Picking up on the popularity of a growing sport has earned a Vernon company top nods as one of the best in business in the Thompson Okanagan.
The Pickleball Depot tied for Retail Business of the Year at the first annual Grant Thornton LLP Thompson Okanagan Business Excellence Awards at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna June 14.
“We are so proud of our hardworking pickleball team and are honoured to be part of such an amazing business community,” said owner Cara Arding. “Thank-you to our entire extended pickleball family for the amazing support over this last year.”
It’s the second honour the Vernon store has picked up this year, after being named Innovator of the Year by the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce in March.
Pickleball Depot has been in operation online since 2012, but only just opened the storefront shop and warehouse less than a year ago next to the Nature’s Fare head office.
“In September we moved the whole operation into town and opened a retail store,” said Arding. “We’ve only been open to the public for the last 10 months.
“Before, we were strictly online literally operating out of my garage at my home.”
And business is booming.
“The business has grown leaps and bounds along with the sport,” said Arding, who works with shipping manager Leah Peebles and paddle technicians Ryan Sharp and Steve Stafford.
“With the dedicated courts being built in Vernon our traffic in our retail store is picking up.”
While Pickleball Depot was the only Vernon company to pick up an Okanagan Business Excellence award, several other local names were nominated in the various categories:
– The Crate Escape Dog Adventures (community builder)
– She Devil Delights (entrepreneur)
– The Beauty Bar (entrepreneur)
– Roost Solar Inc. (green)
– One Step Foot Care (health care)
– Cobbler’s Rack Shoes and Repairs (retail)
– Caufields Engraving (small business, under 50)
– Nature’s Fare Markets (business of the year, over 50)
– Service Quality Measurement Group Inc. – SQM (business of the year, over 50)
The Official Program for the event, which includes information on each finalist, is available online at: https://issuu.com/markmacdonald7/docs/tobe_2018_book_for_website.
Grant Thornton LLP was the Title Platinum Sponsor for the event, and Innov8 Digital Solutions is a Gold Sponsor. Category sponsors included RBC Royal Bank, Sandler Training, Business Development Bank of Canada, Diversified Rehabilitation Group and 101.5 EZ Rock Bell Media. Black Press is the Print Media Sponsor for the event, coordinated by Business Examiner Thompson Okanagan newspaper.
The independent judges were Jim Anderson, Executive Director of Venture Kamloops; Glenn Mandziuk, President and CEO of Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association; and Anthony Haddad of Penticton’s Economic Development Office.