Business Excellence Awards 2013




Business of the Year 2013

Passion and dedication, along with years of planning and hard work, took Leslie Wilber-Campbell’s vision to reality with the opening of Strides in 2006. Then in April 2011 a major setback tested her resilience. Seizing the opportunity to ensure the building was better than new, even tweaking the original floor plan and improving the equipment, Strides was back to business within months. Loyal members continue to grow in numbers, and the club has responded to member demand with expanded hours, classes and fitness options. Strides’ growth is the major factor behind the MacMillan Centre expansion, planned to double in size.



Finalist: Business of the Year Category

Groundbreaking construction and remarkable renovation projects are hallmarks of RYC Property Ltd. The new Cup of Soul Cafe location (7 Horne Road) is RYC’s latest showcase of its commitment to deliver absolutely the best results and most remarkable renovation projects. Another RYC property is Convent Lane townhouses, where careful design and attention to detail provide outstanding rental accommodations for seniors – and one of the first Energy Star buildings in Nova Scotia. Other RYC properties include Buchanan Place, Donaldson Place & Cameron Place in Enfield. That’s a lot of ground broken since the company was founded in 1998 by J.P. Cyr.



Finalist: Business of the Year Category

How does a thriving local business respond when its office space is bursting at the seams? Caldwell-Roach Insurance’s answer is under construction on the corner of Pine Hill Drive. This local business has been growing since founded by Ron Roach and Ken Caldwell in 1965. With offices in Truro and Elmsdale, 35 staff provide insurance products and services to people and businesses everywhere in Nova Scotia. Caldwell Roach takes pride in getting to know their clients to provide them with the coverage they need. For a great story, check out this video.




Business Person of the Year 2013

Nancy and her husband Greg found their true calling seven years ago when they started to handcraft premium chocolates, truffles, fudge & specialty items. Never one to do anything halfway, Nancy’s goal was to create truly extraordinary chocolates – a noble but daunting ambition. However in everything that she does, Nancy is never afraid to meet a challenge head-on. Nancy’s tenacity, exceptional marketing skills and dedicated hard work have grown The Sweet Spot Chocolate Spot Ltd from an impossible dream into a true sweet spot, popular with locals and visitors alike. The commitment to quality, detail and outstanding taste comes through with every bite.


Finalist: Business Person Category

According to local lore Rob’s entrepreneurial spirit showed first in high school, taking lunch orders at HERH. High school ended but Rob’s business didn’t. According to Rob, “Bitar’s has been more than a business, it has been a passion project, a livelihood.” From the original pizza take out shop in 1998, Rob has added sit down seating, dine-in services, expanded menu options, wine service and a patio. This past year Rob doubled the restaurant seating to better serve large groups and smaller private ones. Rob’s vision has given our community a refined atmosphere where people can enjoy a fantastic meal with the convenience of staying close to home.


Finalist: Business Person Category

Florence MacArthur has achieved the remarkable growth of Elmwood Child Care by making the families of East Hants her priority. Parent and childcare educator Tracy LeFrense explains: “Parents of Elmwood Child Care have described Florence as a true professional who always demonstrates patience and kindness towards each and every child. She expresses a genuine interest in working with children and has a strong belief in the importance of the early years. Florence has a wonderful ability to connect with people which is apparent in the positive relationships she has built with her employees, the children and families.”




Community Booster of the Year 2013

From collecting pennies to collecting soup – the Realtors at Exit Realty 1st Call make time for community contribution. For the past seven years, they have organized ‘Hey Hey Hey Help Fill the Sleigh’: It started out with an antique sleigh parked at the grocery store, inviting folks to toss in a few groceries, but it grew to decorating trucks, going door to door and gathering tons of food to stock the shelves of local food banks. Rock-a-thons for ailing friends, “This is How We Roll” penny collecting for local schools, sports team sponsorships, auctions and sponsoring Communities in Bloom events – Exit Realty 1st Call is a company with heart.


Finalist: Community Booster Category

Elmsdale Recycling has about sixty (yes 60!) accounts set up to collect donations and distribute funds to community organizations. Even if it means adding staff to facilitate a big bottle drive, Kevin MacLean, owner of Elmsdale Recycling, is happy to help out. Some bottle drives raise over $1,000 for a community organization! As well, community organizations have set up accounts so community members can drop off their recyclables and ask that the funds be applied to that account. Whether it’s the Lions Club or Relay for Life, we all benefit. Recycling plastic into dollars for the community – now that’s great 21st century multitasking.


