For the past eight years, it has been my delight to be the conduit for the Digby Area Board of Trade’s annual Business Awards of Excellence nominations.
The deadline for nominations is drawing to a close on Saturday, May 31, and to date I have received so many wonderful narratives about businesses and non-profits in our community. Every year it gets tougher for the adjudicators as each of the nominees are very worthy, yet only one can be chosen in each category.
There are always warm wonderful stories, interesting antidotes and some incredible achievements. In many cases, I am not sure that our community is aware of the talent we have here in our own community.
For example, last year’s DABT business achievement exporter was Guy LeBlanc of Guy's Frenchys. It was not widely known that this operation exports all over the world. Mr. LeBlanc has had a dramatic impact on our local economy and beyond.
Consistently, there are some businesses who step out of their expected retail role to make sure the traveling public is made to feel welcome. The Digby outlet of the NSLC, the post office, our pharmacies and hardware stores have all been applauded for their service.
Obviously, our restaurants and accommodations have been recognized, but it shows a great deal about who we are when personnel in other sectors realize that they, too, have a role to play with respect to tourism.
Then there are the innovators, the out of the box thinkers who have taken a proactive role in enhancing and developing value-added products. I was unaware that Brendan Enright of Bear River received 28 medals for his delightful wines when he was with Annapolis Highland Vineyards. The most recent was a double gold for his Castel 2012 at the 2014 All Canadian Wine Competition.
Enright has moved on to Cider House, where he is now the general manager and cider maker. Cider House currently has the number one and two best selling ciders in Nova Scotia.
As I think back on the entrepreneur category—now named in honour of the late Ian Russell, who worked diligently to establish links between old and New Scotland—there have been some really fantastic recipients: Wild Rose Farm, Screen King, and Royal Propane. All of these people have gone the extra mile, taken risks and have been an asset to this area and beyond.
The same is true of the life achievement awards. It appears that once people get this well deserved accolade they each continue to strive for excellence. Although some have since ‘retired’, so to speak, most are still active in so many ways, making a difference in this area.
The DABT is unique in that in the process of recognizing the business community, it also takes a sincere role in identifying volunteers and non-profits. We are blessed with so many who do so much out of the kindness of their hearts.
I’m thinking of last year when Bethany Place/the Little Sisters of Mary were acknowledged for their role in supporting and caring for others. In previous years, the countless hours of volunteer efforts expended by citizens who work to enhance infrastructure, develop opportunities and enhance our tourism product was acknowledged.
There is still time to send in your suggestions. This year, every nominee—not just the ones who receive awards—will know that they were considered. Think about it. Is there someone or some business that should be accorded that special thank you?