The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Black Tie Awards virtually on May 4, 2021, to honour the best businesses in the Cowichan Valley.
Ladysmith’s Dina Stuehler of Ironworks Cafe & Creperie was nominated for Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and Peter & Wayne Richmond of 49th Parallel Grocery won the 2020 Business Achievement Award in the category of businesses with 20+ employees.
“Woohoo!” Peter Richmond answered above the cheering within his home. He thanked his entire family for their efforts. “It’s definitely been a year of hard work for a lot of us. I want to give a big shout-out to all of our team members across all of our locations…We wouldn’t be here without them. At 49th we talk about community all that time and that’s what we are all about.”
The award comes after 49th Parallel opened a brand new store in Duncan back in February.
“Even though we have close to 400 employees now, we still feel that we’re a small family business,” Richmond said. “We’re very proud to have been nominated and selected. There were lots of great companies involved as finalists. The Chamber really did a great job.”
Stuehler was nominated for Young Entrepreneur of the Year alongside Brennan Colebank of Stillhead Distillery and Grant Lestock-Kay of Cowichan Cycles.
“It was an honour to be nominated for young entrepreneur of the year,” she said. “I was quite surprised when I found out about the nomination.”
Stuehler was the only woman in her category. She has done several workshops and programs to promote entrepreneurship among women in the Cowichan Valley. Stuehler hopes that her nomination can inspire other women to pursue their own business goals.
“My staff were all incredibly proud of me. I have a lot of girl-friends who were proud of me for the achievement. If it can give anybody inspiration I’m ecstatic about that,” she said.
There were 27 finalists and 9 award recipients for this year’s Black Tie Awards. Chamber President Julie Scurr said she was thankful for everyone who helped the event take place.
“While this year’s Black Tie Awards certainly looked different than previous years – and came with its own set of challenges – we were thrilled with how it went and thankful for the many people and organizations that helped make it happen.” –
With files from Sarah Simpson