Home » Award Finalists Participate in Friendly Challenge to Benefit Local Charities

Award Finalists Participate in Friendly Challenge to Benefit Local Charities

by Shanine Sealey

The Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce has been celebrating local businesses by hosting the Business Excellence Awards, formally known as WMBEXA, for the past seven years. Each year, local individuals are encouraged to nominate their favorite businesses for a variety of categories. From there, businesses can fill out an application form for the categories they wish to participate in and after judges go through each application, five finalists are chosen for each category. This year, the award categories are: Non-Profit, Community Involvement, Customer Service, Business Marketing, Employer of the Year, New Business of the Year and Business of the Year.

Earlier this month, the finalists for each category were announced and since then, some of the finalists for Business of the Year decided to participate in a friendly wager, all to benefit charity.

This idea began after Tyler Dagenais, co-owner/Manager of Prairie ICF contacted Chad Zacharias, co-owner of Zak’s Home Hardware in Warman with a challenge. Since both businesses were finalists in the same category, the winning company will have a donation made to a charity of their choosing. If Prairie ICF wins, Zak’s will be donating to their chosen charity – Martensville Community Recreation Project (MCRP), and if Zak’s wins, Prairie ICF will donate $1000 to the Warman Food Bank. If neither company wins, the full pot will be donated to charity.

“Prairie ICF and Zak’s have worked together on countless projects over the past several years. Given that we were both finalists for this award, we agreed that this would be a great way to highlight both this event and the Chamber of Commerce, all while helping a worthy cause,” Dagenais explained.

The two businesses decided to see if other finalists wanted to participate in the challenge as well, and now have Legends Pharmacy and Lakeview Insurance on board as well.

For both Prairie ICF and Zak’s Home Hardware, giving back to their communities is a top priority, as the support received from their customers is what keeps them thriving and able to support their team members and local organizations. An example of this at Zak’s is an ongoing ‘Zak’s Donates’ campaign where funds are provided to a variety of community requests. In 2021, over $90,000 was given back to local communities. In addition to this, Zak’s Home Hardware also contributes to many local sports and arts programs, the Warman High School Industrial Arts Program, Secret Santa events, and more. Other unique ways that Zak’s has found to give back to their region is through their ‘Greening our Communities’ where 20% of lumber profits go towards tree planting, as well as free recycling services and a free electric car charging station.

Prairie ICF is also a big believer in giving back to those that support them, both through monetary donations, as well as donations of time, material, and expertise to community events, sports teams, fundraising efforts and more throughout the province. They have also worked with high school and post-secondary programming, as well as on-site training for various non-profit organizations. Additionally, volunteerism is encouraged among staff at Prairie ICF.

Just to be nominated was an honour for these two local businesses, let alone becoming one of the five finalists and both companies expressed their gratitude to the Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce for organizing an event such as this to highlight the local businesses within the region.

“Obviously, the past few years have been challenging for a variety of reasons. Being able to gather and socialize at events such as the upcoming Chamber Awards Night is very exciting, and these experiences bring a feeling of normalcy returning to our professional and personal lives. This Charity Challenge is a great way to highlight not only the finalists and their respective charities, but also this great event and the hard work of the Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce. In our mind, this nomination is recognition for the years of hard work building a small business into a long-term stable company,” Dagenais said.

“We really appreciate the recognition and a big thank you to the Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce. Because this award is determined by multiple elements of our business, such as financial, community involvement, employment standards, customer service, and a clear vision and mission, we are grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate what the Zacharias family strives for on a daily basis. We are a family business, and we believe family is the most important part of life. Each customer is treated like part of our family, where their concerns are ours, and together we tackle projects from start to finish,” Wyatt Zacharias of Zak’s Home Hardware said.

Congratulations to all finalists in each of the categories. Winners will be announced at the Business Excellence Awards, which will be taking place on Saturday, May 7th at the North Ridge Community Centre in Martensville.

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