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2019 Nanaimo Busines Awards – Best Inclusive Employer

COCO Café is a Social Enterprise with a mission to provide employment, training, and socialization opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.  Their business model is unique to them.  Most similar community programs are just that, “community programs” where people with developmental disabilities are given the opportunity to participate in a workplace setting, not necessarily being paid and often being part of more of a social and recreational program.  At the Coco Café all their employees are paid industry-standard wages or higher and offered a full benefits package.  All their employees are part of the team and contribute to the success of the business.  This is especially important for those employees with developmental disabilities to feel the rewards of contributing to their workplace success and being part of their community.

Recognition of the accomplishments of COCO Café is wonderful for their committed team “who work hard to maintain the focus of effort on a daily basis to provide a supportive work environment.”  Equally as important, winning this award raises the profile of the organization, its mission, and the possibilities of running a successful and truly inclusive workplace.

In 2017 the COCO Café introduced new efforts in their commercial retail food department incorporating new products such as healthy family meals, stuffed Yorkshire puddings, and chicken enchiladas to their already popular hand-folded potpies and soups.  These meals are sold in their retail food freezer on sight and through local grocery stores.  They are excited to be expanding their opportunities by opening a new commercial kitchen space dedicated to meeting the demand of their growing catering and commercial retail operations.  This new kitchen will create a space to allow them to meet the demand for their product and provide more supported employment opportunities.

Check out their website at www.cococafe.ca, like them on Facebook at Coco Café & Cedar Opportunities Co-operative, or follow them on Instagram at @cococafecedar

Click here to download PDF!

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best in Arts & Entertainment

The purpose of The Port Theatre Society is to stimulate and enhance artistic, cultural, and economic activity of central Vancouver Island.  At the Port Theatre they host 110,000 people each year to enjoy a variety of cultural performances and events.  Through their partnerships and their programming, the Port Theatre has established itself as a community gathering place, a place of tolerance, and creativity.  With over 200 volunteers, they have one of the largest volunteer rosters in Nanaimo.  Together, their staff and volunteers help to ensure they are the community’s home for artistic and cultural performers, and audiences throughout central Vancouver Island.

The Port Theatre is honoured and thrilled to be the recipient of the 2019 Arts & Entertainment Nanaimo Business Award. “The timing couldn’t be better as we just celebrated our 20th year!”

The positive impact of winning this award is raising awareness that the Port Theatre is a non-profit organization built by the determination and hard work of this dedicated community. Since opening their doors in 1998, innumerable volunteers, staff, their boards of directors, individuals, corporations, non-profits, local, provincial and federal governments and their deepest partner, the City of Nanaimo, have supported the arts and culture at the Port Theatre.

They have grown to host almost 250 events a year, this is truly a place for everyone! Being recognized by the Nanaimo Chamber also acknowledges they’re running a successful business, providing well-paid local jobs and contributing substantially to the growing success of the downtown core. The Port Theatre also provides an extensive diversity of events and programs, allowing citizens to have meaningful arts experiences without leaving their hometown as well as attracting many out of town visitors for some of their unique programs.

Check out their website at www.porttheatre.com, like them on Facebook at The Port Theatre, or follow them on Twitter at @porttheatre!

Click here to download the PDF!

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Report to Council October 28, 2019

Report to Council October 28. 2019

Findings & Recommendation:

Impact on business and residents of homelessness and social disorder

Click here to download the full report.

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B. Gallant Gingerbread House Competition

For Immediate Release: October 28th, 2019

LAST Chance to Enter your Business in this Year’s DT Gingerbread Competition

This 2019 holiday season, will be the 5th annual celebration of B Gallant Homes Gingerbread Competition in Downtown Nanaimo. Registration is now open for Nanaimo businesses to sign up for the competition that gives you a huge opportunity to promote your company’s image give back to the community, in a fun and collaborative way!

Using imagination and creativity, your team will design and build a model which resembles a house, or a building, with gingerbread and royal icing. All aspects of the models have to be edible but the rest of the game is up to you!

