San Group named Business of the Year in Vancouver Island excellence awards

Mark Anson, owner of Timber Tiles in Port Alberni, right, defends his Crystal Award from Kevin Wenstob, owner of Wenstob Timber of Sooke, the stars of the Netflix TV series Big Timber. Anson won the Manufactured Wood Products category at the 2022 Grant Thornton LLP Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards on March 17, edging out Wenstob. (DEAN KALYAN PHOTO)Mark Anson, owner of Timber Tiles in Port Alberni, right, defends his Crystal Award from Kevin Wenstob, owner of Wenstob Timber of Sooke, the stars of the Netflix TV series Big Timber. Anson won the Manufactured Wood Products category at the 2022 Grant Thornton LLP Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards on March 17, edging out Wenstob. (DEAN KALYAN PHOTO)
Kamal Sanghera, fourth from left, along with other members of San Group and Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions, accepts Business of the Year honours from Mark MacDonald, third from left, of the Business Examiner. Sanghera et al were honoured at the VI Business Excellence Awards March 17, 2022 at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria. (DEAN KALYAN PHOTO)Kamal Sanghera, fourth from left, along with other members of San Group and Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions, accepts Business of the Year honours from Mark MacDonald, third from left, of the Business Examiner. Sanghera et al were honoured at the VI Business Excellence Awards March 17, 2022 at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria. (DEAN KALYAN PHOTO)

VICTORIA – San Group of Port Alberni was named Business of the Year and Ignition Motorsports of Duncan the Small Business of the Year at the 21st annual Grant Thornton LLP Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards Thursday, March 17 at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria.

San Group was one of three Port Alberni winners: Mark Anson of Timber Tiles earned Manufactured Wood Products Business of the Year honours, while Dave Koszegi Group of RE/MAX of Nanaimo won Real Estate Business of the Year. Koszegi’s business is based in Port Alberni.

READ: Nine Alberni Valley businesses nominated for excellence on Vancouver Island

Port Alberni had nine finalists in the annual business awards, which took a pause in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Awards handed out on March 17 were for both 2021 and 2022. Earth, Land and Sea was runner up in the Small Business of the Year category. Flurer Smokery and Shelter Farm were both named runners up in the Food and Beverage Business of the Year category. Flurer Smokery relocated from Campbell River more than a year ago.

West Coast River Lodge was runner up in Hospitality/Tourism Business of the Year. Jim’s Clothes Closet (Port Alberni and Courtenay) was runner up for Retail Business of the Year.

Two local businesses—Alberni Electric and Alberni Power and Marine—were runners up in the Trades Business of the Year category.

San Group co-owner Kamal Sanghera said this award is particularly special to the Port Alberni operation, and he thanked his employees for everything they have put into the company. “No one believed in us when we wanted to build a mill and world-class manufacturing plant in Port Alberni. Now we’ve received this award,” Sanghera said.

“We want to give our thanks to our employees and the City of Port Alberni for supporting us. It’s that support that makes this award extra special, and particularly (from) our employees. Without our employees, there is no award.”

San Group Inc. is a vertically integrated forest products company, headquartered in the Lower Mainland with several divisions in Port Alberni. Their operations include timber harvesting, sawmilling, lumber remanu­facturing, value added lumber manufacturing, global distribution sales and consumer retail sales via their San Cedar Direct stores. San Group manufactures its products in Port Alberni and exports 100 percent Canadian-Made wood products to more than 27 countries.

Ignition Motorsports has grown into a full service 8,000 square foot motorcycle shop and a staple of Cowichan Valley over the past 10 years. They host motorcycle track days at Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit and have gained a large sport bike following thanks to their involvement there.

The event was canceled last January due to COVID-19 public health orders.

“This was a great celebration about the best of the best in Vancouver Island like never before,” says Mark MacDonald of Business Examiner, which coordinates the event. “It’s been a very long two years since we’ve been able to gather at events like this, and we’re grateful that so many wonderful businesses have been able to make it through such difficult, unprecedented times and have success stories to share and we could celebrate with them.”

Grant Thornton LLP was the title sponsor of the event. RBC Royal Bank, Van-Isle Windows and Coastal Community Credit Union were gold sponsors, with Black Press Media as the media sponsor. Category sponsors included Vancouver Island Construction Association, M&N Mattress, Freedom Capital, Pulver Crawford Munroe LLP, Mid Island Co-op, Van Isle Windows, OnPoint Benefits, Henley & Straub LLP Personal & Business Law, Canadian Western Bank, Waypoint Insurance, CBRE Investment Properties Group and Engel & Voelkers – Bronwen Campbell.

Because there was no BE Awards event last year, nominations covered the last two years – 2020 and 2021. Nominations were, as usual, evenly split between companies north of the Malahat and south of the Malahat. Nominations came from all over Vancouver Island, and there were 72 finalists.

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