The bumpy road to business success can be successfully navigated with passion and perseverance.
That, according to the victors at Saturday night's Kamloops Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards, is the key to a long and successful career no matter the path taken.
"Success in business, there's going to be rocky roads. It's guaranteed, and there's going to be many," Darryl Caunt of Mibroc Group told The Daily News after winning the Excel Personnel Business Person of the Year award.
"So, when you start a business, choose one you're incredibly passionate about."
Caunt was honoured along with 16 others during a lively ceremony at the Coast Kamloops Conference Centre.
Complete with a Havana theme, salsa dancers, and chocolate cigars, the evening celebrated the best in Kamloops business.
The big surprise of the night came for Anthony Salituro, the recipient of the latest President's Award. Owner of Viva Bridal and Jardine's and founder of the Pink Ribbon Charity Ball, Salituro was almost in tears as he took the stage.
"What an amazing honour this is. I'm completely shocked," he said.
He started the Pink Ribbon Ball 16 years ago to help his aunt, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The ball became the premiere fundraising event in Kamloops and made a huge difference in many women's lives.
The final ball was held last month. All told, Salituro raised $600,000 to combat breast cancer.
"I love my work. I love what I do. I love my stores," said Salituro. "But my heart and soul for the last 16 years, what I've put into this to create this legacy in Kamloops, is something so important to me. It's something I'm passionate about doing."
Salituro loves Kamloops and says it's an amazing and generous community to work and live in.
"I will continue to give back to this community for as long as I can," he said.
Top 40 Woodworks owner Jack Mendes pursued his passion for 21 years. In his case, he went from being the only employee to managing a business with 50 people under him.
Mendes' company won Community Futures Business of the Year and the BDC Manufacturer award.
Caunt and Mendes were almost speechless as they accepted their awards. Mendes said earning Business of the Year is an honour.
Once off the stage, he had a hard time putting into words the secret to his success. In the end, he said go into business for the right reasons.
"In short, love what you do. Have passion for it," he said.
During his acceptance speech, Caunt said he's had several mentors, including his parents and an elementary school teacher who taught him how to develop an entrepreneurial spirit.
It's also important to surround yourself with a talented staff and put the customer first, he said.
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And the winners are . . .
Excel Personnel Business Person of the Year: Darryl Caunt, Mibroc Group
Community Futures Business of the Year: Top 40 Woodworks Ltd.
Home Hardware First Nations Business of the Year: Mannytan Tanning Co.
Kamloops Business Magazine Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Jaethan Reichel, iTel Networks
Aberdeen Mall Retailer Award (1-10 staff): Sakred Skin & Studio Ltd.
Underwriters Insurance Brokers Retailer Award (11 plus staff): The Horse Barn
BDC Manufacture Award: Top 40 Woodworks Ltd.
Tourism & Hospitality Award: South Thompson Inn Guest Ranch and Conference Centre
BCLC Technology Innovator Award: AxiMech Robotics
KGHM Ajax Mining Incorporated Home Based Business of the Year: Holly Eburne Coaching Service
Berwick on the Park Service Provider Award: Kelly Funk Photography
Kamloops Lincoln Service Provider Award (11+ staff): South Thompson Inn Guest Ranch and Conference Centre
Venture Kamloops Resource Industry Award: Harper's Trail Winery
BC Hydro Green Award (1 to 10 staff): Snug Glee Bumz Diaper Service
Rocky Mountaineer Green Award (11 plus staff): New Gold Inc. - New Afton Mine
City of Kamloops Community Service Award: Daley & Company LLP Chartered Accountants
President's Award: Anthony Salituro