Nipawin Chamber recognizes local businesses at Annual Awards Gala

Five Nipawin and district businesses were recognized for going above and beyond.

At the Nipawin and District Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Awards Gala on Feb. 10, Nipawin Greenhouses won the Agriculture Award, Proven Insurance the Service Award, Rona Nipawin the Retail Award, Dairy Queen the Heritage Award and Lake Country Co-op the Best Employer Award.

Greg Sproat, the chamber’s 2023 president, said that it is important to recognize the businesses that go above and beyond in the community. He stresses that people should shop local and mentioned it is the Nipawin Chamber’s 100th anniversary. He said that this is no small feat as many chambers have disbanded over the years and takes commitment by the business community to ensure the membership trusts and supports the activities that continue to improve and make Nipawin a better place to work and play.

“It was an evening to not only say thank you to the Chamber for continuing to recognize business through the ABEX awards, but also to congratulate the businesses who were recognized,” said Nipawin Mayor Rennie Harper. “When I speak of ABEX awards, I immediately recognize the local businesses in this area (both new and more seasoned) which continue to make us very proud to support. Thank you for all you do for our town and our area and for your community involvement and support.”

Cal Gratton, executive director of the Melfort Trade Alliance Chamber of Commerce was the MC for the evening and had the crowd of around 125 in attendance. Dignitaries included MP Randy Hoback, MLA Fred Bradshaw, MLA Nadine Wilson, Mayor Harper and President Sproat. The Saskatoon Dueling Pianos as the entertainment for the evening. The evening was made possible due to the support of local businesses, which sponsored the event and gave silent auction items.

Agriculture Award

In the award category of Agriculture, Nipawin Greenhouses, Bunge and Youzwa Farms were nominated. Nipawin Greenhouses was awarded the Agriculture award. The greenhouse originated from 1945. WM Corea sent word home to his wife, Eleanor and their two girls he was coming home from the war and that is when they found property and started the greenhouse operation. Their daughters grew up watching their mother’s passion for flowers and this love of growing was past to their daughter Betty and when after Eleanor's passing WM was ready to retire in 1972, Betty and her husband Lloyd and their four children relocated to Nipawin to carry on the business. In 1993 Betty decided it was time to retire and the torch was passed to her son Ward and his family. Ward and his wife Kimberley continue to welcome back costumers each spring, and while some things certainly have changed over the years, there are certain things that are almost exactly as they were that first spring in 1946.

Service Award

The nominations for the 2022 Service Award were Nipawin Vision Centre, Proven Insurance and MTN Disposal. Proven Insurance was the award winner and has a considerable history of service and success beginning in 1975. At that time, both Home, Auto, Farm & Commercial Insurance were offered along with Real Estate services. In 2016, Kelly Williams wanted to ensure his clients at Gar Williams Agencies were taken care of as he looked forward to retirement. Proven Insurance is grateful for Kelly giving them the opportunity to continue Gar Williams’ success. Over the years, the company has grown to four offices located in Arborfield, Nipawin, Star City and Tisdale. At Proven, they pride themselves on understanding their customers’ needs and strive to provide the coverage that best suits them. They said they are grateful and humbled to be nominated for the Chamber of Commerce Service Award, but it is really a testament to their staff in Nipawin: Tammy Blair, Twila Senger, Melissa McKee, Brittney Salisbury and Doreen Harrison.

Retail Award

Nominees for 2022 Retail Award were: Phil & Son’s Flooring, Family Bakery and Rona Nipawin. Rona Nipawin was the winner and was originally Pinecrest Lumber. Johnny & Dianna Palidwar opened it in 1981 and ran it as a family business. Sons Gary and Kelly Palidwar took over the business and a few years later became an independently owned RONA, which allowed the business to expand and have access to a variety of products available to sell, other than your basic Lumber Yard Hardware supplies. In 2019 Chad and Kerry Tour and purchased Rona Pinecrest Lumber and have been operating for the last four years. Chad had been an employee for the Palidwars for eight years prior to the change from employee to owner and has kept the policy the Palidwars lived by, always provide Great Customer Service and Support the Community where ever you can. Some of their staff have been with the business for over 13 years (Brian Wiebe), 15 years (Curtis Wheeler) and 30 years for (Jim Senger) which shows it’s a great place to work and a great community to live in.

Heritage Award

Nominees for 2022 Heritage Award were Boughen Nurseries, Dairy Queen and Nipawin Chrysler. Dairy Queen was the winner. On March 29, 1982, Dairy Queen opened their doors as a family business and served the Nipawin community and area. The owners have been a part of the business community for these past 40 years. They wanted to extend gratitude to Shelly Green who has been with them since the very start.

Best Employer Award

The final award nominees for Best Employer were: Nipawin Dental Centre, Diamond North Credit Union and Lake Country Co-op. Lake Country was the winner and they commended the leadership that has tapped into being an employer leader in their community. They credited a diverse workplace that values every team member and their abilities. Employees said that they feel at home when coming to work and they know their colleagues care and want to see their customers happy.

Nicole Goldsworthy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal