By Michael Nesbitt
EMERALD – The Kensington and Area Chamber of Commerce recently held its annual Awards of Excellence gala at the Emerald Community Centre.
The business-mixer-style event featured eight local restaurants offering samples of their specialties. For a lighter touch, guests were invited to make use of “time capsules” to store a business or personal goal that would be revealed at next year’s event.
Gina Dunn also provided entertainment on piano, guitar and vocals.
Samuel’s Coffee House was recognized as new business of the year.
Moyna Matheson, owner and operator of Samuel’s, was grateful to be acknowledged for the hard work that goes into the business.
“It means an incredible amount,” she said. “You can’t open your doors everyday without that.”
The citation noted Samuel’s has already gained a reputation as a community hub, after barely a year of operation.
Excellence in customer service was awarded to Ryan Simmonds, general manager of Roberts Petro Can in Kensington. Simmonds has worked at the station since 1998, maintaining his job as he studied for a business degree.
He was cited as representing the company well and extending customer relations beyond the workplace, into many community endeavours.
Business person of the year was awarded to John Rowe, president of Timeless Technologies software development company and Island Abby Foods, which is more popularly known for its Honibe products.
Rowe has over 17 years experience, and is credited with 25 innovations and more than 500 license agreements around the world. Timeless Technologies has been in business since 1994. Rowe’s honey-based products have been advancing for nine years, though it was an appearance on a CBC program in 2011 that proved the tipping point for that venture.
“I love what I do,” he said. “Being an entrepreneur, you are faced with challenges every day, around every bend, and it’s those challenges that motivate to work.
“I don’t really consider it work; it’s life. You are in charge of your own destiny. If you don’t motivate yourself, it’s not going to happen, because the buck stops with you.”
Business of the year was awarded to Higher Design, owned by Kenny and Klasina Driscoll.
Since starting the business in 2006, Higher Design has continued to grow, strengthened by the creative and administrative viewpoints that each of the owners contribute.
The final award of the night was the Committee Choice, presented to Hospice P.E.I., and accepted by the organization’s chair, Jodi Swan.
Hospice P.E.I. earned the accolade for having trained 1,500 volunteers over the past 27 years, who have registered over 45,000 hours of care to the dying and their families, wherever the patients may find themselves.
Today, there are four chapters across the Island, and 200 specially-trained volunteers who help lessen the fear and uncertainty associated with dying thorough care and support for the terminally ill and their families.
The success of the annual awards gala is that the leaders in the community get to know each other better, and encourage greater achievements through the recognitions the awards provide.
Provincial Agricultre Minister, George Webster, reminded the guests that business success in one sector often leads to business success in other sectors.