“It feels great.”

These are the words of Meadow Lake and District Chamber of Commerce director Trevor Dignean as he prepares for this year’s Meadow Lake Business Excellence (MLBEX) Awards, an event scheduled to be held in-person at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre Nov. 5 after going virtual last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of the details are still being worked out, as we have a meeting scheduled for Wednesday night (Oct. 20) but the gala will begin with cocktails from 5 to 6 p.m. followed by the banquet at 6 p.m. and the awards program to follow.”

Proof of double vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result administered by the Saskatchewan Health Authority will be required to attend the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Oct. 15 was the deadline for nominations and, as of this week, the Chamber released an unofficial list of nominees for each award.

New this year is the Roots of Hope Workplace mental Health Award.

“Anne Duriez from Roots of Hope approached me about this a year ago, and I also had Geoff Barton from The Medicine Shoppe approach me about this too – the importance of workplace mental health, especially during the times we are in,” Dignean said. “They thought it would be good to recognize businesses in the community that go over and above with their employees’ mental health.”

While the overall list of nominees is extensive and there can only be one winner in each category, Dignean also stressed how valuable it is simply to be nominated.

“The most important part is being nominated because that means someone in the community has recognized you over and above others when it comes to the level of service you provide,” he said. “To be nominated is the biggest compliment you can get.”

As for the gala itself, Dignean reiterated the importance of ensuring everyone who attends remains safe.

“That is the number one priority for us, and that is why we have eliminated the dance portion of the evening,” he said. “We did have a country rock band coming, but have since cancelled that part because of COVID concerns. Hopefully everyone who does attend is comfortable, is able to follow all the rules and we will be able to have a safe, fun event.”

Nominees for this year are as follows:

Business of the Year:
Eagle Creek GM
Eatery on Main
Cookies on Call
Nu-Line Auto Body
The Medicine Shoppe
Nor’Wester Motor Inn
Russ’ Small Engine Repair
The Shop
The Wireless Age
Schwing’s Meating Place

New Business of the Year:
Flat Out Small Engine Repair
Russ’ Small Engine Repair
Head’s Auto Body
Cookies on Call
Fitness Lair

Customer Service of the Year:
Vickie Senger, M.L. Co-op Food Store
Brenda McCallum, The Bears Den
Breanna Chretien, McCall’s Hair Design
Brittany Main, Eatery on Main
Tori Wood, Eatery on Main
Shaylene Britton, Cookies on Call
Devon Culbert, M.L. Properties
Melissa Moore, The Wireless Age
Rochelle Dancy, The Shop
Irving Berlin, Schwing’s Meating Place
Doris Earis, Freedom Wash & Wax

Community Builder of the Year:
Physicians of Meadow Lake
Kassidy Dunsing
Al MacFarlane
Brian Treptow
DJ King
Regan Beck

Volunteer of the Year:
Meadow Lake Fire Dept.
Karlee Mazuren
Jeff McCallum
Alannah Farr
Nicky Munroe
Meagan Beck
Brody Cameron
Rhys Beaulieu
DJ King

Female Entrepreneur of the Year:
Amy Allen
Jayce Senger
Brandie Campbell
Karlee Mazuren
Shaylene Britton
Laurie Bundschuh
Priscilla Millar
Kassidy Dunsing

Indigenous Leader of the Year:
Robert G. Fiddler
Cody Montour
Patricia Main
Ashley Roy
DJ King

Young Business Leader of the Year:
Jenna Poitras
Brayden Short
Kassidy Dunsing
Shaena Thompson
Shaylene Delorme

Multicultural Business of the Year:
Dairy Queen
McCallum’s Auto Body

Non-profit/Community Organization of the Year:
Meadow Lake Early Years Family Resource Centre
Meadow Lake and District Humane Society
M.L. and District Youth Soccer
Northwest Community Lodge Association
RCMP Youth Advisory Committee
Turning Point Youth Centre
Positively Parenting
KidsFirst Meadow Lake

Roots of Hope Workplace Mental Health Award:
Mental Health and Addictions
Ministry of Highways
Home Hardware Building Centre
Eatery on Main