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Hamilton Economic Development

Spa owner nails it with business award

Alexis Fletcher started her spa business on her unheated front porch while on maternity leave about three years ago.

She had 10 clients who would hold her baby while Fletcher worked on their nails.

Monday night the mother of two was named the city’s young entrepreneur at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Achievement Awards.

Close to two dozen Hamilton businesses were celebrated at the ceremony.

Albanese Branding was named outstanding small business and FirstOntario Credit Union took the award in the large business category.

Fletcher, 35, opened Kabuki Spa and Skin Care Centre on Locke Street last summer. She now employs four and serves about 500 clients.

“I’m almost speechless,” she said, shortly after wiping away tears.

“I’m feeling a lot of gratitude. I don’t think I did any of this alone.”

She was joined at her table by employees and her clients. She took a call from her mom, a business owner herself recovering from surgery, shortly after accepting her award.

“I work crazy hard and to be recognized is fantastic.”

Textile company Fellfab won the chamber’s Ironman award and CareGo took the honours for communication technology. Mark Preece Family House was named outstanding not-for-profit.

Judge Steve Kulakowsky said he was amazed by the quality of more than 50 candidates the selection committee evaluated.

“There was a tremendous amount of quality applications. It showed the diversity of the city,” said last year’s young entrepreneur winner.

While business success was important, Kulakowsky says contribution and commitment to Hamilton were big factors for the five-member judging panel.

“This is the heartbeat of Hamilton,” Mayor Bob Bratina told the crowd of 510 people.

“You can’t have a city without an economy and you can’t have an economy without motivated people who are inspired and passionate.”

Chamber chair Louise Dompierre announced two new awards beginning next year. In partnership with the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, the chamber will institute a diversity award. As well, the 2014 awards ceremony will include the first group of inductees into a business hall of fame.

Century awards, marking 100 years of business in the city, were also handed out Monday to ArcelorMittal Dofasco, the Hamilton Port Authority, National Steel Car and Soper’s Engineered Fabric Solutions.

Accounting firm KPMG was awarded a business retention and expansion award from the city’s economic development department.

National grain handler Parrish & Heimbecker earned a new business award from the city.

“There isn’t a jurisdiction we operate in that we feel better about than Hamilton,” said vice-president Robert Bryson.

Twenty business and property owners in city business improvement areas also won community partnership and property improvement and maintenance awards.

Article courtesy of Meredith MacLeod , The Hamilton Spectator.

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