SouthamptonOliveOil560Donna and Dave Ruddell of Southampton Olive Oil win Business of the Year at the 2017 BRASS Awards, receiving their award from Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce Vice President, Kate Cammidge-Irwin (left).

Hub Staff

Lakeshore Recreation played host to the Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce 2017 BRASS (Business Recognition Awards Saugeen Shores) Awards Gala June 10. In their finery, local business owners and their guests were greeted with a red carpet arrival to discover who won in each of the five categories.

Starting with a mix and mingle cocktail reception, guests took advantage of photo ops and a chance to bid on a variety of silent auction items, donated by local businesses. The evening’s Master of Ceremonies Pat O’Connor kicked off the evening, welcoming everybody and passing the microphone to local dignitaries.

Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb said that Saugeen Shores is a tremendous area. “It's absolutely amazing, just the changes over the last decade are truly remarkable. It’s geared by a lot of things but certainly the small- and medium-sized businesses that are here tonight, you really fuel that growth and you really made Port Elgin and Southampton the place it is to live,” he said.

Due to a prior engagement, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson was not in attendance but sent along her congratulations to winners and nominees. “In today's world, in today's economy, it's especially encouraging to see many remarkable achievements at the local level,” she wrote.

Mayor Mike Smith said there was great opportunity in Saugeen Shores. “It’s really great to see us recognize our community and the people that are working so hard to make our community a great community,” he said. “This town right now, there is a buzz about it, there is a great interest in it and I look around and I see a lot of young people, young businesses and it's great to see.”

Chamber President Pier Donnini said that the businesses that make up the Chamber of Commerce are the fabric of our community. “Walking down the street being able to shop, being able to eat, being able to find good services enrich our community and everyone here is part of that,” he said.

Ralph Hornsby of Ralph’s Hi-Way Shopette was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Saugeen Shores and the business community.

See: Ralph’s founder honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award

Following dinner, ahead of the awards, a live auction was conducted and an update on the activities at Bruce Power was given by Vice President of Corporate Affairs, James Scongack.

Joanne Robbins, Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce General Manager. said she had a love/hate relationship with the BRASS Awards. “As the general manager I think everybody deserves one and when I talk to other general managers they feel the same way...the fact that there's only one winner is heartbreaking,” she said.

Aunt Mabels Country Kitchen & Motel, Carey Optical and South Stables Coffee House were the three finalists for Service Excellence of the Year, with Carey Optical in Port Elgin taking the award. Owners, Paul and Laurie Carey accepted their award from Port Elgin Meridian Credit Union Branch Manager, Richard Huizinga. “We are both very excited, very ecstatic,” said Paul Carey. “We love helping our customers to the best of our ability and their ability.”

The Young Professional of the Year went to Dr. Laura Solway and Dr. Hélène Niesing, owners of Port Elgin Chiropractic & Wellness Centre, taking the award over finalists The Spa Room and Na'Hoola Spa. “I think it kind of validates all the time and the effort we've put into the practice, kind of just gives you that extra push to be, yeah we're actually doing a good job and succeeding and contributing to the community,” said Niesing.

Bruce County Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic took the award for Professional Service Business of the Year. Winning over Judy Rich Barrister and Solicitor and MacKay Family Dental, physiotherapist and owner Ron Moss said he was amazed. “It's such an honour to win that award, really,” he said, adding that he had never been to a BRASS awards ceremony before. “It's such an enjoyable night, I can’t believe I've never come before so I'm glad that I was actually nominated so that I would come because now I'm going to come every year. I think it's wonderful.”

The Walker House in Southampton won Employer of Year, winning over The Elk & Finch. O’Connor accepted the award on their behalf and read a letter from owner, Mary Putnam who explained that they were unable to attend due to a prior commitment. “It is our goal to ensure that there's a culture of togetherness and support for one another in our team with an ultimate focus on ensuring an exceptional guest experience,” the emcee read.

The final award for the evening, Business of the Year, had Seaman and Sons Builders, Southampton Olive Oil Company and The Queen's Bar & Grill in the running with Southampton Olive Oil taking the title. “It was an honour to be nominated and it's a real honour to get recognition for what we put out,” said owner, Donna Ruddell praising their staff. Owner Dave Ruddell said that it was all about interaction with their customers. “Our staff have all learned from us how to interact and get along with the customer. It's just worked out really well for us,” he said, adding that they were always thinking of new, innovative ways of doing things.

Following the announcements, champagne was handed out to all guest as they toasted the 2017 BRASS Award winners.

Carey Optical560Carey Optical were the winners of the Service Excellence of the Year Award. Pictured, Richard Huizinga (centre) Port Elgin Meridian Credit Union Branch Manager presented the award to Carey Optical’s Lorie (left) and Paul Carey.

PortElginChiro560Port Elgin Chiropractic & Wellness Centre received the Young Professional Services Business of the Year. Left to right, Port Elgin TD Canada Trust Branch Manager Sandi Jasper, Dr. Hélène Niesing and Dr. Laura Solway, owners of Port Elgin Chiropractic and TD Canada Trust Account Business Manager Sheila Beddows.

BruceCountyPhysio560Connie and Ron Moss of Bruce County Physiotherapy accept their award from Ontario Power Generation Corporate Relations and Communications Manager, Fred Kuntz.

Guests560Guests sit down to enjoy their evening at the 2017 BRASS Awards, held June 10 at Lakeshore Recreation.