Join B Gallant Homes Gingerbread today and start working on your dream gingerbread house now, it will be displayed in Vancouver Island Conference Centre and viewed by over 2000 people. Even better, you will have the opportunity to showcase your business to the community. The display will be open the public for the whole of December, and you are invited to the Nanaimo Chamber Presents Sneak Peek into Gingerbread Village evening on November 21st at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, prizes will be awarded to the winners.

It is a $300 entry fee to participate in the competition, $50 will go directly to the Nanaimo Salvation Army’s housing programs. 6 slabs of gingerbread and 2 royal icing containers will be provided to help you turn your talents into one of the tastiest houses in the world! Not only is B Gingerbread Homes event a wonderful way to get your team together for a teambuilding event, but it is also a way to showcase your company to Nanaimo and other business partners.

The deadline for submitting an application is on Thursday October 31, 2019.

 

 

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best New Business

Cold Front Gelato specializes in making innovative gelato flavours while respecting the Italian tradition of using local, fresh ingredients. They pride themselves in their “from scratch” methods that involve the production of their own purées, syrups, and sauces to produce the highest quality, natural gelato. Cold Front also proudly serves Milano Coffee and a premium selection of teas from a variety of incredible BC based tea companies.

The Cold Front journey began in Bologna, Italy.  Studying the traditional methods of gelato production, the goal was to create a world class gelato right here on Vancouver Island. The result is a mixture of traditional and innovative flavours, made fresh daily, drawing inspiration from Italy and the West-Coast.  One important tradition is their commitment to work with as many local producers and artisans as we can.

The greatest part of winning the Nanaimo Business Award for best New Business was “knowing that the people of Nanaimo nominated us and took the time to vote for our business.”  They are so grateful to all of their customers for sticking with them in their first year as a starting business.

One of their newest initiatives at Cold Front is to include pastries to go with our gelato, coffee, and tea.  Their second new offering is their delivery program.  Customers can go online at coldfrontgelato.com and order pints delivered right to their homes Monday – Friday!

Check out their website at www.coldfrontgelato.com, like them on Facebook at Cold Front Gelato, or follow them on Instagram at @coldfrontgelato!

Click here to download the PDF! 

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best in Corporate Social Responsibility

Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island is a not for profit organization with a mission to provide affordable homeownership opportunities to families across the Mid-Vancouver Island Region.  Safe, decent, and affordable housing can have a transformative impact on families and on the communities in which they live.  Research shows that kids do better in school, parents’ employment prospects improve, and families are happier and better equipped to face life’s challenges after moving into a Habitat home.

Habitat for Humanity raise funds via their two ReStores, which sell new and used building supplies, home décor, furniture, and lighting, as well as through donations. With the support of their volunteers and community supporters they can build homes for families experiencing housing poverty who would not qualify for a regular mortgage.

Winning this award was “wonderful as it showed us that our local community in Nanaimo is supportive of our mission and understands what we are working to achieve.”

The impact of the winning the award has been to encourage everyone at Habitat for Humanity to think about how they can go even further to meet their Corporate Social Responsibility goals.  For example, they are looking at working with local contractors to divert even more waste from landfill, they are planning to hold community clean up events, and they have big ambitions to be able to provide more affordable homes for local families than ever before.

Habitat for Humanity has a busy few years ahead of them with home builds planned for the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo and will hopefully be expanding into other parts of the Mid-Island region. They would like to welcome more volunteers into our ReStores and onto our Build Sites and keep connecting with communities at local events.

Check out their website at www.habitatmvi.org, like them on Facebook at Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island, or follow them on Instagram at @habitatmvi!

Click here to download PDF!

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Nanaimo Chamber Announces Federal Election Candidates’ Forum

NANAIMO – September 11, 2019

NANAIMO CHAMBER ANNOUNCES FEDERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES’ FORUM

The Nanaimo Chamber announces it will be holding a Candidates Forum for the October 21 federal election announced today.

“We now have confirmation from the four candidates that will be attending,” according to Kim Smythe, Chamber CEO, “This would include Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; and current Member of Parliament Paul Manly of the Green Party. Ian Holmes of Nanaimo News Now will moderate.”