Finalist: Community Booster Category

Susan Sangster, owner of Shooters, and manager Beth MacDonnell are always looking for ways to give back to their community – from helping a local family at Christmas to supporting the local furry community with the Lab Rescue Auction. You may find a fundraising auction in progress or 50/50 tickets being sold on Wing Night. Shooters is a proud supporter of the East Hants Penguins Junior B team. In a community crisis, whether it’s a search and rescue or the death of a local hero, Shooters helps out. It takes a community to build a community, and Shooters is very proud to be a part of the East Hants Community!



Outstanding Customer Service Award 2013

Juggling hot coffee pots, demanding schedules & hungry customers: you could say restaurateurs are on the front lines of customer service – a cross between your mother and your psychologist. In this environment Allison Pryor excels, providing exceptional customer service as manager at Bitar’s. Allison is always warm and welcoming, even when the restaurant is busiest. As one customer was heard to say, “I came in tired and hungry, and I’m leaving full and refreshed. The food was great but I come for the service.” Allison ensures Bitar’s staff are friendly and professional, supporting a growing business. Allison’s dedication to providing the ultimate dining experience sets her apart.


Finalist: Outstanding Customer Service Category

In 1989 Sharon Prest went to California to learn how to help her son succeed in reading, and she did that – but it was just the beginning. Since 1992 Sharon has been providing remedial reading and spelling therapy. Now a Regional Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Sharon still takes great pride in providing the one-on-one therapy her students need to become successful readers and go on to further their education. Grateful parents say Sharon “definitely goes above and beyond”; “gives her students the confidence they need to continue on and be successful”; and “has made the future brighter for my child”. Kudos to Sharon for growing our future entrepreneurs, employees and customers!


Finalist: Outstanding Customer Service Category

The folks at Leno’s Stop Shop understand the connection between a successful business and attention to your customers. When you walk into Leno’s, Laura Lea Roberts makes you feel welcomed and valued. Customers of all types and ages have commented on her friendliness and positive attitude. Laura Lea loves working at Leno’s, and says that for the past 7 years, she has looked forward to coming to work every day. Whether you need pet food, a cold drink or just a pack of gum, that personal touch makes a world of difference.



Rising Star Award 2013

Frogs, happiness, java and soul – how does an entrepreneur blend these diverse elements into a successful business? You’ll have to ask Pam McNeill, owner of The Cup of Soul Cafe, which opened in March 2010. Her fresh baking, wonderful organic coffee and homemade soups & sandwiches combine with a funky atmosphere to create an enjoyable experience. Three years in, the cafe has moved across the road and expanded, so more people than ever are enjoying the Cup of Soul Cafe, where eating well can taste great. Food for thought…variety is the spice of life, give it a try!


Finalist: Rising Star Category

Successful entrepreneurship means seeking out new opportunities and diversifying for growth. Turning milk into wine? Although it might sound like a miracle to most of us, for John Eikelenboom it sounded like an opportunity to diversify his family farm in rural Shubenacadie. So far, it has been a four year process to open his new 4,000 square foot retail facility, where John will start selling his own wine from the 32 acres of Rines Creek Vineyard. Lots of hard work and dedication have gone into the growth of this new business, bringing investment and employment opportunities to rural Nova Scotia.


Finalist: Rising Star Category

In a rather nondescript shop on Highway 2, hides one of the most talented and prolific portrait tattoo artists in our country. Kirt Silver at Silver City Tattoos is an award winning artist, teacher and all around great guy. Kirt has received tremendous attention on the international stage and his work has been featured in prominent tattoo magazines world-wide. Despite the pressure to move to larger markets such as New York or L.A., Silver City Tattoos brings to East Hants a client list that features famous actors, musicians, politicians and more. See Kirt’s work here.



Tom Parker Chamber Member of the Year 2013

Rick Ramsay understands that an organization won’t get far without a plan. In 2009-2010, Rick was integral in developing the EHCC’s three year strategic plan, and in 2013 he is spearheading an update. Rick’s experience & knowledge, along with his clear, strategic thinking, have provided strong leadership in his role as president of the EHCC for the past three years. In 2012 he was Vice-President of the Nova Scotia Chambers of Commerce. Rick’s contribution to the community also includes Treasurer of the East Hants Family Resource Centre and Chair of the Resource Recovery Board of Nova Scotia.


