A gala highlighting the best of business and celebrating those going above and beyond for their customers goes next month.
Each year the Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island honours companies that demonstrate ethics and integrity with the annual Torch Awards.
“I always say to the judges these are all A-plus businesses and all of them deserve an award,” says Rosalind Scott, president and CEO of BBB Vancouver Island that serves Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii and Powell River.
“We’re looking for what makes them just that much better than the other guy.”
This year 65 businesses had nominations, narrowed to winners and finalists in 16 categories at this year’s Torch Awards on Nov. 2 at the Union Club in Victoria.
The stories are often inspired simply by the “right thing to do,” Scott says. “This is exceptional service, exceptional caring about consumers.”
Nominations of the past include stories of workers who take into account a brand new baby’s nap schedule, or those who came out to fix a stove on Thanksgiving, in time to rescue a large family gathering.
Many nominations leave Scott, and judges, in tears.
“They do it because they know how difficult this is and how incredibly expensive this is, and they just do it,” Scott said.
Even the little tales of going above and beyond are recognized. Among her favourites is a story of a staffer at a pet shop, where a child, whose goldfish died, went to pick out a new one.
“They’re there to buy a goldfish … this is not a big purchase. The person working in the store spent a half an hour with this child helping the child pick out a goldfish,” Scott says. “That’s the stuff that makes the business great.”
While many a story are well crafted with love, it’s the intent that earns an award.
“The most moving testimonial I’ve ever seen was written by a very elderly man on a piece of scrap paper, in pencil,” Scott says. The man was a Holocaust survivor who talked about the incredible customer service he got and how respected he felt despite being a little forgetful and his imperfect English.
The Nov. 2 Torch Awards gala at the Union Club has a Havana Nights theme (tickets at bbb.org) to go along with the “celebration” rather than competition element.
“It’s a party. It’s not a competition. These people are all winners, so we decided a long time ago, let’s treat it like that,” Scott says.