Nick Nuraney, owner of six A&W restaurants in Langley alone, was crowned business person of the year by the chamber of commerce on Thursday. (Black Press)

VIDEO: Langley’s 96-year-old co-op crowned best big business

During a chamber of commerce awards night Thursday, 10 businesses and one non-profit were honoured.

by Black Press

Otter Coop is a $223-million cooperative that has been in Langley coming up on a hundred years, and the business was among 11 specifically recognized last night for its outstanding contribution to this community.

The company was crowned Langley’s best large business of the year Thursday night before a crowd of 300 who gathered at the Cascades Casino to be part of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce 22nd annual Business Excellence Awards.

There were 95 nominees in the 11 different categories this year, explained chamber executive director Colleen Clark. Otter Co-op was among them with 18-year staffer Mike Wills accepting the award on the company’s behalf.

“We’re truly humbled and honoured to accept this award,” Wills said, describing it as a great night to recognize great businesses and leaders in the community.

“We have 360 team members and this award is truly for their efforts that they put forward every day,” he elaborated. “I do have to say that when you get to work for an organization like the Co-op, that sets goals like building and improving the community we work in, caring about our people, and touching the lives of our members, it doesn’t feel like you have to go to work at all,” he added.

Otter Co-op’s general manager Jack Nicholson, who also serves as president of the chamber, was on hand for Thursday’s celebration, as well. While he didn’t speak for the company, it was acknowledged that he has been selected the CEO of the year for a large business in the Greater Vancouver area, and will be receiving accolades from Business in Vancouver on Nov. 15.

And although Otter Co-op has been operating in Langley for 96 years, co-emcee and JRfm radio morning host Karen Daniels couldn’t resist a dig at Nicholson, saying that he only looks 95 years old. She also put a call out – verging on plea – for the co-op to expand into Vancouver.

Other evening highlights

The Co-op wasn’t the only award winner Thursday.

Forty years ago, Nick Nuraney and his family ventured out to rural Langley to check out the popular A&W drive-in as a possible business opportunity, little did Nick know that all these years later he’d own nine restaurants in the Lower Mainland – six in Langley – and be recognized by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce as the community’s outstanding business person of the year.

“It feels a little overwhelming,” Nuraney told Black Press just moments after being presented the award during the chamber’s 22nd annual Business Excellence celebrations. “I think my heart is beating like crazy. It was an honour to be nominated and then when I won, I just couldn’t believe that I won.”

The chamber has been recognizing an outstanding local business person for 29 years (since 1989), “when it was first presented to George Preston of Preston Chev Olds Cadillac in the backseat of a Chevy Cavalier in the WalMart parking lot. I made up that last part,” said the event’s other co-emcee and JRfm morning host Clay St. Thomas – explaining some history of the award.

“George truly was the epitome of a community leader, contributor and successful business operator. So in the honour of the spirit of George Preston, and the example he set for new business people, his dedication to the community, and his outstanding business ethics, the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce named the award in his memory.”

Clark was right of stage throughout the ceremonies, handing over awards and envelopes with the recipients names sealed inside.

“Everyone is a winner,” she said. “These people work really hard every day… they’re out there in the community doing really, really good work, and it’s just nice for them to have a night out, a great meal, and receive a little bit of recognition for what they do everyday in our community.”

Nicholson concurred, telling Black Press that the awards are a great opportunity to showcase the diversity of businesses that exist in Langley, plus a chance to express the community’s appreciation. Further, it’s also an opportunity to get the names of many outstanding small and medium-sized relatively unknown businesses out to the world, and even a better chance to show out-of-town company operators “that [Langley] is a great place in which to come and do business.”

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• Other 2018 Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence award recipients:

1. 2018 Community Impact (For-Profit) Award

• Presented by: Shaulene Burkett, Advertising Manager of the Langley Times

• Recipient: Duolynx Design and Print

• Represented by: Kerri Lucas-West and Katy Mayrs

If you are working on an event, charity, or program in Langley, Duolynx Design and Print is always one of the first to step up and sponsor. They strive to champion change for the better in our community. The list of community events and programs that they support, donate to or impact is long some of the key initiatives are Mayor’s Wives Tea, Power of the Purse, Laps and Tiny Kittens, Walnut Grove Secondary Dry Grad and the Township Firefighters Calendar just to name a few. Community is the key ingredient to their success as small business owners.

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2. 2018 Community Impact (Non-Profit) Award

• Sponsored by: TD Canada Trust

• Presented by: Andrew Swan, Janet Ingram, Sonia Hollinger, account managers – Small Business

• Recipient: Langley Hospice Society

• Represented by: Shannon Todd Booth, Kathy Derksen, and Nancy Panchuk

Since 1983 the Langley Hospice Society has been providing compassionate care and support in our community. Annually Langley Hospice Society provides information, training and support for more than 5,000 individuals. The services the Langley Hospice Society provide are priceless. The care given to the dying in their precious last days or weeks: the support given to the family as they walk that journey with their loved one: and the continued support provided to family members afterwards, no price tag can be attached. We are so very lucky to have this organization operating in our community.

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3. 2018 Environmental Leadership Award

• Sponsored by: Port of Vancouver

• Presented by: Naomi Horsford, manager of municipal executive liaison

• Recipient: Cascadia Windows & Doors Ltd.

• Represented by: Mike Battistel

Langley’s own Cascadia Windows was the first manufacturer in North America to design and launch a Passive House International Certified window, Cascadia’s new product, the Universal Series has received world wide attention, and is now enabling commercial and large-scale residential buildings to achieve higher energy efficiency. Cascadia is one of three finalists for the Canadian Green Building Council’s Product of the Year.

