Tofino’s trophy cabinet got a little more crowded last week as two new Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards were brought home from Nanaimo.
The local business community saw an impressive four nominations for this year’s awards and both Surf Sister and Crystal Cove Beach Resort took their categories’ top honours. Tofino Food Tours and The Factory Tofino were also nominated.
“This award is a culmination of many years work, and so much love,” Surf Sister’s manager Tiffany Olsen told the Westerly News. “Krissy [Montgomery], our owner, took over Surf Sister with a certain vision and has kept herself true to it. Her ability to treat employees and customers as family shows. I believe this is why we have been honoured in this way.”
Winners were announced at a Jan. 24 ceremony in Nanaimo. Black Press is a Platinum Medium Sponsor of the event, which is coordinated by Business Examiner and saw 85 finalists nominated for 17 categories.
“Every year there are some amazing success stories that are told at this event,” said Mark MacDonald of Business Examiner. “There is a lot of hard working business people who have put everything they have into their companies, and it’s great to have an evening to celebrate their efforts.”
Olsen said the Surf Sister team was ecstatic to hear themselves announced as the Tourism Award winner.
“Initially, when they announced the award, we were in total shock, Vancouver Island has so much great tourism-based business,” she said. “Of course, after the shock was excitement. It is such an honour and we have been working so hard to grow our business while keeping our standards of customer service high.”
She said she was delighted to attend the event in Nanaimo and enjoyed collaborating with the other nominated entrepreneurs.
“Sometimes, you just need to celebrate all the hard work you put in. The whole night was full of excitement. Every business had interesting stories of where they came from and what they want to do in the future,” she said. “This was a chance to learn what other business on the island do to keep their employees and clients happy. We are always looking for new ways to improve and outside perspective can be enlightening.”
Crystal Cove Beach Resort manager JJ Belanger said the resort’s team was “very proud and humbled” to hoist the Hospitality Award.
“This represents everything to us to know we are doing the right things for our guests and our team,” he said. “The award in the big picture is nice to have, but the main thing is that we strive for greatness in all that we do at Crystal Cove everyday…We have done a lot of work to the resort and our relationships with our guests who are the reason we got nominated in the first place.”
He added that this was the resort’s third Business Excellence Award nomination and he was confident that elusive first win was in store this time around.
“The past two times we were honoured to even be a finalist and we lost to two incredible properties,” he said. “Both times, I felt that we had not ticked off all the boxes needed to win. This year was different. I felt really confident that the hard work our team has done over the past few years had led us to this win.”
Tofino mayor Josie Osborne congratulated all four Tofitian nominees.
“Tofino’s strong entrepreneurial spirit is well known across Vancouver Island, and it’s rewarding to see this recognized by the nominations of four Tofino businesses. Each of these businesses has a great story behind it, and they are all operated by passionate people who love what they do—and love doing it in Tofino,” Osborne told the Westerly via email.
“It is so wonderful to see how nominations and awards like these give these business owners and their staffs—and the rest of the community—a chance to pause and reflect on their success. I offer my congratulations to all four of these businesses.”
Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce executive director Jen Dart told the Westerly she was excited to see Tofino represented so strongly at the awards.
“It’s great that our local businesses are getting recognition beyond the West Coast. We’ve always known that Tofino businesses are amongst the best on the Island, but this sort of outside recognition is a further endorsement,” she said. “We’re very fortunate that the Tofino business community is made up of passionate local entrepreneurs. Not only do they provide leadership in business, but they also give back a lot to the community in terms of volunteering and many other ways. That’s why we love to work with this business community—there is a level of engagement and cohesiveness that you really can’t find anywhere else.”