Finalists named for 2014 Chamber Black Tie Awards

The Valley will fete a galaxy of top business owners, employees and even volunteers at the Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce 2014 Black Tie Awards Saturday, April 5 at Brentwood College.

"They are all very excited about it. And it’s always a lovely group of people," said Elizabeth Croft, the Chamber’s membership and events manager.

"They really are enthusiastic and looking forward to the night. We’re gradually meeting more and more of them in person here, too."

The finalists for business achievement of the year in a company with 20 or more employees are Corinne de Lange (Cowichan Sound & Cellular), Dr. Al Longair (Prevost Veterinary Clinic) and Kelvin McCulloch (Buckerfield’s).

In the category of business achievement for companies with 11-19 employees, the finalists are Peter Watts (Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn), Gord Rumley and Stacey Johnson (Genoa Bay Cafe) and Ivo Zanatta (Matrix Marble) while in the category of one to 10 employees, the finalists are Gerard B. Burg (Gerard’s Specialty Foods), Andrew Higginson (Higginson Consulting) and Lindsey-Lea Mercer (Identity Graphics).

In customer service, the three finalists are Jim Scales (Jimgerbread Cafe), Jeff Downie (Old Firehouse Wine Bar) and Suzie Fortier (Tim Hortons).

In the category of young entrepreneur, the finalists are Sonja Todd (Hilary’s Cheese Co.), Andrea and Daniel Hudson (Hudson’s on First), and Melissa Cottam (Moo’s Pizza).

Art in business is a relatively new category and this year’s finalists are Sandra Greenaway, Eva Trinczek, Margot Page, Clare Carver and Robin Millan (Imagine That Artisans Designs), Anne and Graham Fowle (GBS Glass Blowing) and Gordon Smith (Cowichan Woodwork).

Green businesses are also on the upswing and the Chamber’s finalists for 2014 include: John and Katy Erlich (Alderlea Biodynamic Farm), Nikki MacCallum (Nikki’s Designs) and Dan Armstrong and Karen Hallquist (Velocal Delivery).

In the category of volunteer of the year, the three finalists are David Minkow (Cowichan Kickers Soccer), Tina Phillips (Cowichan Search & Rescue) and MaryAnn Deacon (Cowichan Valley Hospice Society). The gathering will also salute lifetime achievement winner Mike Coleman.

Croft said that the Chamber is delighted to have the chance to hold the event at Crooks Hall at Brentwood College School in Mill Bay this year.

"We’re just so excited about that. It’s such a gorgeous setting and they are stepping up there now at Brentwood. They are trying to hold more community events there," she said.

The elegant Black Tie Awards evening begins at 5:30 p.m. and includes a banquet and a silent auction as well as the awards ceremonies themselves.

Tickets are $89.25 per person. Get them online at or call the Chamber office at 250-748-1111.