Tofino’s former welcome sign now hangs on the wall in the chamber office. The chamber is excited to be kicking off its first Business Excellence Awards this month.

Tofino launches business awards

It’s the time of the season for loving your local businesses.

It’s the time of the season for loving your local businesses.

Locals are encouraged to send their favourite business a Valentine’s present by nominating them for Tofino’s inaugural Business Excellence Awards.

Nominations opened Feb. 10.

The awards are a Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce initiative and the chamber’s executive director Jen Dart told the Westerly that she’s excited to shine a spotlight on Tofino’s strong business community and celebrate local successes.

“The chamber Board of Directors wanted an opportunity to give back to our members by acknowledging the consistent hard work they do to contribute to the positive business climate in Tofino,” she said.

“The Business Excellence Awards give the chamber the chance to recognize those local businesses that are constantly offering an outstanding product or service to the community and visitors.”

The chamber has selected six categories to recognize Tofino’s best: business, small business, new business, business leader and non-profit organization. A special customer service award is also up for grabs.

“I think we could have a lot more than six categories for awards, but we thought we would start with these for the first year,” Dart said.

“The nominations will be vetted by the chamber board to narrow it down to three finalists in each category and then an independent panel, made up of the mayor [Josie Osborne] and other community leaders, will decide on the final six winners. I think there will be some tough decisions for the judging panel, but I’m sure they’re up to the challenge.”

Businesses will be judged on innovation, leadership, community involvement, and environmental friendliness and more information can be found on nomination forms available at the chamber’s website www.tofinochamber.org as well as its Facebook page.

“We’re looking for help from locals to recognize the most worthy businesses, so please vote,” Dart said.

“Small businesses, especially those based in a tourism economy, don’t take the opportunity to focus on their successes. These awards offer us a chance to do that during the off-season when everyone has a little more time.”

She suggested the awards could become an annual celebration in Tofino.

“If there is a good response to the awards this year in terms of nominations and member interest, we will definitely be making it an annual event,” she said.

The Westerly News and Tourism Tofino have signed on as sponsors for the awards and more sponsorship opportunities are available.

“The only caveat is that the sponsor cannot win in their sponsored category,” Dart said. “We will highlight our sponsors in all of our promotional material and recognize them as well on awards night.”

Award winners will be announced at the chamber’s annual general meeting in March.

Dart encourages anyone with any questions about the awards to contact her at info@tofinochamber.org.