Two long-time St. Albert families and a city employee earned high praise from the business community this week.
Members of the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce recognized 10 local people for their efforts in improving business in the city at the annual Small Business Awards dinner, held Thursday at the Kinsmen Clubhouse.
Hole’s Greenhouse took home the second-ever Pillar of Business Award, given to companies that have been in the city for more than 30 years.
Hole’s is one of the foundations of the community, said chamber chair Joe Becigneul, and is a strong supporter of many local events. Its name will become part of a monument to long-time businesses in the city to be constructed downtown in 2011.
Jim Hole, who accepted the award, recalled how his parents started their business by selling vegetables on their farm back in the 1960s.
“We were thought of as being way out there on the farm,” he said, with only a gravel road linking them to the rest of the town. The family built its current greenhouse on the farm in 1979, and is now building a new one by Big Lake.
Hole thanked the community for helping to continue the legacy of his parents.
“The only reason we can expand is because we have [your]support,” he told the crowd. The family’s new facility near Big Lake will sell fresh vegetables in addition to its usual plants, he noted, just like the ones his parents sold on their old farm. “We’re going back to our roots.”
Campbell Liquor honoured
The Campbell Liquor Store snagged the Chair’s Award of Distinction for its community support over the last few decades.
Store founder Jay Dugal moved to St. Albert with his family in 1982 and started a Red Rooster convenience store, said Becigneul — something totally unrelated to his training as an architect. In the mid-1990s, Dugal jumped into another business he knew little about — liquor — and created a thriving business, one that often supports community fundraisers.
There was no work for architects in England in the 1980s, Dugal said, so he and his family decided to start a business in St. Albert. “When we came here, there was no Village Tree Mall, and only one hamburger drive-thru.” They were one of the few Indian families in the city at the time, but were welcomed all the same.
Larry Horncastle of the city’s Business and Tourism Development branch became the chamber’s first ever Friend of Business Award winner. The award is given at the chamber’s discretion to someone who makes exceptional efforts towards advancing city business.
Horncastle and his crew have spent the last 10 years promoting city businesses across the continent, Becigneul said, and recently launched a new “Join Us” multimedia campaign promoting the city as a place to set up shop. “They do so much for not only the chamber of commerce but the entire business community that we felt we should come up with a special award” for them, he said.
It’s the business community that creates the jobs and investment, Horncastle said. “We’re just there to hopefully create the climate for them to do that.” His department’s success was due not to him, he emphasized, but the skilled people behind him. “I’m just very fortunate to be able to work with them.”
Small Business Awards 2009
Business to Business: JDR Insurance
Customer Service: Visionary College
Young Entrepreneur: Bliss Hair by Design
Marketing: Sublime Swim & Sunwear
Innovation and Technology: Gaia Energies
Home Based Business: Fresh Look Design
Small Business Award: Art of Dance
Chair’s Award: Campbell Liquor Store
Pillar of Business: Hole’s Greenhouse
Friend of Business: Larry Horncastle, St. Albert Business and Tourism Development