Cranbrook’s ‘Evening of Excellence’ Business awards sees 14 winners

A new category—Excellence in Arts—was added to this year’s event.

Aleitha Harvey and partner holding Business Excellence awards.

A double award win! Ella's Restaurant took home a Business of the Year award and owner, Aleitha Harvey, was recognized as Business Person of the Year. — Photo courtesy Ella's Restaurant/Facebook

It’s a record! The 2023 Cranbrook Business Excellence Awards were officially the largest celebration in the event’s 31-year history. Hosted by the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce, the annual gala was held earlier this year on October 27.

Also new this year was the addition of an extra category—Excellence in Arts. All told, there were 14 award recipients in total, with 85 nominees. Key City Theatre was the venue for this year’s celebration extravaganza, with Jason Wheeldon and Kaytee Sharun acting as MC’s for the event.

Read on to learn more about the winners of this year’s Business Excellence Awards:

New Business of the Year: Morchella Market

By nurturing a positive, fun and vibrant atmosphere at this organic grocery store, Rebekah and Mike—the young owners of Morchella Market—have hit upon a winning combination. Fresh, local produce, unique items and products, enticing food and drink options and a commitment to sustainability have made Morchella Market Cranbrook’s newest spot to hang out with friends and family.

Close-up of Morchella Market award.

Cranbrook's organic grocery store, Morchella Market, snagged the New Business of the Year award. — Photo courtesy Morchella Market/Facebook

Business of the Year (1-15 employees): Ella’s Restaurant AND Business Person of the Year - Aleitha Harvey

A tribute to Jamaican cuisine, right here in the East Kootenays! Ella’s Restaurant serves up authentic and unbelievably delicious food, full of rich Caribbean flavours that have customers raving. Since opening in 2020, Ella's has become one of the top spots for foodies in Cranbrook. Exceptional service and a commitment to culinary excellence makes Ella’s a true standout. Congratulations to the entire team! Owner of Ella's, Aleitha Harvey, was recognized for her exceptional business know-how. Opening her restaurant in the midst of a global pandemic, Harvey managed to steer the restaurant to success, even expanding into a larger space to accommodate the growth of the business. 

Business of the Year (16+ employees): Canadian Rockies Landscape Corporation

Creating functional and beautiful landscape designs is the hallmark of Canadian Rockies Landscape Corporation. Utilizing a client-led approach, the company works closely in tandem with their customers to bring individual landscaping visions to life. Led by husband-and-wife team, Darren and Jennifer Krotz, the company partners with many local businesses and charities and is proud to support local beautification and accessibility efforts.

Close-up of Huckleberry Books award and Max the Cat.

The Retailer Excellence award won by Huckleberry Books is Max-the-cat approved. — Photo courtesy Huckleberry Books/Facebook

Retailer Excellence: Huckleberry Books

“Local bookmonger and purveyors of whimsy,” Huckleberry Books is the go-to place for booklovers of every kind. This independent shop carries an ever-changing assortment of curated books, puzzles, games, gifts, greeting cards and more for the constant reader. Their connection to the community is strong, and they regularly partner with other local businesses and organizations to hold fun events like the annual downtown Halloween Trick-or-Treating.

Professional Service Excellence: Tanglefoot Veterinary Services

It’s been a year full of recognition for the hard-working team at Tanglefoot Veterinary Services. In addition to winning the Professional Services award from the Cranbrook Chamber, the business was also named the 2023 Canadian Veterinary Practice of the Year from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. Founded in 2009, the Tanglefoot clinic has grown to include seven veterinarians on staff, as well as a large team of support staff and vet technicians. Tanglefoot provides preventative, surgical and medical care for a full spectrum of four-legged friends, including dogs, cats, rabbits and livestock.

Non-Profit Organization of the Year: Cranbrook Food Bank

Did you know that over 42,000 pounds of food are distributed by the Cranbrook Food Bank Society every month? Headed by a team of passionate, dedicated staff and volunteers, the food bank is a crucial part of the local community and serves thousands of people across the region. Donated, rescued and purchased food is available for anyone in need.

