Elkford Chamber’s 2021 Business Awards celebrate small-town success stories

There were six award winners at this year’s Excellence Awards, including a new category—Small Business of the Year

The team at Blend Bistro are all smiles after winning the Small Business of the Year award.

The team at Blend Bistro are all smiles after winning the Small Business of the Year award, a new category in this year’s Elkford Business Excellence Awards. — Photo courtesy Elkford Chamber of Commerce

The Elkford Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards were held on October 29, 2021. And yet again—thanks to pandemic-induced problems—the in-person gala had to be held as a virtual event instead. Thankfully, Elkford residents are a resilient bunch and know how to celebrate in style despite hitches. 

There were six award winners for the Business Excellence Awards this year, including a new category—Small Business of the Year. The event was video-streamed via Facebook on the Chamber of Commerce page. Like the previous year, the ceremony featured candid videos of the award winners being surprised with their awards, along with a slideshow of comments from the community.

Congratulations to the following winners of the 2021 Elkford Business Excellence Awards:

Business of the Year: Precision Arc Industries Inc.

It has been one success after another for the team at Precision Arc Industries. Owned by journeyman welder and machinist Chris Duthie, the company was awarded the Industrial Business of the Year at last year’s Elkford Business Excellence Awards. This year’s major award was a repeat surprise for Duthie and his hard-working team and speaks volumes about how appreciated and valued this small business is to the community of Elkford.

Chris Duthie and family posed for photo outside his shop.

Chris Duthie and his team at Precision Arc Industries scooped up this year’s Business of the Year Award. — Photo courtesy Precision Arc Industries Facebook page

Precision Arc opened their doors back in 2019 as a welding and light fabrication shop. Since that time, they’ve firmly established themselves in the heavy-equipment repair industry and are known for their impeccable reputation and pride of workmanship. Congratulations to Duthie and his team!

Small Business of the Year: Blend Bistro

A new addition to Elkford’s award categories this year, the Small Business of the Year Award went to Blend Bistro. This popular dining spot, located in Elkford’s Kootenay Market Mall, is owned by Corey Mildenberger and his wife, Romila. The menu features a unique blend of modern Filipino cuisine and traditional fare like burgers. The restaurant gets rave reviews from customers for their delicious food and the family-friendly, small-town atmosphere of the spot. Congratulations to the entire team at Blend Bistro.

Customer Service of the Year: Red Raine Hair Studio

Melody Leduc is the owner of Red Raine Hair Studio in Elkford. Together with her team of talented stylists, they strive to make every customer who walks through the door feel pampered and special. The ladies are up-to-date on the latest beauty trends and styles, and their professionalism and skill with scissors shine. Congratulations to the Red Raine Hair Studio on their Customer Service of the Year award.

Ladies from Red Raine Hair Studio posed for photo.

The hard-working ladies at Red Raine Hair Studio keep their customers looking and feeling their best. — Photo courtesy Elkford Chamber of Commerce

Non-Profit of the Year: Elkford Search & Rescue

When there’s an emergency in the Elk Valley—a snowmobiler lost in the backcountry or a missing child—it’s the unpaid volunteers at Elkford Search & Rescue who come to their aid. Recipient of this year’s Non-Profit of the Year award, this organization provides public safety services such as avalanche rescues and terrain searches. They also provide awareness and education programs as well as assist other public agencies like the RCMP and BC Ambulance Services.

Members of Elkford Search & Rescue posing for photo.

Members of the Elkford Search & Rescue volunteer their time and expertise to help out when needed. — Photo courtesy Elkford Chamber of Commerce

Volunteer of the Year: Steve Wood

In every community, there’s always one person who continually goes above and beyond to offer their help and time. In Elkford’s case, that person is Steve Wood. A member of the Elkford Snowmobile Association, Wood is a groomer-operator. Summer or winter, he’s out clearing the trails of brush or snow, ensuring that the area is safe for local recreationists. He’s the modest guy that you see in town, quietly picking up garbage or cleaning up the highway and trails. Congratulations to Steve Wood, recipient of this year’s Volunteer of the Year award.

Steve Wood standing with award.

Steve Wood is a well-known face around the community of Elkford. He’s always willing to lend a helping hand and is very deserving of this year’s Volunteer of the Year award. — Photo courtesy Elkford Chamber of Commerce

Industrial Business of the Year: Teck

In what has been a hard couple of years for many of us, Teck has made it a priority to keep their local workers employed. With four steelmaking coal operations in the Elk Valley, Teck is a major employer in the area. The company supports many community initiatives, such as the donation of money towards the building of the Elkford Community Centre and a land donation to the Elkford Housing Society. Congratulations to Teck for its Industrial Business of the Year award.

Team at Teck.

Teck is a major supporter of Elkford’s community initiatives. — Photo courtesy Elkford Chamber of Commerce

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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