Lakeland Ford named Samuel McLeod Business of the Year

Lakeland Ford managing partner Scott Newsom speaks during the 30th Annual Samuel McLeod Business Awards at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Thursday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

For the third time since the creation of the Samuel McLeod Business Awards, Lakeland Ford is Prince Albert’s Business of the Year.

Lakeland took home top honours in 1993 and 2015 before winning the 2020 Business of the Year award on Thursday. Despite that history, Lakeland managing partner Scott Newsom said it was still a bit of a surprise to win.

“It really is an immense honour to be recognized as Business of the Year, especially in a community like ours where there’s so many great businesses and business leaders,” Newsom said during a shortened ceremony at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre.

Lakeland beat out G&P Plumbing and Heating and Lehner Electric for the award. Newsom said all three deserved the award for their service and impeccable reputation in the community.

When he accepted the award back in 2015, Newsom credited Lakeland staff for the business’ success. Five years later, his opinion remains unchanged.

“We have 65 staff at the store who are absolute professionals,” he said. “We have a management team that are second to none in the industry, and we’ve made a family of people who live by those core values of trust and respect.”

Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Elise Hildebrandt said Lakeland Ford has met a high standard for years in Prince Albert, so she wasn’t surprised to see them recognized.

“Obviously, they are an amazing business and they’ve been in the community for a long time, so they’re going to be marked for their excellence,” she said.

Thursday’s ceremony was a much more subdued version of what chamber organizers originally planned. The awards were supposed to celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2020, but many guests and dignitaries were forced to send in pre-recorded remarks to keep the event from breaking provincial health guidelines.

There was at least one benefit though—the delay allowed organizers to get remarks from Terry McLeod, the great-grandson of Samuel McLeod.

Hildebrandt said a local business leader tipped them off when McLeod visited last summer, and got him to record a brief message.

“It was a real surprise when we got a phone call,” Hildebrandt said with a chuckle. “I said, how do I meet him?”

“I had the opportunity to visit with him, and he had so many memories of racing through the different houses and part of the community, so it was pretty cool to have him in our office,” she added.

Gordon thanks family after winning top Female Business Leader Award

Shelley Gordon placed her pharmacy career on hold to take a deep dive into the world of business, and that gamble has paid off.

Sixth Avenue Car Wash and Ziebart Plus Uniglass has thrived since Gordon and her husband Mike Kerkowich purchased it in 2008, despite a few challenges along the way. On Monday, Gordon was recognized for those efforts by being named the 2020 Samuel McLeod Female Business Leader of the Year, something she never thought about when she left the world of pharmacy.

“I tell my customers, ‘don’t worry, it’s not me installing your windshield,’” Gordon joked during her acceptance speech. “We all can succeed with the right team.”

“I do know customer service, and my goal is to show people how much we appreciate them supporting our small family business,” Gordon added. “There were many struggles and challenges over the years, and it’s reaffirmed to me that no matter what happens, I can handle it. It’s not always pretty, but you’ll get through it.”

Gordon said the key to her success was a strong team, and the support of her family. Running a business takes an incredible amount of time, she explained, but family members were willing to sacrifice to help Gordon and her husband succeed.

She said the COVID-19 shutdown has shown her than being smart and hard-working isn’t enough to keep a business going. Even the best owner sometimes needs a helping hand.

“Tough times and getting through these times with the people you love and amazing staff really shows the true character of a business leader,” she said. “I now realize that business leadership does not always mean you win. It means during tough times, you lead.”

This isn’t the first time Gordon has been nominated for the Female Business Leader of the Year Award, and Chamber CEO Elise Hildebrandt said it was no surprise to see her win.

“If you follow her business along in any of the social media fields, she is always putting different ideas out there,” Hildebrandt explained. “She’s part of our business task force we’ve just barely started to work with, and Shelley has always got amazing and fresh ideas.”

Carol Gregoryk and the Sskatchewan Health Authority and Mona Selanders of the Corenet Hotel were also nominated for Female Buisness Leader of the Year

Wienrich named Male Business Leader of the Year

Joe Wienrich of Riverside Dodge was name Male Business Leader of the Year on Thursday, beating out Fred Matheson of Ted Matheson’s Men’s Wear and Jim Southam of Prairie Cannabis.

Wienrich was unable to attend Thursday’s ceremony, but Hildebrandt said his win also came an no surprise either.

“Joe’s just got amazing ideas,” she said. “He’s part of the Rotarians, and he gives back to the community.”

Wienrich began in the car industry at the age of 18, and worked in every available position to learn the business and to better relate to his staff. His team to ownership of Riverside Dodge in 2015.

List of winners:

Business of the Year – Lakeland Ford

Male Business Leader of the Year – Joe Wienrich (Riverside Dodge)

Female Business Leader of the Year – Shelley Gordon (Sixth Avenue Car Wash and Ziebart Plus Uniglass)

Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Jeremia Corrigal

Legacy Award Winner – Janine Favreau

Non-Profit of the Year – Hope’s Home

New Venture Award – Lakeland Co-op

Business Transformation Award – Gem Denture Clinic Inc.

Community Involvement Award – Sixth Avenue Car Wash and Ziebart Plus Uniglass

Customer Service Award – G&P Plumbing and Heating

Marketing Award – Prince Albert Winter Festival