Volume 12 Week 5

Sunday, Jan. 20


Posted Jan. 10

Posted Jan. 9

Posted Jan. 7


Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney




(Updated 10:30 a.m., Feb. 14)
Top businesses hounoured at Chamber of Commerce gala

By Mike Beasley
The Orléans Star

Beachcomber Hot Tubs owner Andrée Grzela accepted the award for Business Person of the Year with his wife Christine. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Orléans Chamber of Commerce held its annual Business Excellence Awards Gala at the Hilton Casino Lac Leamy on Saturday, March 3, honouring 12 east end businesses which excelled in 2017 and a past executive director who was this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The proceedings were kicked off with the presentation of the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award which went to CP Business Solutions founder and president Cathy Priestman.

Priestman started the marketing consultant company in 2007. The team of professionals at CP Business Solutions specialize in providing start-ups with a strategic plan to assist with everything from branding to rollout. They are also experts at rebranding existing companies looking for a fresh new look.

In a clear example that the apple never falls far from the tree, Priestman’s son Matthew Rafter picked up the award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the ripe old age of 14.

The Colonel By Secondary School student founded M Company, which takes recycled newsprint and turns it into liners for household organic waste bins, when he was just seven years old. The Enviro-liners sell for $10 for a pack of 50.

The award for New Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year went to Routier Motorsports owner Sylvain Routier. Originally from France, Routier founded the prem-ium auto detailing business in 2013.

The 30-year-old entrepreneur is a true life rags-to-riches success story. Routier started out with little more than $20 to his name and a bucket of soap and water. Through a combination of hard work and perseverance he managed to create a successful business in just five years.

Service Business of the Year recipient Chantal Hackett is another wonderful success story in keeping with the theme of his year’s awards – “Rising Stars”.

Hackett was already a talented young artist when she started Sing House Studios in 2004 at the tender age of 19. Her mission was to create a relaxed and nurturing environment in which her students could explore their musical talent and realize their full potential.

Pita Pit owner Andy Scott accepted the award for Employer of the Year accompanied by several of his employees.

During his acceptance speech Scott offered had some sage words of advice for the other business owners in the room. “The secret to Employer of the Year is really no secret at all: Be fair, think of your team’s interests above your own, be vulnerable and then set the stage so they can shine.”

Recipients of this year's Orléans Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards pose for a group photo at the Hilton Lac Leamy. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The award for Best Restaurant of the Year went to Host India, located on Montreal Road near the Montfort Hospital. Owner Ravinder Tumber accepted the trophy with his entire family by his side who are all involved in the business.

OakWood president and CEO John Liptak accepted the Best Technology & Innovation of the Year Award with his daughter and company COO Patricia Liptak-Satov; and Beachcomber Hot Tubs owner André Grzela picked up the award for Retail Business of Year. Since they opened early last year, they’ve done more than $1 million in business.

Other award winners on the night included Rhapsody Strategies CEO Eric Deschamps for Professional of the Year; and the AOE Arts Council for Community and Non-Profit Organization of the Year.

Each winner was selected by a panel of judges who evaluated each of the nominees based on the company’s accomplishments, level of expertise, and community involvement.

The top prize of Business of the Year went to employment lifecycle specialists Keynote Group, while the award for Business Leader of the Year went to Orléans lawyer David Bertschi from the law firm Bertschi Orth Solicitors & Barristers.

Bertschi has always been a big believer in giving back to the community. He has been a volunteer, mentor and community leader for more than 30 years.

The Chamber also bestowed former executive director Peter Stewart with a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

Stewart served as executive director of the Chamber from 2006 to 2010. During his tenure, membership increased significantly thanks in large part to his efforts in organizing networking breakfasts and luncheons, the awards program, and the annual golf tournament.

After leaving the Chamber in 2010, he took a job with Invest Ottawa as a business advisor. In 2013, he became the manager of entrepreneurship services. He served in that capacity for three years until he stepped down in May 2016 to become a business coach with Rhasody Strategies.

Chamber of Commerce chairman Sean Crossan accepted the award on behalf of Stewart who is currently undergoing cancer treatment.

Besides all the awards, the Gala served as a fundraising event for Children At Risk, an Ottawa-based organization that provides services and programs to families of children with autism. A grand total of $6,000 was raised through both a silent and live auction.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)





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