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Chamber Hosting Annual Awards Gala Virtually Due to COVID-19

by Shanine Sealey

This March, the Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce was preparing to announce the finalists for this year’s Warman, Martensville & Region Business Excellence Awards (WMBEXA), when they were forced to pause planning the event due to an economic shutdown because of COVID-19. “At that time, we felt that we played a better role by being there to assist businesses through the COVID challenges. Businesses weren’t in the mindset to celebrate and instead were in survival mode,” Jaimie Malmgren, PSCC Executive Director explained.

Now, six months later with businesses re-opened, the PSCC decided that it was time to focus on some positive news and announced the finalists on Thursday, September 3rd virtually. “I think now, it is even more of a time to celebrate being a business owner. We have seen businesses adapt to stay alive and there have been some really inspiring stories that we have seen from our local businesses, so we felt that they were ready for us to move forward with this,” Malmgren added.

Due to restrictions that are currently in place regarding mass gatherings, the winners of the awards will be announced during a virtual WMBEXA gala, taking place on October 29th at 7pm. The event was originally scheduled for May 2, 2020.

The thought of cancelling the event all-together was definitely on the table; however, Malmgren noted that the WMBEXA organizing committee felt that they needed to recognize the businesses that put so much time and effort into their applications. “We are not alone in this. There are Chambers across North America going through the same challenges and have found ways to move forward. We hope that next year, we can return to the in-person gala, but this is the next best thing.”

The PSCC partnered with Aspen Films for WMBEXA, who will be handling the videography and logistics for the event. “It won’t be your typical Zoom call, but rather a production. We are encouraging businesses to have home parties and gather their staff and family to come together to celebrate this event,” Malmgren said.

Those interested in participating can purchase at home party packs, which will include an assortment of appetizers, desserts, wine and more. You can also purchase individual tickets in order to receive the access code to view the event.
Although some changes were necessary, Malmgren stated that they are still going to keep things as similar as possible with video vignettes of all the finalists and have the presenting sponsors announcing the winners. “It is going to be different, but we are really excited about this. We are hoping that people still embrace it as they did before, because we have always had such a strong turnout.”

While we have all seen changes in our lives since COVID-19, events such as this one prove what can be done when people come together. Malmgren noted that none of their sponsors backed out for WMBEXA and that without them, this event would not be possible. “Even though things were up in the air, all of our sponsors have been accommodating to what we have had to do to pivot this year’s awards gala. We are so incredibly grateful.”

If you are interested in purchasing a party basket, or a ticket to watch the virtual WMBEXA gala, visit www.prairieskychamber.ca for more information.

Congratulations to the 2020 WMBEXA Finalists

Non-Profit of the Year – sponsored by The Wireless Age
Martensville Lions
Prairie Spirit Schools Foundation
Route 11 Creative Arts Centre
Warman Childcare Centre
Warman Collective Garden

Community Involvement – sponsored by SaskTel
Legends Pharmacy
PAWS Republic
Soul Power Fitness
Upstage Dance Studio

Customer Service – sponsored by Kessler Insurance
Aqua Temp Plumbing & Heating Solutions
The Medicine Shoppe
Warman Small Animal Hospital
Zak’s Home Hardware – Warman

New Business – sponsored by Warman Small Animal Hospital
Awasis Boutique
Tammy’s Training Canine Services
Upstage Dance Studio

Employer of the Year – sponsored by WorkSafe Saskatchewan
Aqua Temp Plumbing & Heating Solutions
Canalta Hotel
Lakeview Insurance
Laskowski & Wright LLP
Martensville Plumbing & Heating

Micro Enterprise of the Year – sponsored by bdc
Evermore Homes
Hawk’s Nest Studio
McDowell Martial Arts
Nourish Natural Health Food Store
Team Iron Elles Personal Training

Business of the Year – sponsored by Martensville Plumbing & Heating
Laskowski & Wright LLP
Lakeview Insurance
Shercom Industries
Warman Physiotherapy & Wellness
Warman Small Animal Hospital

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