Owners of Life Balance Health & Fitness standing with award.

Life Balance Health & Fitness is a female-oriented gym for women of all ages. — Photo courtesy Life Balance Health & Fitness/Facebook

Age Friendly Business of the Year: Life Balance Health & Fitness

Women of all ages are welcome at Life Balance Health & Fitness. This female-oriented gym lives by the mantra of, “Keeping you healthy, keeping you moving, keeping you aging well!” The gym offers a range of exercise and cardio machines, personal training and coaches as well as group fitness classes for all ages. In particular, Life Balance has placed a special focus on older women and their fitness needs, making the facility a welcome and accessible space.

Customer Service Excellence: The Hearing Loss Clinic

“Helping you hear better is simply our way of helping you live better”—that’s the focus at The Hearing Loss Clinic. With nine locations across Southern Alberta and the East Kootenays, the company strives to empower their clients, rather than just treat them. That empowerment starts by providing a large scope of services, including hearing evaluations, hearing aid fittings, maintenance and repair.

Inclusive Employer of the Year: The Paw Shop

Each employee at the Paw Shop is valued for their unique skills and abilities, and together, the entire team works hard every day to provide the best service to their clients—both two- and four-legged! In operation since 2008, the business specializes in dog and cat products—everything from quality foods and toys to grooming supplies and gear.

Excellence in Arts: Cranbrook Community Theatre

Over the 60-plus years of the Cranbrook Community Theatre’s existence, there’s been a countless number of theatrical productions, musicals and performances held on their stage. Granted stewardship of one of Cranbrook’s cherished city-owned heritage buildings back in 1974, the Studio/Stage Door building in downtown Cranbrook is the venue for the Community Theatre. The group is a vital part of the vibrant arts and entertainment scene in the city.

Owners of McWhirter Office Supplies standing on stage with award.

The team at McWhirter Office Supplies celebrate their award win. They brought home the Business to Business Excellence award. — Photo courtesy McWhirter Office Solutions/Facebook

Business to Business Excellence: McWhirter Office Solutions

Sourcing good quality office supplies or specialized equipment can sometimes be difficult for small businesses. McWhirter Office Solutions provides the answer! This family-run business provides everything office-related: furniture, supplies and technology. It’s their commitment to exceptional customer service that makes them stand out from their competitors. Congratulations to the entire team at McWhirter Office Solutions!

Carter Flexhaug holding award.

Carter Flexhaug is the young, hard-working entrepreneur and owner of Flexy's Fruit Stand. — Photo courtesy Flexy's Fresh Fruit and Vegetables - Cranbrook BC/Facebook

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Carter Flexhaug, Flexy’s Fruit Stand

Carter Flexhaug is a young, hard-working entrepreneur who followed in his West Kootenay family’s footsteps, opening up a fruit stand of his own in Cranbrook this summer. Open daily, he sourced locally-grown B.C. fruit and vegetables, thereby supporting farmers and supplying his many customers with a vibrant variety of fresh produce. His first season of business was a smashing success and he looks forward to bringing his seasonal stand back for another year.

Hospitality and Tourism Excellence: Fire Hall Kitchen & Tap

Tons of Kootenay culture, a hip and happening place to hang with friends and—to top it off—fantastic food and you’ve got the Firehall Kitchen & Tap summed up. This craft beer tap house and gastropub is one of Cranbrook’s brightest attractions and they do their best to spread the Cranbrook love to everyone who walks in the door. Cheers to the entire Fire Hall team on their Hospitality and Tourism Excellence win!

Julie Matchett

Julie Matchett is a writer and content coordinator for KPI Media. She ranks as a 7 on the Introversion vs. Extraversion scale out of 100, which might help to explain why she chose a career of quiet contemplation as opposed to public speaking. View all of Julie Matchett’s articles

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