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Chamber of Commerce hands out hardware

When Jeff MacLean got up to accept the Business Leader of the Year Award at the Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet Thursday night, he said there are some days that are just bad days. March 3 was a bad day. They had to announce that they were cutting jobs as one of the tire lines was ended.

Pictured are award winners from the Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet. From left: Johanne Hulshof, accepting for Alain Bosse; Peter Doucette, general manager at Sobeys Atlantic; Karl and Rebecca Whiffen, Uncle Leo’s Brewery; Jim Fitt, Chamber president; Kristen and Tyler MacLane, Crossroads Country Market; Anne Marie Colbert and Jeff MacLean, Michelin; Don Fanning, general manager of Big 8 and James Lundrigan, MC of the event. 

How the company handled the aftermath of that though, is what earned them the award. They helped employees transfer to other jobs, offered early retirement to some and severance to those they had to. Then they established Michelin Development to help create jobs in the community to replace those that had been lost.

Through it all, the company has continued searching for ways to get more jobs at the plant.

One of the most frustrating thing MacLean said he hears is that Michelin is closing. That’s not true. He said they remain one of the largest manufacturers in the Atlantic provinces.

“This plant is not dying,” he said.

The response was a standing ovation from the crowd present.

While the past year was a difficult one for businesses in Pictou County, the atmosphere was positive and upbeat at the Chamber event which was keynoted by entrepreneur and author Barb Stegemann who offered encouragement in her address.

Other awards were handed out as well.

The Barrie MacMillan Entrepreneur Award went to Chef Alain Bosse, who has promoted the region for 31 years through his culinary and hospitality expertise.

The Export Recognition Award sponsored by NSBI went to Big 8 Beverages who have worked hard in the last couple years to expand into the international market including China, Barbados and Aruba.

“The win-win is we have reinforced 30 solid jobs in Pictou County,” General Manager Don Fanning said.

Large Business of the Year sponsored by the Municipality of Pictou County went to Sobeys. This year they acquired Safeway making them an even stronger presence in the grocery world.

Small Business of the Year sponsored by RBC went to Crossroads Country Market. The market was started by the Jenkins family and is currently run by Tyler MacLane.

The New Business of the Year Award sponsored by Michelin went to Uncle Leo’s Brewery which opened in June 2013 and is already making its presence known. They recently won a gold medal for their German specialty beer.

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