Keynote speaker Tim Powers (from left) Bruce Mullett, president of the Mount Pearl-Paradise Chamber of Commerce; Colinda Gosse, owner of Café Mocha and event emcee Andy Newman chat prior to the start of the awards ceremony. — Photo by Danette Dooley/Special to The Telegram
As owner of Café Mocha in Mount Pearl, Colinda Gosse supervised a catered three-course meal at the Mount Pearl-Paradise Chamber of Commerce Best in Business awards banquet Wednesday night.
Later in the evening, Café Mocha was announced as the winner of the chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award.
Gosse opened her first café nearly two decades ago. Since that time, she’s grown her business from a small catering company to three thriving locations.
“We have between 20-23 staff right now. And people in Mount Pearl are starting to realize the importance of supporting small business. It’s the life of a city really,” Gosse said prior to the awards presentation.
When asked if she plans on growing her business, Gosse said if growth isn’t on a business owner’s mind, the business isn’t thriving.
“We’re always looking for ways to expand and make sure our customers are happy. We’re always looking for ways to get bigger and better,” she said.
The Mount Pearl School of Dance took the Community Spirit Award. Michele Newhook started the dance school in a church basement on Park Avenue more than three decades ago.
Amanda Chretien, Elisabeth Pardy and Erika Wilansky joined Newhook as co-artistic directors and owners of the dance school a year ago.
The school supports numerous initiatives to help children from low-income families participate in dance.
The event’s emcee Andy Newman noted that the event, held at the Reid Centre in Mount Pearl, was the first business awards banquet to encompass both Mount Pearl and Paradise.
Chamber president Bruce Mullett said the awards are an opportunity for the organization to recognize local businesses which are making a difference in their communities.
Paradise Mayor Ralph Wiseman referred to the nominees as the backbone of communities.
“Businesspeople make it work,” he said.
Media commentator Tim Powers served as the keynote speaker.
The St. John’s native is vice-president of Summa Strategies Canada and a lecturer at the University of Ottawa.
Drawing on his own business experience, Powers talked about the importance of building a strong team, hiring smart people, daring to be innovative and bold and standing up for what you believe in.
He suggested that business owners need to stay focused, treat people well, have a moral compass and give back to the community.
After recognizing the presence of the Northeast Avalon Joint Councils at the banquet, Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms saved his final remarks for the nominees.
“To all of those of you who are nominated tonight … this makes you a winner; it makes nobody on the list a loser. … You keep growing your business because that keeps growing our towns,” Simms said.