By Sandra Thomas
I have a lot of admiration for small business owners. I liken it to being a chef: while on the surface the job may appear to be non-stop excitement and glamour, in reality it takes huge dedication and commitment to be successful. So with that sense of admiration I attended the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce Westside Business Awards and silent auction last Thursday (Feb. 23) evening. I learned there that small businesses account for the majority of this city’s commerce.
This year’s event included a new category, Best Not-For-Profit, dedicated to organizations that have a positive impact on social issues and community well being. The 2012 winner of this first-ever award was Westside Family Place.
The Best Green Business category was presented to the gang at Recycle-Now, a small company that offers convenient recycling options and services. Adding a little spark to the evening was the Best in Community Spirit Award presented to Mr. Fireworks founder Ray Greenwood. Greenwood, a.k.a. Mr. Flasher, founded the Vancouver Fireworks Society in 1990 through which he brought the Benson and Hedges Symphony of Fire fireworks festival to Vancouver (now known as the Celebration of Light).
There were dozens of nominees for the Best Retailer award, which Zulu Records won. Zulu has been selling music in all its forms in Kitsilano for almost 30 years.
Another tough category was Best Restaurant. I can’t imagine picking just one favourite restaurant on the West Side, but Japanese eatery Hapa Izakaya took home the trophy Thursday night.
Other awards presented included Best Entrepreneur, which went to The BiBo (that’s how it’s spelled) Restaurant; Best Business Person to Michael Gokturk of Payfirma; and Best In Business to Nicola Wealth Management. Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners.