(Ariane Jaschke/Capture Studios) School board chair Korleen Carreras was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards gala held on Feb. 23.

Future innovators of today and tomorrow honoured at BEA gala in Maple Ridge

The Chamber of Commerce awards were handed out at Thomas Haney secondary

Future: the innovators of today and tomorrow was the theme of this year’s Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

And in sticking with this years theme, the awards were held at Thomas Haney secondary.

“We chose to have it at a school to fit that theme honouring our youth moving things forward and how we can support them to do that,” said Chamber of Commerce executive director Flori Chaykowski, adding that everyone was amazed by the transformation of the school’s rotunda.

The annual chamber event recognized exceptional businesses, organizations and people who make the community strong whether it be for a service, product or outstanding community involvement.

Chaykowski said about 160 people were in attendance.

“It was a really smooth night and it felt really well connected and I think everyone in attendance felt that same connection,” said Chaykowski.

“It just felt very intimate even though there were that many people there.”

A panel of nine judges, made up of chamber members, picked the finalists, who were scored based on a set of questions with weighted marks.

Maple Washing Inc. won in the category for Small Business. There were 16 nominees in this category. Maple Washing Inc. has been servicing the Lower Mainland since 2005 and love their home community of Maple Ridge.

GM Restaurant took the category of Medium Business. In this category, there were a total of six nominees. GM Restaurant has been a cornerstone of dining in not only in Maple Ridge, but all over the Lower Mainland for the past 25 years. They are hailed by many to be the best and most authentic Indian food available. Guests are always welcomed by their friendly staff and the atmosphere makes them feel like they are truly part of the family.

Kingfisher Waterfront Bar and Grill won for Large Business over five other nominees. Kingfishers is a family-owned Maple Ridge restaurant situated on the banks of the Fraser River with a waterfront view from any seat in the house. They serve handcrafted food in a great atmosphere by the river. It is known as Albion’s neighbourhood pub with great food, B.C. wines, craft beer, brunch, live music and special events. All ages are welcome on the restaurant side and there are two seasonal patios for dining.

• The winner in the Non Profit category was Alouette Addictions. There were six nominees in this category. Alouette Addictions is governed by a volunteer board of directors and staffed by qualified professionals with a broad range of education, training and life experiences. Thenon-profitt offers outpatient treatment programs for adults and youth who are affected directly or indirectly by addictions and substance abuse in some way. All of their services are voluntary and focus on each individual’s needs and goals. And there is no cost for any of their addiction treatment programs because funding is mainly provided by the Fraser Health Authority.

Cheryl Zandbergen won in the Community Spirit category, beating out three other nominees. Zandbergen used to think of herself as “just a mom” until she took one jump that changed her life. She now plans events for her team of Mom’s Gone Wild, from shooting ranges to flash mob dance groups.

• There were two nominees in the Agri Business category, with Amsterdam Greenhouses and Garden Centre coming out on top. Amsterdam Greenhouses and Garden Centre is a family owned and operated, year-round Garden Centre, as well as a wholesale grower of quality plants. For forty years they have prided themselves in providing exceptional customer service and a wide range of high quality, home-grown, and local products. They work hard together with their dedicated team to make sure that their customers are successful at gardening by offering seminars, workshops and events for all ages and all types of gardeners.

• Finally, Ineke Boekhorst won for Business Leader. There were four nominees in this category.

Boekhorst has been the executive director of the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association since it started in 2007. The organization has grown under Boekhorst from one employee to four employees, plus a summer student.

Boekhorst is very involved in the community. She is the two-time past president of the Meadow Ridge Rotary Club; she is on the board of directors of the Friends in Need Food Bank, the Ridge Meadows Hospice, the Maple Ridge Christmas Festival, the Ridge Meadows Education Foundation, the Pitt Meadows Garden Club; she is co-chair of the Rotary Duck Race and the Rotary Wine Festival; she is chair of the Starfish Backpack Program; and she is the founding organizer of the Festival of Light and the Caribbean Festival.

Through the BIA, she has introduced many new and exciting initiatives to Maple Ridge, including a facade improvement program, the Back Alley Mural Program, Clean Team Program, a downtown parking map and a Spring Treasure Hunt.

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