Chemainus marks best and brightest in business

The presentation of the prestigious President’s Award to Ron Neubauer was a highlight at the 2014 Golden Brush Awards Saturday, Nov. 29 at the Chemainus Seniors Centre.

The awards recognize excellence in businesses and individuals, particularly those that contribute to the community. Nominations are accepted from anyone in the community, and the Chamber members select who should receive the awards in each category.

This year there were over 260 nominations in nine categories. The tenth category, the President’s Award, is chosen by the Chamber president with input from the board of directors.

The award is given annually to a special person in the community whose efforts somehow don’t fit into any of the Golden Brush categories, and Neubauer took it home for 2014.

"When the board got to discussing who they should give the award to this year a lot of names came up but when they got to his, it became, ‘Yeah, that’s the guy we should recognize for what he does’," said Chamber spokesperson Jeanne Ross.

Neubauer was described during the presentation of the award Saturday as "one of those individuals whose contributions go largely unacknowledged most of the time."

A resident of Chemainus for more than 30 years, Neubauer is known as "an incredibly hard worker and an outstanding family man," said those acknowledging his service.

In past years "he was a key person in hanging and looking after the beautiful flower baskets that Chemainus is so proud of every summer."

Neubauer is the supervisor for the 49th Parallel’s stores in Chemainus and Duncan but he has also found time to play a key role in the distribution of Christmas hampers, and in recent years he has been the driving force in raising funds for the annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock.

Largely through his efforts, more than $57,000 has been donated from his area to Cops for Cancer; $10,000 this year alone.

Among the other Golden Brush awards, Chemainus Foods took the Good Neighbour Award, learning as they did so that the community thinks "the staff at this long established downtown grocery store is always helpful, with special attention paid to seniors."

The store was also praised for helping the food bank and other organizations.

Food Service Business of the Year went to Willow Street Café and Bound to be Different won Retail Business of the Year.

The Manufacturing Business of the Year award went to Thermoproof Windows and Doors.

Tim Openshaw Contracting was chosen as Trades Person or Contractor of the Year and the Professional Service Business of the Year was the Chemainus Valley Courier.

The Personal Service Business of the Year went to Doc the Barber.

Customer Service winners were Debra Young and Teresa Davies of Twisted Sisters Tea Room.

Nominators said, "Teresa and Debra have been in business for about a decade now. And boy have they got the hang of it. Great customer service; they remember everyone’s name and what the customers like to order. Everyone’s a regular at Twisted

Sisters." The Volunteer of the Year was Karen Hopkins, described as "a driving force in the Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society – those are the folks that bring us Music in the Park on Tuesday nights throughout the summer as well as several great festivals."

The unassuming Hopkins also works hard for the Little Town Christmas committee and helps out at Neighbourhood House.

Ross said that this year’s Golden Brush awards drew more than 260 nominations.

"For little Chemainus, that’s doing well," she said.

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