Blown away, that was the reaction from News’ publisher Lisa Farquharson when she learned a record number of – in excess of 20,000 – votes were cast in the 2021 A-List competition.
“The response, I believe, was the highest it’s ever been,” said Farquharson, who referred to them as “crazy numbers” of people voting for their favourite Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge businesses.
“This year, like every year, our readers are extremely engaged with the A-List contest. But, we feel this year, even more so, they are vested in showing their support to local businesses – given all that we’ve been through,” she said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stefanie McCausland, director of early childhood education at Curious Minds Learning Centre, was among the businesses shortlisted for one of the annual awards.
For the first time since opening in 2008, Curious Minds was picked as one of the community’s favourite child care centres. And, McCausland’s reaction to the news encapsulated just what it means to so many other local entrepreneurs, as well.
“I am so humbled and honoured after the last year we have had… to be recognized and appreciated. It just goes to show, the dedication and love my staff and I have for our children and families” means something.
“I’m not going to lie, I teared up a bit. After 14 years in business, it is such a wonderful accomplishment and I just felt very proud,” she said, when learning that locals picked Curious Minds, and that they were further shortlisted as a finalist.
When learning of the nomination, “I jumped around screaming and told my husband, then called my mom –who works for me – and my dad [her business partner].”
Asked if receiving this award will change how they conduct their business at the multiple local locations, McCausland gave a resounding “No,” quickly crediting her staff for any accolades earned.
“We will continue to provide the same warm and nurturing care as before, at all our locations,” she said. “We will just get to feel more appreciated while doing it.”
Working hard to give back to the community they serve is a fundamental philosophy for many Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows businesses and organizations, Farquharson said. And this annual A-List is a directory, if you will, to all those who truly shine in this community.
“While the credit here is owed to all of you, the readers, who showed your support by voting for your favourite local businesses, it is an absolute thrill for us to help spotlight those who go above and beyond. I’d like to encourage each and every one of them to keep up the great work. Please know you’re making a difference in our community with all you do,” she concluded.