The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce found a unique way to ensure local businesses’ hard work was recognized this year.
Like many other events, the annual Business Excellence Awards were impacted by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. So, this year voting and presentations moved online. And instead of a juried selection process, the Chamber partnered with the Sooke News Mirror to offer online voting.
The awards were announced Tuesday night.
“I’m pleased with the process, and I’m pleased with the amount of engagement,” said Britt Santowski, the chamber’s executive director, adding more than 3,000 online votes were recorded this year.
“I’m always surprised by the results.”
The 2020 Business of the Year was awarded to Castle Liquor Store.
“I think it’s really awesome because we’ve been in operation for such a long time, and we’ve never been nominated,” said Lisa Taylor, the company owner. “This is a pretty exciting year for us.”
Castle Liquor Store has operated in Sooke for more than 54 years, first as a pub and adding the liquor store in 1986.
This year, Taylor said her customers appeared to be grateful for many of the pandemic protocols the company put in place, from creating a website to curbside pick up.
Lainey Rae, Goldsmith, won New Business of the Year.
“It’s overwhelming exciting,” said owner Lainey Rae. “It’s a huge surprise to me.”
Lainey Rae, Goldsmith, opened in East Sooke last June and offers goldsmith and other metalwork.
The award winners include:
• Business of the Year – 1. The Castle Liquor Store; 2. Sheringham Distillery; 3. Cathy’s Corner Cafe.
• Dining and Hospitality – 1. Cathy’s Corner Cafe; 2. Route 14 Sooke; 3. Shirley Delicious.
• Home-Based Business – 1. Meanwhile in Sooke; 2. Sooke PocketNews; 3. Whiffin Spit Wellness.
• Manufacturing and Industry – 1. Sheringham Distillery; 2. Cathy’s Corner Cafe; 3. Sooke Brewing Company.
• New Business of the Year – 1. Lainey Rae Goldsmith; 2. Sooke Yarn and Fabric; 3. Collar & Comb Pet Grooming.
• Not for Profit and Volunteering – 1. Sooke Food Bank Society; 2. Amber Academy Youth Fine Arts Society; 3. Sooke Family Resource Society Thrift Store.
• Pandemic Pivot Award – 1. Westcoast Family Medical Clinic; 2. Riverside Cannabis; 3. The Stick in the Mud Coffeehouse.
• Professional Services – 1. A Sea of Bloom; 2. Collar & Comb Pet Grooming; 3. Otter Point Veterinary Hospital; 4. Sooke Veterinary Hospital.
• Retail and Services – 1. The Stick in the Mud Coffeehouse; 2. The Artisan’s Garden; 3. Bosley’s Sooke.
• Trades and Skilled Labour – 1. Len Banner Construction Sooke; 2. 24/7 Electric; 3. Dumont Tirecraft; 3. West Shack Auto Service.
The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce has 150 members. In 2021, the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce will be celebrating 73 years.