Alva Construction took home the Ian Spencer Award for Excellence in Business, at the Antigonish Chamber of Commerce business gala and awards night, Oct. 18.
Highland Bike Shop picked up two awards on the night; Young Entrepreneur Award for owner/operator Matthieu Fraser, as well as the Emerging Business Award.
The Export Recognition Award went to OceanLad IT – Dragon Veterinary, while Carrie Lynn Neary, product specialist with the Antigonish Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, earned the Outstanding Customer Service Award.
Alva Construction vice president Allan MacDonald said receiving the Ian Spencer Award “means a lot” and talked a little bit about the family history of the local business, now more than 85 years old.
“As was said, it started off with my grandfather and on to my uncle and father,” he said, paying special tribute to his parents for his personal success in the business.
“They gave me the opportunity to succeed in this business and with my brother [AG], his cooperation and patience with me, and mine with him, it works out pretty good … we’re a family,” he said, with a little chuckle at the ‘patience’ thought.
MacDonald noted AG’s son now works in the business, so the fourth generation has started.
“I have a daughter and young son so, hopefully, they’ll get into it too,” he said.
He noted employees of Alva become extended family.
“We treat everybody as family; and that’s why we have the full-time staff we have,” he said. “They’ve been with us a long time; some people have been with us the last 40, 50 years … I consider it a family.”
And his business motto; “treat people as I would like to be treated,” he said. “That’s the way I was taught and that’s the way I’ll keep it going … then everyone gets along.
“I just want to thank everyone for the nomination, votes and recognition; I feel quite proud today to be part of this community,” he added, as a closing thought.
Fraser said he felt “humbled” by his two awards.
“It’s great to have this amount of people see what you’re doing, the amount of effort I put into my business,” he said. “The heart, energy, just continuous work … it’s great, feels awesome.”
Jamie Bouchie, representing Dragon Veterinary, said it was a little bit of a “surprise” to be selected for the award.
“I wasn’t expecting it; we’re fairly new, not even two years old,” he said. “But I’m very honoured and proud to accept on behalf of my other partners; we have a great working team.”
Neary, like Fraser, used the word “humbled,” adding she is “very honoured” to receive the customer service award.
“I’m just really glad everyone enjoys me as much I enjoy helping them find whatever it is that suits their occasion,” she said.