamation of the Warman Chamber of Commerce and Martensville Chamber of Commerce to form the PSCC.

WMBEXA Nominees were invited to a PSCC-sponsored luncheon at the Canalta Hotel in Martensville on Thursday, January 10 where they got some valuable tips on how to put their best foot forward for the judges.

A panel of 2018 WMBEXA winners, including Jesse Ries of the Martensville Community  Recreation Project (MCRPA), Joelle Ward and Teresa Helperl of SAS Home and Floral Boutique; Stacey Huard of Santosha Yoga and Wellness Therapies; and Erin Francais of Finelite Photography, offered insights on the value of the awards and the application process.

Ries said the MCRPA, which is raising funds for a second indoor ice surface facility in Martesnvile, benefited from the “validation” of its efforts over the years, and experienced a renewed momentum as more people became aware of the campaign and joined the group.

Erin Francais of Finelite Photography said the process helped her take stock of her successes and fine-tune her overall business plan.

Malmgren said nominees’ applications must be submitted by the deadline in early February. A panel of five judges, all of whom are anonymous, even to each other, evaluate each application and assign points based on the answers to each question from the nominee. The final decision on finalists and winners is based on the combined average total from all five judges.

Malmgren noted the WMBEXA awards not only provide significant publicity for local businesses and non-profit groups, they also serve as a “stepping stone” to the provincial ABEX awards.