The Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce introduced two new awards during last week’s annual general meeting, recognizing the hard work of a local business and a local employee respectively.
The very first Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Island Savings Credit Union, was given to Copper Lane Fashion Boutique, while the Customer Service Employee of the Year, sponsored by Country Grocer, went to Patty Skramstad of the Lake Cowichan IDA Island Pharmacy.
Graeme Service, branch manager of the Lake Cowichan Island Savings, presented the award to Lady of the Lake Crystal Bell in the absence of Corrie Helliwell from Copper Lane, and explained that the criteria for Business of the Year includes a business’s promotion of economic welfare, taking part in community events, and ability to create employment and generate income
“[Copper Lane] has been instrumental in the downtown core understanding the need of a business,” said Service. “They often open their doors on Sunday to help clients do their shopping, always making people feel welcome and comfortable.”
Service pointed to the company’s involvement with community initiatives such as the Lady of the Lake pageant, and said Copper Lane is a business with an “extreme amount of customer service” and is “forever changing” to bring life to the downtown core.
The Customer Service Employee of the Year is given to an employee who consistently offers exceptional customer service, one whose performance and attention to quality workmanship and service goes above and beyond.
“This year’s recipient fits that description perfectly,” said Country Grocer store manager Jennifer Pollner about Skramstad.
“She always serves with a smile and gives extraordinary customer service. She goes out of her way to meet the needs of her customers no matter her work load.”
The chamber also handed out its annual Nichole Stock Community Service Awards to individuals who have shown volunteerism in the lake district on an ongoing basis over the years.
The 2015 recipients were Glenda Osborne-Burg, Kristal and Dustin Mayo and Lola Sinclair. Kristal and Dustin received the award for the many hours they’ve contributed to local sporting events and Kinsman and Kinette activities.
Osborne-Burg has been involved with the chamber since moving to Lake Cowichan and recently took on the role of chairperson for the Lake Economic Activity Development group.
Sinclair has volunteered with the Girl Scouts of Canada for more than 40 years, Branch 210 of the Royal Canadian Legion for more than 10 years and is also involved with the ladies’ auxiliary. Sinclair said receiving an award in the name of Nichole Stock (who died almost 15 years ago from complications after undergoing heart surgery) was particularly touching.
“You know it’s so neat that I got this because [Nicole’s] mother was in Girl Guiding for a few years. And her grandmother was also in Girl Guiding, she was also our secretary,” she said.
Cindy Vaazt and Betty Anne Weberg-Sanddar were named Citizens of the Year for 2015. They received this recognition for their years of volunteer work for the Lake Cowichan Food Bank.