Who has the Spirit of Ladysmith?

It's time to start nominating people and businesses for the Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards. Nominations are due Feb. 1.

It’s time to celebrate the people and businesses who make a difference in Ladysmith.

The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce is asking Ladysmith-area residents to nominate businesses, entrepreneurs, not-for-profit organizations, volunteers, youth and service employees who have done something to stand out for the annual Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards. Nominations are due Feb. 1.

The chamber of commerce has expanded the award categories this year.

Business of the Year has been broken into three categories to include a medium size. The Business of the Year categories are now Small Business (one to five employees), Medium Business (six to 20 employees) and Large Business (21-plus employees).

The categories have also been expanded for the Service Employee of the Year Award to include Small Business (one to five employees), Medium Business (six to 20 employees) and Large Business (21-plus employees).

There are 10 categories in all — Small Business of the Year, Medium Business of the Year, Large Business of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Not-for-Profit Organization of the Year, Service Employee of the Year (Small Business), Service Employee of the Year (Medium Business), Service Employee of the Year (Large Business), Volunteer of the Year, and Youth of the Year.

The Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards, which are sponsored by the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, recognize achievement and leadership by individuals and organizations for making an impact in and around Ladysmith.

Any member of the Ladysmith-and-area community is eligible, and the awards are for volunteers, students, employees, employers, organizations and companies.

“We want lots of nominations this year because we think there are lots of people who  deserve to be nominated, and it’s an honour to be nominated,” said chamber of commerce director Kathy Holmes. “I think our categories cover just about everything in our community for businesses, and we want to support them.”

Anyone who would like to nominate somebody or a business or organization for a Spirit of Ladysmith Community Award must submit the nomination forms by Friday, Feb. 1.

Nomination forms can be picked up at the chamber of commerce office at 411B First Ave. After completing a nomination form, you must include a 350-word description of how and why the nominee should be considered for an award. A list of assessment criteria for each category is available from the chamber of commerce.

“It’s put there just to guide them, not frighten them,” said Holmes. “It anyone has questions, they can call the office or ask us.”

Completed nomination forms can be e-mailed to info@ladysmithcofc.com, faxed to 250-245-2125, dropped off at 411B First Ave. or mailed to Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 598, Ladysmith, B.C., V9G 1A4.

The Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards are for everyone, not just chamber of commerce members, emphasized Holmes.

“I think it’s important to celebrate the people who have done excellent work in the past year,” she said.

“It’s open for everyone, so come and celebrate our community,” added chamber of commerce vice-president Rhonda Shirley.

Being nominated is an honour, and it can be a real boost for your business or organization, noted Holmes.

“It’s great advertising for your business,” she said. “People appreciate going into a store where they know the service is great. And for volunteer organizations, people are recognizing that what you are doing is unsung. It also really elevates our community when people can look and say we’re celebrating our business people and we recognize how important they are to our community.”

“We want to promote entrepreneurship,” agreed Shirley.

Winners of the Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards will be honoured at the chamber of commerce’s awards ceremony Saturday, Feb. 23 at Aggie Hall.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and there will be live music and a light dinner until the awards start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for the awards ceremony are $20 will be available at the chamber of commerce office, beginning Feb. 1. Discounts will be available for groups that book a full table.