Oro-Medonte Chamber of Commerce awards go virtual for 2021

·2 min read

You can show your approval for an above-and-beyond local business by nominating it for a 2021 chamber of commerce award by March 23.

A previous winner, the Coghlin family’s Integrated Farms, is still reaping the benefits of an earlier prize.

The farm near Coldwater won the Best New Business award in the Oro-Medonte Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence contest for 2018.

“We were excited to be nominated,” recalled Dorothy Coghlin. “It was really nice to be recognized within our community.”

Integrated Farms is Ontario's largest and only producer growing pastured chicken under the Local Niche Markets Program, which sees the chickens on pasture 24-7. The farm has other animals and food products, but chickens are the mainstay.

The Coghlins, who met the specifications of selling pastured chickens to the community in 2015, have seen sales of wholesale chickens increase during the global pandemic.

“The older generation loves them and says they taste like Grandma used to make,” Dorothy Coghlin said.

In its 25 years of acknowledging local companies’ efforts, the Oro-Medonte’s Business Excellence Awards fall under a dozen categories: employer of the year; business of the year for large and small companies; newly-established businesses; manufacturing; heritage; hospitality; tourism; community service; philanthropy; economic development; and agriculture.

The Coghlins were awarded their prize in 2019. There were no awards offered in 2020 for 2019 due to the pandemic.

This year, the chamber is introducing the Scott Jermey Agricultural Award in honour of the former deputy mayor who died in November 2019. Jermey was a member of the 4-H club, Oro World’s Fair, the Orillia Fall Fair and the Canadian Ayrshire Breeders club.

Chamber board member Sylvia Stark is offering Oro-Medonte residents a chance to vote for their favourite business.

“We want to reach out to the public, to tell us a story about this business you care about,” Stark said. “It could be the service you got in a restaurant and why you feel this business should be recommended.

“A lot of businesses went through difficult times this last year. We want to hear about it and celebrate them,” she said.

Businesses or their nominees don’t need to be members of the chamber of commerce, she added.

The 2021 ceremony will be held virtually on March 23.

For more information, visit www.oromedontecc.com.

Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance