South Dundas celebrates local businesses with annual Excellence Awards

By Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
South Dundas celebrates local businesses with annual Excellence Awards
2021 South Dundas Business Excellence Awards – The Municipality of South Dundas handed out eight business exellence awards at a ceremony held at the South Dundas Municipal Centre November 15. Pictured above (l-r): Steven Byvelds – South Dundas mayor, Jesse, Devon, and Ron Swank – Swank Construction, Ryan Gilmer – Gilmer Pharmacy, Jenny and Brian Rijke – Rijke Produce Farm, Jason Bourgon – Jay’s Tire and Repair, Darius Campeau – Henderson Meats, Roseann Kelly – Upper Canada Playhouse, David Ross – Ross Video, Alex Parker – Alaboard, and Rob Hunter – South Dundas economic development officer. More photos on page 11. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – South Dundas awarded businesses excellence in the community for 2021, handing out the hardware for its third annual business awards November 15.

Eight local businesses and individuals were honoured at the ceremony held in council chambers for their contributions to business, innovation, and work in the community.

Jeff Poapst, who chairs South Dundas’ Economic Development Advisory Committee said that, “these deserving individuals are recognized for their outstanding work this year.”

A business that relocated to South Dundas in 2020 won this year’s Business of the Year award.

Jay’s Tire and Repair moved from Ingleside to Williamsburg, buying the former Pinkus Tire building on County Road 31 in 2020.

South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds said people didn’t know what would happen when Pinkus Tire closed but the addition of Jay’s Tire and Repair to Williamsburg was great.

“We are certainly glad he has chosen South Dundas and the village of Williamsburg to set up shop,” Byvelds said.

“I’ve never won an award in my life so this is the first one,” said company owner Jason Bourgon. “I’d just like to thank the Municipality of South Dundas, our staff, and everyone who supports us every day.”

Brian and Jenny Rijke, who own Rijke’s Produce Farm on County Road 2 just west of Morrisburg won the New Business award for 2021.

Alaboard, which returned to the Morrisburg Industrial Park early in 2021 at the former Parker Professional Painting building, won this year’s Innovation Award.

The Innovation Award recognizes a new process or way of doing things that made an impact on the business and/or the community.

For the third year in a row the municipality’s largest private-sector employer, Ross Video, won an award. This year it is South Dundas’ Green Award.

“We’ve won Emmy Awards but we’ve never won a Green Award before. Green is new to us,” said company CEO David Ross, highlighting the company’s commitment to green energy as it expands its Iroquois plant.

Darius Campeau, whose company Ottawa Valley Meats bought Henderson Meats near Dunbar earlier this year, won the municipality’s Agriculture award. Since buying the company, the abattoir has expanded and added new employees.

Ryan Gilmer, a third-generation pharmacist at Gilmer Pharmacy in Iroquois won the Young Professional award.

The award is given to a business person under the age of 40 who has made a positive change in the community.

Weathering the storm of pandemic closures and capacity restrictions has been a challenge for many businesses, more so for the Upper Canada Playhouse. After launching a successful fundraising campaign to help with pandemic recovery, the theatre reopened its doors earlier this fall to the delight of theatre-goers and community supporters. The theatre’s pivot in the pandemic earned the UCP this year’s Tourism Award.

The Community Builder Award was given to a company whose business is all about building communities.

For three generations, Swank Construction has built residential, commercial, and agricultural buildings in South Dundas and beyond. Now the company has embarked on its largest project yet and broke ground in 2020 on the Dutch Meadows subdivision project at the west end of Morrisburg. Ron Swank accepted the award on behalf of the company saying it was an honour to follow past recipients 100 Women Who Care organization and John Ross.

“For the last three generations, our roots have grown deep into this community. It has always been a priority for us to actively invest and give back to this community,” he said. “Our hope has been that in at least a small way our community involvement has helped families and fellow businesses of South Dundas to grow and thrive.”

This article was originally written for and appeared in The Morrisburg Leader.

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