The Forum will be held in Beban Park Social Centre on Thursday, October 10 with the doors opening for a Candidate Meet and Greet at 5:30 pm. The debate among the candidates will begin at 7:00 pm. Questions will be accepted in advance at info@nanaimochamber.bc.ca and during the event. The event will be live-streamed.

Smythe continued, “The cost of these events continues to be a challenge for the Chamber so we’re very appreciative of the financial support offered by Vancouver Island University, Canadian Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Federal Retirees plus our media supporters”.

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For more information:

KIM SMYTHE: 250-756-1191

Click here to download PDF.

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best Mid-Size Business

Living Better Starts Here

Alair is a Custom Contracting Company that offer its clients, partners, trade partners, and employees a unique, high quality, and fully transparent experience.  The result of each project is a beautiful, custom-built, and expertly crafted home.  More importantly, Alair delivers a positive experience with life-changing results.

Alair was thrilled to have won the award.  “We’re very flattered to receive the award and its recognition is of great help in standing out in a very competitive industry.”  Acknowledging the competition of custom contractors here in Nanaimo, winning the award is bringing a new light to them

One thing Alair Homes is looking forward to in the future is help improve peoples lives through home happiness. They feel they are in “the human life improvement business and not the construction industry.”  They operate with the viewpoint that their greatest competitive advantage lies with the personal relationships formed between all team members across Alair.

Check out their website at www.alairhomes.ca/nanaimo, like them on Facebook at Alair Homes Nanaimo, or follow them on Instagram at @alairhomesnanaimo!

Click here to download PDF.

 

 

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best Restaurant

The Mahle House Restaurant is a second generation locally owned business in the semi-rural community of Cedar.  They are a casual fine dining establishment specializing in creating outstanding guest memories.  Situated in a charming 1904 home originally built as a farm house their tables are hand made and each are individually unique, crafted from timbers from an old sawmill and built less than 300 yards from our door by a local artisan.

What sets The Mahle House apart from most Nanaimo restaurants is their approach to ‘farm to fork’.  While they do support the local farming community, The Mahle House does rely on their own farm for the majority of the produce they use.  They have over 2000 square feet of planted garden beds and a variety of vegetables and herbs. In recent years they have also added pigs to the farm and raise a few heritage animals that feature heavily in our charcuterie program.  It really gives them “a sense of pride to be able to serve [their] guests with bounty that [they] have produced ourselves.”

Winning the Nanaimo Chamber Award has helped to elevate their profile in the community and to increase awareness about who The Mahle House is and what they do.  Desipte being around since 1983 there are still many who have never experienced their hospitality.  This award has certainly encouraged diners to seek them out for the first time.  Next on the horizon for The Mahle House is to make even better use of their ‘farm’.  Each year they learn a little more about where, what, and when to grow.

Check out their website at www.mahlehouse.ca, like them on Facebook at Mahle House Restaurant, check them out on Twitter at @mahlehouse or follow them on Instagram at @mahlehouse!

Click here to download PDF.

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best Not-For-Profit Organization

Loaves and Fishes Food Bank operates a nation leading Food Recovery Program that ensures good food does not end up in the landfill, but instead in the hands of people that can use it.  This program ensures there is an abundance of food for people in need in our community.  Additionally Loaves and Fishes provides food free of charge to over 80 other non-profits and schools.

Loaves and Fishes is “honoured that [their] hard work and dedication to serving the most vulnerable in our community has been recognized by the Chamber of Commerce.”  Their work has also been recognized within the community.   This honour has helped draw attention to the work we do and the positive impact it is having on people’s lives.

Looking to the future, Loaves and Fishes is hoping to bring on more grocery store partners.  In doing this they hope to increase the amount of food available in the community.  They are also looking at starting up additional locations where people can access food.

Check out their website at www.nanaimoloavesandfishes.org, like them on Facebook at Nanaimo Loaves & Fishes Community Food Bank, or follow them on Twitter at @nanaimofoodbank!

Click here to download the PDF.