OLDS — The Tire Shop is the 2023 Business of the Year.
Owner Aaron Laviotte received that award during the annual Olds & District Chamber of Commerce Business Awards banquet, held Oct. 19 in the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #105.
The award was one of nine handed out during the evening.
The President’s Award, the only one announced before the awards, was presented to Hildebrand Motors.
Evergreen Wellness was named the Best New Business of the Year.
The People’s Choice Award went to Chubbs Eats. The Exceptional Customer Service Award went to Keith Klinck of Hildebrand Motors.
The Community Spirit For Profit award was presented to The Bowl 5 Pin 10 Pin House and the Kiwanis Club of Olds received the Community Spirit Award in the not-for-profit category.
The Innovation Award was presented to Dream Team Printing and Chelsea Black of Mr. Mike’s was named as the Youth Employee of the Year.
As they have done for years, Brian Hepp and Melanie Hepp of CAB-K introduced award finalists. They announced recently that they’ve sold their business.
Murray Elliott, chair of the Business Awards Committee, thanked the Hepps for the many years they’ve introduced nominees and expressed hope they’ll remain in the community.
Brian paid tribute to The Tire Shop.
"Owner Aaron Laviolette goes above and beyond,” Hepp said.
“The nominee included a story of a customer who came into The Tire Shop who was stranded in Olds, needing a tire repaired.
“Aaron didn’t have the correct tire in stock, so he took the tire off his own vehicle and put it on his customer’s vehicle so he was able to carry on his journey.
“This customer later came back to thank Aaron and brought him a gift card to a local restaurant.”
Laviolette thanked his employees for all their hard work.
He noted that 10 years ago, his business won a couple of awards, including Business of the Year. “Full circle,” he said.
Ed Hildebrand of Hildebrand Motors accepted the President’s Award on behalf of Paul Hildebrand who was unable to be present.
“I’ve actually known Ed Hildebrand as well as his son Paul for quite a few years now, and they have always been one of the first ones to step in our community to help out with all sorts of projects,” Olds & District Chamber of Commerce President Doug Rieberger said.
“It’s fantastic, we appreciate it very much,” Ed Hildebrand said.
“We love the community and we certainly love to sponsor it.
“The award really is a dealership award. Without our staff, without our customers, we would not be here receiving anything.”
Brian Hepp said Evergreen Wellness owner/counsellor Megan Logan started her business because she “heard and experienced the frustration of having to go to multiple different places to have wellness issues taken care of.”
He said since then, her team has grown to seven wellness workers offering counselling, life coaching and yoga services.
He said she is planning to add other services, including massage, physio, chiropractic and more in the future.
Logan thanked her staff.
“Without them, this would not be possible,” she said.
“They all took a little bit of a leap of faith with me in joining me in this endeavour and I just can’t wait for us to continue to grow.
“So stay posted, we’ve got lots of change coming and we’re really excited.”
Brian said Innovation Award winner Dream Team Printing has been in business since 2022.
He described them as being “built on creativity,” producing many customized products.
“They provide unique ideas to help their clients see their concepts come to life,” he said, noting one example of that is creating vinyl wallpaper.
Tymara Reinhart of Dream Team Printing accepted the award on behalf of the company and thanked the chamber for choosing them.
“As a new business in this community, we have been embraced with open arms,” she said.
“It’s been absolutely fabulous, our business hasn’t skipped a beat and yeah, we couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative of this award.”
Brian said People’s Choice winner Chubbs Eats have great food.
“Their staff has always been very bright and welcoming. They offer local products. They are active in the community,” he said.
Melanie Hepp said the The Bowl 5 Pin 10 Pin House, winner of the Community Spirit For Profit award, have been strong supporters of the community.
“They’ve been providing entertainment for all sectors of the community, most especially Special Olympics,” she said. “Many athletes have gone on to compete provincially, nationally and internationally.”
She noted that support has included the Shaggin’ In The Snow ball tournament, which has raised between $3,000 and $5,000 annually for Special Olympics.
Bridget Ryan and Holly Warner of The Bowl 5 Pin 10 Pin House accepted the award.
“We would just like to say thank you for this unexpected but very appreciated honour,” Ryan said.
“This award means a lot to all the staff at the lanes and thank you again and we hope to see everybody come bowling.”
Brian Hepp said the Kiwanis Club of Olds, winner of the Community spirit Award Not for Profit award, supports many local initiatives and events in the community with a focus on family and children.
“The list of different groups and organizations that the club has supported over the years is endless,” he said, noting they also “play a key role” in the Kiwanis Music Festival which promotes excellence in music and speech arts.
Exceptional Service award winner Keith Klinck was unable to attend the event. Ed Hildebrand accepted it on his behalf.
Brian described Youth Employee of the Year Chelsea Black as “the hostess with the mostest.”
“She’s cheerful and always willing to help everyone she works with,” he said.
“She’s an amazing human being who has adopted a rescue pup, captained her U15 volleyball team to the finals and helped fundraise for the trip to the finals in Regina.
“The staff at Mr. Mikes can’t wait until Chelsea turns 18. They know she will be an amazing server to her guests.”
Unfortunately, Black was unable to be present to accept her award.
In his speech to the crowd, Rieberger said the Small Business Awards are a chance celebrate all businesses in town.
He said they’re the “economic driver of not only our local area, but Alberta and Canada” and support the community by sponsoring many local groups and organizations.
Town of Olds Mayor Judy Dahl also addressed the crowd, noting that the theme for the evening was Bring Out Your Best.
Dahl thanked and praised local businesses and organizations for sticking it out in the face of some major challenges in the Alberta and global economies.
“Indeed this is a Bring Out Your Best event to show our appreciation,” Dahl said.
“We applaud the achievements and the growth all businesses and acknowledge that you are – and we are serious -- you are the frontline connection to the people in this community.
“Thank you for being you and thank you for being here.”