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4. 2018 Service Excellence (Retail/Service) Award

• Sponsored by: Aldergrove Credit Union

• Presented by: Michelle Burrows, Aldergrove branch manager

• Recipient: Servcomm Communications Ltd.

• Represented by: Tony Cave & Cam Leighton

If you are looking for great Telecom Business Solutions with unmatched customer service, look no further than Servcomm Communications. Customers are guaranteed to be impressed with call backs and priority solutions when problems arise. This team goes out of its way to make sure that your business communications are up and running even when you can’t be. Service is part of our name! Our business philosophy is to become a telecom partner with our customers!

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5. 2018 Service Excellence (Food/Beverage) Award

• Sponsored by: Envision Financial, A division of First West Credit Union

• Presented by: Leanna Napolitano, business banking advisor

• Recipient: Bella Cibo

• Represented by: Marzia Molatore

The key to good customer service is building relationships with the customers and Bella Cibo does just that. Marzia is hands on with her clients, teaching and encouraging people to create good food and be hand on while doing it. Her classes are fun and interactive, and the outcomes taste fantastic! The company goal is to bring back home-made to the table and support local farmers and local products. Through her work in the community Marzia does just that.

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6. 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Award

• Presented by: Brad Kiendl, vice-president with Ashdown Capital

• Recipient: Lilian Cazacu of Lilian Cazacu Notary Corporation

Ten years ago, Lilián Cazacu decided to move to Canada to make a better life for himself and his family. Arriving unable to speak English and armed with his legal degree and a passionate desire to give his newly-created family a better future, Lilián soon discovered that his degree was not accepted in Canada. Not to be deterred, he figured out the solution and Lilián Cazacu Notary Corporation was formed. Since the beginning, Lilian has been involved in every aspect of his company, while continuing to grow, provide excellent customer service and be involved in the local community.

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7. 2018 U40 Business Person of the Year Award

• Sponsored by: KPU

• Presented by: Marlyn Graziano, vice-president of external affairs

• Recipient: Kendall Ballantine of Central Park Farms

Kendall left Corporate Canada in 2015 to open Central Park Farms, with a goal of helping further develop the local food movement in our community, a goal she is very passionate about. Kendall sits on the board of the Langley Community Farmers Market society to further develop a local food hub in the community as well as supporting our local youth in their dreams to open their own farms. Kendall is a regular speaker at workshops and conventions regarding social media and small farms, recently creating Farm Fresh Marketing –which will assist the small-scale agriculture sector in marketing their products and services.

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8. 2018 Small Business of the Year Award

• Presented by: Shaulene Burkett, Advertising manager of the Langley Advance

• Recipient: Erikson’s Daylily Gardens & Perennials

• Represented by: Pam Erikson

Erikson’s Daylily Gardens offers a unique tourism experience but so much more that just a garden! Starting in 1987 with a bare acre of land, Pam and Tom Erikson changed that by 1992 and opened the garden for tours and a small variety of plant sales. Now the gardens are packed with plants and they also have a private 30-acre farm where they grow a multitude of their stock. Erikson’s is the definition of a Small business, turn key, husband and wife team, providing amazing customer service and fantastic products and experiences, while supporting many local charities and events.

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9. 2018 Medium Business of the Year Award

• Sponsored by: BDO Canada LLP

• Presented by: Kristine Simpson, partner, not-for-profit and education industry leader, and vice-chair of the BC Chamber of Commerce

• Recipient: Jelly Digital Marketing & PR

• Represented by: Darian Kovacs

At Jelly Marketing they are a high-energy team of go-getters, storytellers, and experts in all things digital who work tirelessly to get your business, product, and message seen and heard by the right people. While social media, PR, and digital advertising are the pillars of our business, it is our unique ability to combine the trio that enables us to provide comprehensive amplification for your brand. Team Jelly creatively pushes the boundaries of what’s possible to help you achieve the best results for your business. Jelly goes out of its way to support our local community taking a lead with investing in local charities and businesses, so they too can thrive.

10. 2018 Large Business of the Year Award

• Sponsored by: Business Development Bank of Canada

• Presented by: Louise Fogharty, vice-president of the South Fraser area

• Recipient: Otter Co-op

• Represented by: Mike Will

Otter Coop is a $223-million cooperative that has been in Langley for 96 years. They believe in strong local investment and community building, through programs such as the $250,000 in community donations they were associated with and the 5.9 million returned to the community in cash and equity. When you shop at Otter, you support local and feel at home here.

Otter has 350 employees and if you asked any one of them they would say that it is a team effort. From great customer service to amazing products and unique items you can almost always find it at Otter Co-op.

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11. 2018 George Preston Memorial Business Person of the Year Award

• Sponsored by: CBM Lawyers LLP

• Presented by: Scott Johnston, partner

• Recipient: Nick Nuraney of A&W Langley

Starting out 25 years ago with two franchises Nick Nuraney has invested in the Langley market to grow his business to six locations and employing over 200+ locals. As an employer, Nick and his team have earned several awards and have been recognized nationally and provincially for diverse hiring practices, employee scholarships, excellent training and staff development. Nick is a principled gentleman who epitomizes traits such as compassion, honour and friendship. He quietly lends his financial support, volunteer time and business expertise to causes that are important to our community and that have a real impact. Nick is more than a sponsor – he is a true partner in the community!

 

Kendall Ballantine, of Central Park Farms, said she swapped out her rubber boots for a pair of high heels on Thursday, so she could attend the 22nd annual Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce business awards night. KPU’s Marlyn Graziano presented Ballantine with the award. (Black Press)

Lilian Cazacu of Lilian Cazacu Notary Corporation was crowned entrpreneur of the year by the chamber. (Black Press)

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