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Drive-in to host business awards

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A memorable evening is in store for members of the Thunder Bay business community as the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, together with Bell, plan a celebration for the 27th annual Business Excellence Awards.

Charla Robinson, president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, worked with her team to come up with the inclusive event in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Ontario ventures into the first phase of the reopening roadmap.

She said the in-person drive-in event will be the “first large coming together of the chamber business community since March 2020.”

“We think it’s great way to still get people out to celebrate together but in safe way,” said Robinson.

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The business award presentation will be held in a fun, drive-in theatre fashion.

“Instead of having a couple hundred people in a room, we will have a couple hundred people in their cars,” she explained. “We will have a stage and the giant drive-in theatre screen where we will present a mix of live and recorded video to announce the nominees and the winners.”

Each winner can can come up on stage to receive their award and have an opportunity give an acceptance speech — and there are no evening gowns or formal wear required.

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“It’s casual attire which is also a bit of a switch. I expect that some will bring their pickup trucks and have a little bit of a tail gate party in their own vehicle like you do when you go to a drive-in. It’s going to be really fun,” says Robinson. “I’m sure there will be honking of horns and people will be cheering and yelling in their cars and it will be a different way to celebrate, but hopefully there will a feeling of celebrating much more so then there would be with a general virtual award.”

She says the chamber team felt celebrating an award presentation on a zoom screen is not fun to do it because of the missing ambience from the crowd.

“You don’t get the feed back from the people. You want to be able to cheer for the nominees. You want to be able to cheer for the winners, and it’s not the same in your basement on a zoom screen, she said. “We really wanted to get people into the same space . . . where we can chat with each other six- feet apart outdoors and and still feel safe. It’s a safe way to really celebrate the super heroes of business.”

There are 46 business and individual nominees that will be vying for recognition from ten categories which include:

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• Business Excellence Awards (small, medium, large).

• New Business Excellence.

• Looking Good.

• Not For Profit Excellence.

• Quality of Life.

• Game-Changer.

• Clean, Green and Beautiful.

• Customer Service.

• Young Entrepreneur of the Year

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• Business Person of the Year.

The Business Excellence Awards will take place at Boomer’s Drive-In, Murillo Fairgrounds, 600 Poleline Road, on Wednesday. The fun begins at 5:30 p.m. with a pre-awards show and a dinner box. Award presentations take place at 6:30 p.m. and wind down with a complimentary movie and popcorn.

Pre-registration is required at www.tbchamber.ca/bizawards

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