Nominations are now open for the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce’s 23rd annual Airdrie Business Awards, offering residents the chance to recognize local business excellence.
“Obviously, we all know businesses have been through an awful lot in the last year and a half, so more than ever, we really do need to champion and celebrate the accomplishments our businesses have had,” said Marilyne Aalhus, the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce’s executive director.
According to Aalhus, nominations will remain open until Aug. 3, after which a third-party adjudicator will narrow down the nominees to a list of finalists for each category.
In September, public voting will open, allowing Airdronians to vote which businesses they would like to see win the various awards. The winners will then be revealed at a gala at the Bert Church LIVE Theatre on Oct. 23.
This year, there will be three new categories – community attraction, exemplary service and greatest impact.
“We're very excited about expanding the nominations to be even more inclusive to new and more businesses in our community,” Aalhus said. “A lot of deserving businesses are out there.”
She said the community attraction award is for a business that attracts customers from outside or within Airdrie and champions community engagement. The exemplary service award is for excellent customer service, while the greatest impact award pertains to businesses that make a difference in the community, whether through volunteerism or philanthropy.
Other categories include the business of the year award, the business leader award, emerging business award and the employer excellence award. Other categories recognize innovation or legacy.
While there will be more categories than last year for voters to choose from, one category that will no longer be available is the franchise award. Aalhus said the chamber of commerce’s executive agreed to part with that category because it prevented franchised businesses in Airdrie from being eligible for other awards they may have had a shot at winning.
“Yes, there are benefits to being a franchise, but that shouldn't exclude a franchise from potentially being a community attraction,” she said. “When we put them in the franchise award, it limited them to not being included in any others, so we decided simply to remove that category this year.”
This will be the 23rd Airdrie Business Awards. Aalhus said the yearly recognition of Airdrie's best businesses has become a staple within the city’s business community – though she added she would love to see more public involvement in the awards.
“Last year, of course, was quite different with COVID,” she said. “We were still fortunate to be able to host them in person last year, in a very different capacity and a much smaller, intimate event. I feel the community is aware [of the awards] and I especially feel the business community is rallying around one another.”
To nominate businesses for the Airdrie Business Awards, Aalhus said to visit Airdriechamber.ab.ca and click the appropriate banner at the top of the home page.
“It really is such a simple way to show your appreciation for your business community,” she said. “It's kind of cliché, but it really is an honour [for businesses] to be nominated. It feels amazing to know someone out there has taken the time to nominate and appreciate you, so we would really love the community to take a minute – it really only takes a minute or two at the most – to nominate a business.”