Finalist: Tom Parker Chamber Member Category

Greg McTiernan is the first to admit that the popularity of his wonderful chocolate is an uneasy fit with his self-professed shyness. Luckily for the EHCC, that hasn’t slowed him down. The EHCC has benefitted greatly over the past four years from Greg’s dependable commitment and thoughtful presence. Currently the EHCC vice-president, Greg has a strong ability to connect with people and move a project forward. Like any good entrepreneur, Greg draws on all his varied life experience – even the military police! – to succeed as a business person at The Sweet Spot Chocolate Shop.



Exporter of the Year 2013

Have you ever been south at Christmas and wondered where your Christmas tree came from? Perhaps from Scothorn Fa­­rms Limited, a 5th generation family farm in Hardwood Lands. Alfred Scothorn started the Christmas tree operation in the early sixties when trees were sold for a mere 35 cents! Now the trees are one of Nova Scotia’s best loved exports, with about 150,000 aromatic Nova Scotian balsam fir trees from seedlings to 15 feet tall covering 130 acres. At the U-Pick, you might also see some of the wildlife that make their home in and around the tree lot.


Finalist: Exporter Category

Like the whales that inspire her, Jennifer’s carvings travel far beyond Nova Scotia. Marlow is a ‘masterful carver’ and her whales have ‘a mystique and a magic’. (From a review by Chronicle Herald Arts Reporter Elissa Barnar of Jennifer’s summer show at the Secord Gallery.) For Jennifer, the maritime carving tradition embraces heritage, environment and art while demanding implicit trust between hand and eye, intricately linking the tactile with the aesthetic. It also encourages improvisation, whether in style or practice, the uncertainty of outcome rich in promise and surprise. Sounds like a lot of entrepreneurship goes into every carving!


Finalist: Exporter Category

Labrador, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland are greener places thanks to the hard work of Elmsdale Landscaping Limited. This family business now crosses three generations, dating back to 1954 when Dennis Coupar Landscaping cut sod and stacked it on trucks by hand, and delivered to customers on green trucks purchased used from DND. Growing over the decades, the company purchased its largest sod farm in 1988 – the former Maitland Dragway (in WWII it was a USA Air force base!). Today the business employs 130 people and has over 1,000 acres of sod fields in production, with the facilities to harvest more than one million square yards annually in Lantz, Dutch Settlement, Hardwoodlands and Selma.



Young Entrepreneurs of the Year 2013

Most kids in today’s world can’t wait to get home and play their video games. Not for twin brothers Reiley and Connor Day! By age 13, they had already started their landscaping business. Better Days Landscaping got its start when their grandmother started to pay Connor and Reiley to mow her lawn. Neighbours soon saw what a great job they were doing, and hired them. From there, their business grew like wildfire. Each year when spring came, the brothers couldn’t wait for the snow to melt so they could get started on making their customers’ lawns looks great.  In the spring of 2011, Connor and Reiley registered their business. Today at the age of 20, these young entrepreneurs have built an established landscaping business with over 80 clients throughout East Hants and HRM. As dedicated business people, Reiley and Connor give back to our community by volunteering to move lawns for veterans. Recently they have joined Junior Achievement of Canada, to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

Member Services


Over 90 businesses & organizations participating this year! A-mazing!Be sure to get out that day with your postcard and get it stamped by at least 6 participating businesses! Pick one up that day or print yours off at a list of participating businesses that day visit ... See MoreSee Less
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TIME TO TIDE FEST AGAIN 👏Have you heard? After a two-year hiatus, East Hants will once again play host to the largest homecoming event in the community. JULY 15 & 16Tide Fest 2022 brings back many of the fan-favourite events of years past, including music, the East Hants Sport Heritage Hall of Fame, youth ball hockey, washer toss, adult soccer, and more!Details at tuned for announcements! ... See MoreSee Less
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📣 CONTEST 📣 CONTEST 📣 CONTEST 📣💥 Visit at least 6 participating Open East Hants Day businesses on May 28th for a chance to win! 💥 2 prize draws of $150 value each of participating businesses products and services. Winners' choice!! 💥 To print off your contest card please visit:💥 Or collect them that day from participating businesses while quantities last. 💥 Enter more than once! ... See MoreSee Less
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Open East Hants Day 2022! Bigger than ever with 4 Pop-Up Market locations and over 90 businesses and organizations participating so far! Here are the businesses participating outside the pop-up markets so far. For the full list visit: registered yet? Go to: ... See MoreSee Less
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Come check out what East Hants has to offier on Saturday, May 28th! Participating businesses will be showcasing their products and services and maybe offering samples, contests, and specials that day! To see who is participating and what they are offering please visit: created by 6 Lock Productions ... See MoreSee Less
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