A Rossland business won the Business of the Year Award at the Business Excellence Awards Gala in Trail on Saturday night.
The Trail & District Chamber of Commerce dropped a bit of a bombshell when its president, Doug Jones, announced a secret 11th award at the end of the gala’s award ceremony and awarded Business of the Year to Alicia Gray of Bombshack Apparel.
The announcement came after the first two courses of a four-course meal prepared by Rossland chef John Premier had been served, and attendees had already started driving up the bids at the sold-out event’s silent auction. Earlier in the evening, attendees also had the chance to vote on the winners of the Business Excellence Awards, selecting from a list of five finalists in each 1o categories.
“I’ve been with the Trail & District Chamber of Commerce for a year, and I have to say that choosing the top 50 businesses is the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far,” said Audry Durham, executive director of the chamber. “We had over 400 nominations for 150 businesses and then we had to whittle that down to 50.”
But the final award of the evening never appeared on the ballot. Jones said that the award was given to Gray because she’d received more individual nominations than any other business — a whopping 50. Gray was both surprised and honoured by the award.
“It was a surprise in all ways,” she said. “Everyone has been super supportive.”
Gray opened Bombshack Apparel — a children’s clothing store — six months ago, and so far the response from not just Rossland, but surrounding communities, has been strong. “It was a need and not a want,” said Gray. “People are excited that I’m here, but it was something that we really needed, like kids clothes. People come in from even Crescent Valley and Slocan, and all the way from Grand Forks. It’s been awesome.” Gray said she’s even had some customers come from as far as Colville, Wash.
The gala was an opportunity for local business owners to mix and mingle, and to acknowledge some of the local entrepreneurs who have grown the business community in Rossland, Trail and the surrounding area.
Retail Award — Valley Firearms
Professional Service Award — Fair Realty
Customer Service Award — Warfield Fas Gas Plus
Community Impact Award — incrEDIBLE trail
Go Green Award — Hall Printing
Tourism Award — Columbia Gardens Vineyard & Winery
Excellence Under 40 Award — Mary and Roger Austin of Austin Engineering
Emerging Entrepreneur Award — David Abenante of Elite Physiotherapy
Business Person the Year Award — Gina Ironmonger of Keystone Appraisals
Employer of the Year Award— Selkirk Security Services
Secret Award: Business of the Year — Bombshack Apparel