Trail: Honouring business excellence

The Trail and District Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second annual Business Excellence Awards this weekend.

The Trail & District Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second annual Business Excellence Awards on Saturday at the Italo Canadese.

The Trail & District Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second annual Business Excellence Awards on Saturday at the Italo Canadese.

Business owners between Rossland, Trail and Fruitvale will be given a well-deserved nod this weekend when the district chamber hosts its second annual Business Excellence Awards.

The gala, “A Celebration of Success,” includes a ceremony to award top honours in ten categories including Business Person of the Year, Employer of the Year, Excellence under 40 and Go Green awards and a Community Service Award.

“The Trail and District Chamber of Commerce has supported local businesses since 1900,” says Executive Director Audry Durham. “And now we are honouring our local business leaders at our 2nd annual Business Excellence Awards Gala Event, Oct. 1 at Italo Canadese.”

Besides the awards ceremony, the evening includes a silent auction, four-course gourmet dinner prepared by Rossland chef John Premier, and a dance featuring the music of John Halliday.

It’s been just over one year since Durham began leading the chamber. Her first order of business this time last fall (in conjunction with the chamber board) was to envelop Rossland establishments into the Trail organization. This was achieved during a December gathering when Trail members whole-heartedly agreed to take the Alpine City into the fold.

Audry Durham

Another priority was to work with her energetic staff to increase visibility of the chamber itself the strategy must be working because tourism numbers did in fact climb this summer.

In July alone, 747 people signed into the Visitor Centre, which is up 292 guests, or almost 65 per cent from 2015. And the city’s RV Park operated at 70 per cent capacity instead of 25 per cent like last year. Numbers for August are very similar 767 visitors came to town compared to 425 in 2015, which is an increase of almost 80 per cent.

“This summer we welcomed visitors from as close as B.C., Alberta and Washington to as far as Mexico, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Sweden and New Zealand, just to name a few,” says Visitor Centre Manager Shannon McIlmoyle. “The main reasons people stopped into the Visitor Centre this year were for information on events, attractions, tours, maps, directions and to take a free Teck tour.”

The numbers are based on people who sign in at the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce (TCOC) and the chamber’s ”Info on the Go tents set up during local events such as the outdoor market.

Friendly faces getting the word out -it’s all part of the chamber’s goal to draw people in and have them stay awhile, instead of passing through town, crossing the bridge and driving east to shop and dine.

“We have been working like crazy at the Visitor Centre this year to increase the number of visitors that we can catch to stop in Trail ,” said Durham, noting “i sandwich boards on the highway are another tactic. “The idea is always to welcome and encourage visitors to stop and spend a bit of money. We’ve developed new rack cards to let visitors know what we have to keep them here and it seems to be working.”

The chamber collects daily stats as part of its contract with Destination BC, and Durham says the overall count is definitely on the rise.

So far this year more than 3,600 visitors have been to Trail compared to 2,700 for the whole of 2015. (Again, those are only guests who do stop into the Visitor Centre so likely there are more) “When I took over the position a year ago, my goal was to welcome 4,000 by 2017 ,” Durham shared. “And it looks like we might just do it.”