Phoenix Smith, left, receives the 2022 small business of the year award from Canadian North's Samantha Stuart. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Bella Dance Academy is Yellowknife’s new small business of the year, less than two months after longtime studio director Phoenix Smith became the company’s new owner.
Large business of the year went to CIBC, Jamie Stevenson Photography took this year’s Indigenous entrepreneurship award, and A-list Organizing won the community impact award at Friday night’s Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce event.
Michelle Tuma’s Northwest Territories Veterinary Services won the breakout new business award, in a year when Yellowknife’s vet clinics have been stretched almost to breaking point.
“This is a huge honour,” said an emotional Tuma as she described looking out at many clients in the audience. “Thank you so much for making my business successful. I want to say a special thank-you to my husband for sticking it out with me while I pursue this crazy career on my own.”
The Medicine Shoppe won the 2022 customer service award, Blunt YK won young entrepreneur of the year, and Avens received the workplace health and safety award.
The trailblazers women in business award was won by Down to Earth Gallery, owned by Rosalind Mercredi.
“We’re a pretty small organization … the good people of Yellowknife have really stepped up and made our gallery what it is,” Mercredi said as she accepted the award.
Old Town Glassworks picked up the final award of the night, for innovation.
“We’ve managed to take bottles and make them into trophies,” said Old Town Glassworks’ Matthew Grogono, gesturing to the trophy in his hand – which his organization made.
Smith, who became Bella Dance Academy’s owner on September 1, told Cabin Radio: “It just speaks to how much of an impact the studio already has. It feels good to be the one in charge and to have that under my belt.
“I’m very proud of my team for how they handled the transition, it’s been very smooth. The last two years, we won the health and safety awards – this year, small business of the year means a lot.”