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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.

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best Large Business

Harmac Pacific is a green power generating facility and a 400,000 metric tonnes per year of Northern Bleached Kraft Pulp business.  Their products are 100% produced from regional sawmill and timber harvesting waste.  Their wood pulp is sold all over the world to produce high quality paper, packaging, and other materials essential to supporting a healthy and educated society.

Harmac Pacific makes unique products but what really sets it apart from the competition is the ownership structure since 2008.  The 340 employees own one-quarter of the company, are represented on the board of directors, and directly share in the financial success of the business.  Harmac’s employees are highly motivated to perform their best all the time.  The other shareholders in the business are committed to long-term success, demonstrating this through supporting the reinvestment of $200 million since 2008.

Among Harmac’s employees, winning the award rekindles the feeling of pride and power in their business model. It has also helped draw attention from other businesses looking to partner with them in synergistic ways.  Harmac Pacific continues to invest in its long-term future with an eye on improving competitiveness through ongoing equipment upgrades and strategic acquisitions.

To learn more about Harman Pacific and what they do in our community visit their website at www.harmacpacific.com.

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The ‘Greening’ of Business in Nanaimo

Our new City Council has taken some major steps toward Nanaimo evolving as a community firmly committed to a ‘greener’ future.  Following Council’s declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ in April, they have begun adopting policies that reflect shifting municipal philosophies to address some of the elements of human-influenced climate change.

They’ve made changes to city planning to increase our community’s walkability while appealing to the province for more transit hours to create the greatest single expansion of public transit service in our history. City staff are working on recommendations to Council on ways to regulate single use consumer plastic bags. We’ve long been targeting ‘zero waste’ in attempts to divert as much as possible from our landfill and extend its life while also encouraging citizens to reduce their water and energy use. As much as legislated actions will help minimize climate change, we need to strike initiatives on our own in our businesses and our homes.

Committing to a major shift in our thinking and practices is vital to extending our lease on this planet. This longer lease will give us more time to figure out how to balance, or more fully integrate, environmental concerns with a heathy and strong economy for the future. Rather than looking at managing climate change as an expense, business needs to look at the opportunities to create efficiencies through enhanced energy management, waste diversion, reduction and reuse activities, and other green initiatives.

Seeking out potential business opportunities in this new economy is paramount in unison with the motive of saving money and protecting the planet for future generations. Businesses are doing this in a wide and diverse manner. There are a number of local businesses either operating, expanding or planning on opening to serve new markets created by this ‘green’ shift in our thinking and actions. The term coined to describe this approach is ‘the circular economy’. Take a look around and see where what actions you’re taking and how you’re impacted by this emerging economy.

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best New Business

Live·Laugh·Eat/Repeat

Famous Franks, the winner of the New Business Award in the 2019 Nanaimo Business Awards, is a small, local business that sells comfort food fast and fresh.  You can find them located at Nanaimo Northtown Centre beside Canadian Tire most days, at events across Vancouver Island, and at the Commercial Street Night Market on Thursday nights throughout the summer.

Famous Franks strives to provide their customers with the freshest ingredients.  They also are big supports of other local businesses such as Cobs, who provides all their fresh baked buns.  Their goal is to bring you comfort food made fresh in minutes.

Their chef, Tao Breese, is “a bombastic man with charisma and an explosive personality” who “enjoy[s] meeting new people, learning new things, and keeping people happy.”

Famous Franks is honoured to have been recognized by the community as the Best New Business in Nanaimo in 2019.  To them, the awards shows the hark work and dedication they have put in over the last few years to realize their dream of “bringing comfort food to Nanaimo in minutes.”  Since winning the award there are plans in the works to expand their menu and add another food truck to better serve Vancouver Island.

Check out their website at famousfranks.ca, like them on Facebook at Famous Franks Nanaimo, or follow them on Instagram at @famousfranks!

Click here to download PDF.

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Developing Nanaimo’s Economy

Nanaimo’s economy arrived at a ‘sweet spot’ over the last 18 months allowing the business community to boast its lowest unemployment rate in decades and a healthy, growing GDP. Our population is noted to have passed the 100,000 mark evidenced by the release of 2016 census data. We’re seeing signs of that growth in burgeoning building and development statistics.

2019 will go on record as having the highest value of building permits issued in the city’s history. The work to keep pace with demand on real estate partially fuels the growing economy, as much as the people moving here create new business. Major projects by the Port of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island University and the growth of the health care community are some of the major moves.

It’s the perfect time for Nanaimo to take on new endeavours in managing this growth and targeting specific sectors and industries to harness future prosperity. Economic development generates wealth and provides opportunities across the socio-economic spectrum enhancing the quality of life for the whole population.

Targeting economic development efforts at the kind of businesses we want to see grow in Nanaimo is vital to managing a healthy future for ourselves, our kids and grandkids. Aiming our sights on clean, green businesses that employ numbers of people in family-sustaining careers is an obvious goal, and preparing our community to welcome, support, and retain these kinds of businesses is essential to economic development.

Nanaimo is embarking on new economic development initiatives. After a rocky experience with its municipal corporation – the NEDC—City Council is identifying new ways to manage the future. Actions are currently underway that will see a much more active role by Council, civil servants, community economic development stakeholders like the Chamber to take advantage of this ‘sweet spot’.

Now is the time to direct actions and investments towards attracting business outside of our community to consider Nanaimo for entrepreneurial startups, relocation of established businesses and expansion of those already in place. Nanaimo’s new economic development activities are destined to do just that.