Wayne Guy remembers his first Yellowknife paycheque.
He went to to Roy’s Audio Visual and bought the loudest stereo he could find.
The owner of Guy Architects is now linked to Roy’s in more ways than one, as they shared the stage at the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards gala Oct. 25.
Guy took home the first-ever Innovation Award.
“That’s what business is about, it’s about those types of experiences,” Guy said of his stereo shopping trip. “Without all of you in this room contributing to the quality of life in the city and the territory, this would be a far paler place to live and work.”
In all, there were 11 awards handed out this year in all.
“From start-ups to local legends, the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards shine a light on our vibrant business community and the outstanding contributions of local businesses,” said Deneen Everett, executive director of the chamber.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff – congratulations to all of the nominees and award winners.”
The Small Business of the Year Award went to Tom & Jer Catering, with Breakout New Business Award going to Barren Ground Coffee, and the Community Impact award going to The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy.
“When you look at the nominees tonight, not only are they creating jobs and growing the economy, they are making Yellowknife a richer place to live,” said Tracy St. Denis, board member of the Business Development Investment Corporation, delivering the Break Out New Business award to Barren Ground Coffee.
“Thank you for enjoying our coffee and thanks for being addicted to caffeine,” said Binion, co-founder of Barren Ground Coffee. “I want to think Yellowknife and the territory who helped us out in the beginning, especially retailing and sale.
He went on the thank the Co-op, the Copper House and Yellowknife’s other small businesses for supporting their coffee in the beginning and said they wouldn’t be there without them.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year went to Kyle Thomas for his business, With Media. He’s also the president of the chamber.
“When I went full time with With Media, I did it to serve small businesses and that is what continues to drive me to do this every day,” said Thomas.
“Everyday this community pushes me to do better, to be better and encourages me to grow with their businesses whether new or old.”
The Corporate Business of the Year went to Northland Utilities, Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Award went to Wallbridge Law Office.
Northland Utilities’ Darin Smith presented Wallbridge Law Office with the award saying all nominees truly met the definition of entrepreneur and worked to improve the lives of northerners with commitment and leadership.
Garth Wallbridge, who accepted the award, said it was a great honour to be recognized. Wallbridge went on to praise Roy’s Audio Video and other Yellowknife businesses who he’s had dealings with over the years.
“Many of us in this room work with each other and I’m glad to be a part of this business community,” said Wallbridge.
Workplace Health and safety award went to Gahcho Kue Mine and the Customer Service Award of Excellence went to Roy’s Audio Video Unlimited.
“Small business is the lifeblood of the community and I wouldn’t be here without my partner Maureen,” said Roy Williams, owner of Roy’s Audio Video Unlimited.
“Daily, I’m reminded by the odd customer of everything we get wrong and you’ve made me realize we actually get one or two things right,” said Maureen Crotty-Williams.
Taken largely by surprise that evening was Angela Gzowski who, while working the gala, won the Trailblazers Women in Business Award with her business Angela Gzowski Photography.
“I really wasn’t expecting this,” Gzowski said.
“It’s really important to bring out the small businesses and the self-employed people out of their habitat at home and come out with everyone else. I’d like to thank Yellowknife for not only supporting me as a business woman but also as an artist. It can be a struggle to balance business and creativity so I am grateful for the support.”