The 25th edition of the Battlefords Business Excellence Awards in North Battleford was special for one business in particular.
That was Gold Eagle Casino, selected as recipient of the BBEX Business of the Year Award. They were selected from all the nominated finalists in all the competitive categories.
“We’re very proud to be receiving Business of the Year,” said General Manager Kelly Atcheynum.
“We weren’t expecting this but we’re very honoured to receive this. We’re very proud of our community and contributing back as much as we can. We like to celebrate success in our community, as you’ve seen in the past. We’re a 100 per cent nonprofit corporation and we give 100 per cent of our profits back to the community, and we’re very proud of that.”
It was their second BBEX award of the night, as they also took the Marketing Award with marketing co-ordinator Leanne Pawlyshyn accepting. The casino bested Beaver Grill Express Asian Restaurant, Capitol Theatre and Re/Max of the Battlefords in that category.
To make it almost a perfect night, Gold Eagle Casino representatives were presented both their BBEX awards at their own building. The event was held at their Events Centre, a change of venue from recent years when the event was held at the Dekker Centre. The reason for the change was to handle the amount of people who were there to celebrate the 25th anniversary.
Municipal and First Nation officials were among those who congratulated those who were nominated, and their remarks included references to a television program that aired about North Battleford over the weekend.
“W5 got it wrong,” said Mayor Ames Leslie of Battleford, who called the Battlefords the “best community in the province, the best community in the country, the best community in North America.”
“I would not listen to a radio or a television show ... that says negative things about your community,” said Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.
“Look around the tables, you know what a great community this is.”
Nominees were up for awards in eight categories. Here is how the other six played out:
The Heritage Award winner was known long before the BBEX ceremony. That went to Dance Connection and its owner Virginia Winterhalt, who was on hand to accept the award. This is the 30th year in business for Dance Connection, which now boasts 10 staff members and more than 200 students.
There were six nominees in the Community Contribution category. The winner was Discovery Co-operative Ltd., with Mike Nord accepting.
The other nominees were Beauty Spot Lash Bar, CBI Physical Rehabilitation Centre Solutions Inc., Gold Eagle Casino, Pattison Agriculture Ltd. and Sallows & McDonald – Wilson and Zehner Funeral Home.
For Micro Business the winner was Hawtin Plumbing Services Inc., with Mitch and Kelli Hawtin accepting.
Other nominations in the category went to Aaron M. Cadrin – Investment and Insurance, Dental on Main and The Cup Café & Bakery.
In New Business Venture, the BBEX went to Kaye Custom Contracting, with owners Chad and Amanda Kaye accepting. Other nominations went to Aurora Boutique and Hawtin Plumbing Services Inc.
For Customer Service, the BBEX went to Four K Auto Service, Owen Kaye accepting. They have been in business since 1992 and Kaye said this was their first BBEX award.
They beat out eight other nominees in the category — Beaver Grill Express Asian Restaurant, Capitol Theatre, North Battleford Agencies (1980) Ltd., North West College, Nutter’s Bulk & Natural Foods, P & W Mechanical Ltd., Re/Max of the Battlefords and Sallows & McDonald – Wilson and Zehner Funeral Home.
For Battlefords’ Best Employer the BBEX winner was North West College, President Jay Notay and Director of Programs/Chief Academic Officer Melanie Roberts accepted the honour.
Other nominees were Battlefords Boys and Girls Club and Silvester Glass & Aluminum Products Ltd.
There were some other special presentations for the 25th anniversary. There was a new award presented at this year’s BBEX, the induction into the Battlefords Business Hall of Fame. The first inductee was announced as the Libby family and Milbankes Flowers.
The annual Stan Wychopen scholarship was presented in the value of $2,000, and this year it went to local North West College business student Ali Lesmeister.
Finally Sask. Chamber CEO Steve McLellan announced that Linda Machniak was the recipient of the Roger Phillips Chamber Builder Award, selected by the provincial Chamber board. She will be formally recognized with the honor at the ABEX Awards in Saskatoon on Oct. 20.