Editorial – Well done!

Jeff Burgar

Congratulations to the High Prairie & Area Chamber of Commerce for their Small Business Week Celebration and Gala.

There were three guest speakers: Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee, Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos First Nation in southern British Columbia, and Linsay Willier, formerly of Sucker Creek, and now a motivational speaker and small business person in Vancouver. All delivered messages of how hope, ambition, hard work, and desire to succeed can lead to the result one wants. Not without bumps and crashes along the way, of course. Roads to success, like so many other roads paved with good intentions, do not always follow a straight, easy course.

Meanwhile, once again the Small Business awards the chamber made at the gala is a current topic. In weeks before the gala, the chamber was talking about the awards. Issues included a lack of nominations, judging, and should previous year’s winners be allowed to compete. In the end, there were lots of nominations, there were suitable winners, and judging was sorted out.

To the happiness of all concerned? Probably not. The chamber does have a good fall back: If you weren’t nominated, you couldn’t win.

And although it doesn’t seem moral, there is nothing technically wrong with any business nominating themselves. But, just like picking The Best Looking Boy and Girl in Class, naturally there are going to be hurt feelings. Why was that business or group picked here, when there is just as deserving a group over there?

There is indeed the appearance of “picking friends” or tossing the nominations of people one may think does not fit the judge’s personal opinion of who should win. The fallback of, “You just can’t please everybody” is often used.

But, is that really a good excuse?

We often wonder why is there not a broad-based award [meaning just about anybody can qualify] for the simple act of one doing their business? As an example, how does one choose between five lending institutions? What rules? Easy to get a loan? Helpful in filling out forms? Handsome staff? Easy to get on the phone? A clean restroom?

How about choosing the best tourist resorts? Cheap prices? Bigger marina? Store open until 1 a.m. so one can get ice for the drinks?

The real test of any good business, or organization, is, are they a success? Are they able to stay in business, year after year, in good times and bad?

We admire the chamber acknowledging local businesses and organizations. Congratulations to all winners, and all nominees. You deserve praise.

For us, we think the best award is simply being able to keep the doors open and the lights on. After that, it is so hard to pick winners and, let’s be more correct under our criteria, not losers but “not-quite” winners.

This should be revisited. The new “Façade” business appearance award is a great start. Maybe next year, an acknowledgement of brand new businesses that made it a year, and another group which made it 10 years. Not the best ideas for sure, but heading the right direction, we think.

When it’s all done, maybe we can award the chamber itself a “Very Thoughtful” prize!

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