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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Business excellence celebrated in Essex Centre

by Sylene Argent

The Essex Centre BIA and the Rotary Club of Essex partnered to shed a spotlight on the local business community on Monday evening.

  Through the second annual Essex Centre Business Excellence Awards, which was hosted at Essex United Church, several local businesses within the Essex Centre BIA boundary were recognized with a special award or an anniversary milestone certificate.

  Leading up to the event, the Essex Centre BIA and Rotary Club of Essex turned to the community to nominate the businesses they believed were deserving to earn one of the ten award categories available. A panel of judges then made the difficult decision of which businesses would take home the awards, based on efforts applied in 2018.

  Century 21 Erie Shores earned the “Best Interior Improvement Award,” for the renovation to the interior of its facility. Wood Craft Pizza & Bar eared the “Best Exterior Improvement Award.” Talbot Massage Therapy earned the “Service Expansion of the Year Award” for having added two new massage therapists to its roster of employees last year. Stephanie Winger, Vision Realty, earned the “Rotary Four Way Test Award.”

  In addition, Eh Little Bit Of received the “Best Year-Round Storefront Display Award,” Kennedy Funeral Home earned the Beautification/Landscape Award for its well-kept property and the addition of the outdoor gather space. The “Community ‘Service Above Self’ Award-Chain” was presented to Ives Insurance Brokers Ltd. while the “Community ‘Service Above Self’ Award-Independent” was presented to A-1 Chinese Restaurant.

  Olde School Deli & Café received the “Outstanding New Business Award, and its owner, Justin Gagnon, received the “Trailblazing Entrepreneur Award” for implementing the unique business.

  In addition, the Essex Centre BIA and Rotary Club of Essex recognized a long-list of businesses that celebrated an anniversary milestone in 2018.  Olde School Deli and Café, Essex Family Dental, Nicole Kennedy Massage Therapy, Talbot Massage Therapy, Tricon Electrical Contractor Heating/Cooling, J’s Shaggy Chic Pet Grooming, Baker Tilly Canada, Yummy Restaurant, and Brenko’s House of Pizza, Stephanie Winger of Vision Realty, were recognized for celebrating one-year anniversaries. Essex County K9 Services was recognized for having celebrated a 10-year anniversary.

  Essex MP Tracey Ramsey was unable to attend the event, but did provide each of the milestone anniversary celebrants and the award winners with a certificate of recognition.

  Kim Spirou of the Rotary Club of Essex emceed the event. She noted the awards banquet was not only just a means to recognize outstanding businesses, it was also a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Essex’s local projects.

  An event of this scope and magnitude does not happen without sponsors that donate funds or in-kind services or products, Spirou noted, as she listed off the list of event sponsors.

  Essex Councillors Sherry Bondy and Steve Bjorkman attended the event, and Mayor Larry Snively sent along his best wishes. Only a couple members of Council were able to attend because a special Council meeting took place at the same time.

  Spirou also thanked the several Rotarians who came together to cook the meal the event attendees were able to enjoy.

  Gordon Orr, CEO of the Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) organization, was the special guest speaker at the event. He gave a brief run down of what the organization offers and strives to do.

  It is hoped TWEPI will be a top of mind organization, Orr said, that focuses on many aspects, including event attraction and product and program development.

  TWEPI, Orr added, wants to contribute to the quality of life of those in Windsor-Essex.

  On Thursday, TWEPI will host its own awards ceremony. Through the 4th annual Best of Windsor Awards, members of the community voted for their favourite places to see and visit in a variety of categories.

  One of its programs is the WE Made it program, which highlights the hidden gems of locally produced goods. Another service it offers is a local fishing guide map.

  In Windsor-Essex, Orr explained, 1600 people are employed in the local tourism industry, which is also an economic generator.


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