The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce held its ABEX Awards on the weekend in Saskatoon.
The 33rd year for the event was a showcase of what the chamber calls world class business and business leaders. Hillberg and Berk of Regina was selected Business of the Year. The company designs, manufactures, retails, and wholesales luxury jewelry. The company has experienced 600 per cent growth in the past five years. Students from Weyburn Comprehensive Junior Achievement Company Program received the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Company of the Year Award. The award goes to only one Junior Achievement class in Canada each year and, for the second year in a row, it went to a company formed by students from Weyburn Comprehensive High School. Prairie Mud Services, an oil industry supplier from Estevan, was inducted into the Saskatchewan Business Hall of Fame.
2016 ABEX WINNERS
Innovation – Hospitality Network Canada (2011) Inc., Regina Sponsored by Innovation Saskatchewan
Hospitality Network Canada (2011) Inc. dates back to 1967 when it started with a simple idea to deliver TV and phone services to patients during their hospital stays. Since that time, Hospitality Network Canada has evolved into a Canadian network of interactive patient entertainment systems serving more than 40,000 beds in over 200 hospitals.
Community Involvement – Cornerstone Credit Union, Yorkton Sponsored by BHP Billiton
Cornerstone Credit Union has been proudly serving the region of East Central Saskatchewan for over 75 years. With more than 25,000 members, 11 locations, and 186 employees, Cornerstone Credit Union represents a trusted financial institution on the prairies that puts its members and communities first. Cornerstone Credit Union has done an exemplary job serving its communities through volunteerism, financial investment, and staff involvement.
Community Cornerstone – Standard Motors, Swift Current Sponsored by SaskEnergy
Standard Motors, in operation since 1910, is a fourth generation owned and operated family business serving a good portion of the southwest area of the province. The company’s reputation for community involvement has become the cornerstone of its character, serving as a reliable partner for many community events, organizations and causes. Standard Motors regularly puts into action its belief that financial support is an important business responsibility which is essential to developing the kind of community where people want to live, work and play.
Export – Crestline Coach Ltd, Saskatoon Sponsored by Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership
With a staff of just under 200 people, Crestline Coach is Canada’s largest distributor of emergency specialty vehicles and commercial buses. As a marquee Canadian exporter, the company has offices across Canada and the United States. Throughout its history, Crestline has shipped products to 32 different countries. Further expansion continues through Eastern Canada, the US, and Middle East markets where a significant investment in health care infrastructure is being spent and demand for North American made ambulances is strong.
Growth and Expansion – The Saskatoon Cooperative Association Limited, Saskatoon Sponsored by PFM Capital Inc.
Over the past ten years, the Saskatoon Co-op undertook massive replacement activity of its older assets, and pursued new opportunities that resulted in $150.4 million dollars-worth of capital expenditures realized within the cities of Saskatoon, Martensville and Warman. Last year Saskatoon Coo-op was named the 22ndlargest company in Saskatchewan based on revenue.
Marketing – Hillberg & Berk, Regina
Sponsored by Handy Special Events
In 2007, Founder & CEO Rachel Mielke, started Hillberg & Berk which designs, manufactures, retails and wholesales luxury jewellery for the mass market. Hillberg & Berk’s ambitious marketing strategy allowed the company to achieve 600% growth over the last five years.
A major sponsorship deal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and with the Edmonton Oilers helped to increase brand awareness in rural Saskatchewan and Alberta.
New Venture – Black Bridge Brewery, Swift Current Sponsored by The Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy
Black Bridge Brewery first opened its doors in October 2014. Passion, dedication and attention to detail can be seen and tasted in every drop of craft beer brewed and packaged by the company. Owners Clayton and Kari Stenson sold 2290 hectolitres of beer in three provinces in the first year of business, supported local charities and organizations with monetary and in-kind donations, and developed 14 seasonal beers that have created a proven following. Currently Black Bridge is on tap at over 50 restaurants and bars in Saskatchewan.
Priority Focus – Park Town Hotel, Saskatoon Sponsored by Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority
The Park Town Hotel prides itself on being an inclusive and diverse employer. With more than 40 per cent of its employees self-identifying as immigrants to Canada, the property boasts a dynamic and culturally sensitive work environment. New visitors to Canada not only find employment within its ranks, but often utilize the property’s Park Lane Apartments located directly behind the hotel, as transitional housing as their families immigrate. The company also assists staff to participate in English classes, provides transportation assistance, extended and flexible absence policies and more.
Service – Viterra, Regina Sponsored by Minard’s Leisure World
In the business of grain handling and marketing, Viterra has made significant investments in its employees, technology and infrastructure to provide customers with superior service. Viterra employees develop solutions that can make the individual farming businesses better through a customization of grain contracts to technological products that give farmers immediate access to information, ensuring that each customer has what they need to succeed.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award –
Elysia Vandenhurk and Natasha Vandenhurk (Three Farmers Products),
Sponsored by Cameco
With Elysia’s background as a Red Seal Chef, Natasha’s expertise in economics, and their combined passion for agriculture, the two women partnered to form a food brand that offers healthy, quality, products with full supply chain transparency to their customers, who increasingly want to know where their food comes from. Three Farmers has grown from a locally recognized brand in 2011 to a nationally recognized phenomenon sold in over 2000 locations in Canada.