Brad Parsell talks at this year’s Business Awards. (Photo Contributed)

Brad Parsell talks at this year’s Business Awards. (Photo Contributed)

Fernie celebrates entrepreneurship with 2020 Business Awards

Local businesses were applauded for their resiliency and spirit at this year’s event

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 2020 Virtual Business Awards following a ceremony held on Oct. 23.

“In one of the most difficult years for our small and medium businesses, it was important that we paused to celebrate the resilience and outstanding achievements of the individuals and organizations that make Fernie so special,” said Executive Director of the chamber, Brad Parsell.

Recognizing residents that contribute to Fernie’s robust community, the Volunteer of the Year award was received by Ev Eijsermans for her outstanding involvement with a number of organizations including the Women’s Resource Centre, Wapiti Music Society, Fernie Mountain Bike Club, and more recently the Elk Valley Suicide Task Force.

Paying further respect to influential Fernie residents, this year’s Community Leadership Award went to Megan Lohmann.

“Megan is part of the Community Energy Association, so she’s very instrumental,” said Parsell.

“Just last week at the Committee of the Whole meeting she gave a presentation to council about electric vehicles, so she’s really at that cutting edge of pivoting to sustainability.”

Also nominated for her altruism, this year’s Citizen of the Year award went to Lori Bradish.

“Lori has been hugely instrumental in Fernie for years – I can’t even think off the top of my head of somebody more deserving than Lori, she’s touched so many non-profits and events,” said Parsell.

The Chamber Business Legacy award – a life-time achievement award given to a business that has been a member of the chamber for over 10 years – was handed to Giv’Er Shirt Works for their outstanding dedication.

Further honouring Fernie’s business community, Rooftop Coffee Roasters received the New Business of the Year award.

“Having that high-end coffee bar experience in downtown Fernie is a huge asset to the community,” said Parsell.

This year’s Employer of the Year award was received by Spa 901, and Business of the Year was accepted by the Fernie Fox Hotel. The Fernie Fox Hotel also received the People’s Choice Award.

In an effort to shed light on non-profits, Tourism Fernie received the Spirit of Fernie Award, who among other achievements launched an extensive Tourism Master Plan this past month.

Furthermore, the Team of the Year award was handed to The Chopstick Truck, and the Fernie RV Resort received the Community Tourism Award.

“What’s great about the RV resort is how they’ve refined their model as time has gone on, opening the adventure centre,” said Parsell, adding that the RV Resort fills an essential void in Fernie.

“It’s really become a hub down there for adventure tourism.”

Continuing to acknowledge businesses that go above and beyond for their clients, the Outstanding Customer Service Award was given to the Fernie Home Hardware Building Centre, and Fernie Catering Co. was celebrated by receiving the Entrepreneur of the Year award for their ability to successfully pivot their business throughout the pandemic.