As a part of small business week, which runs from Oct. 19 to Oct. 24, the Lacombe Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Business and Community awards gala. The event aims to celebrate local businesses as well as community members who are making a difference in Lacombe.
Like many events this year, the awards gala has been forced to adapt and go digital due to COVID-19. However, this isn’t deterring nominees from celebrating.
Under normal circumstances, there would be a champagne reception, a delicious meal and live entertainment for the award nominees to enjoy. This year, that is not the case.
“With all the different health restrictions it just ended up that doing that kind of event was just not going to happen,” Monica Bartman, Lacombe Chamber of Commerce executive director, said.
This year the event will be live streamed on YouTube.
Many nominated businesses and individuals plan on gathering at local restaurants and watching the live-streamed event together.
Maria Saganis is a server and hostess at her family’s business Leto’s Steakhouse and Bar. She is this year’s winner of the Individual Customer Service Award and will be watching the event live at Leto’s on Oct. 24.
“I’m incredibly honoured,” Saganis, who has lived her whole life in Lacombe, said. “This is the first time I’ve ever won anything like this.”
Saganis was nominated by a community member and chosen as a winner by a selection committee. She said she feels very thankful for those who nominated her, and she is grateful for the community she continues to serve.
Having worked for her family’s business since she was 14, Saganis says she was taught the value of good customer service from a young age.
“Something my parents have shown me is the importance of having pride in your job and making people feel welcome,” Saganis said.
She is very excited about the Saturday event and is proud of her parents and brother and said she is sharing this award with her family.
“Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am.”
According to Saganis, Leto’s is almost fully booked for the viewing party on Saturday evening. Other businesses that are showing the live stream are Boston Pizza and Cilantro and Chive.
The pay-by-donation event will be streamed on Youtube from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 24. Viewers can register for the gala on the Chamber of Commerce website and will be emailed a link to the video. Another way to watch is by making a reservation at one of the restaurants that will be showing it.
“It will look totally different, but I am excited about about how it will turn out and maybe we’ll create some changes for how we do things in the future,” said Bartman.