Vertical Cafe wins Business Excellence Award

Accolade honours innovative business that’s committed to providing strong service
Rob and Tania O’Toole at the gala after receiving the award. Photo from Vertical Cafe on Facebook.

Vertical Cafe has been awarded a Business Excellence Award, presented by the Kamloops and District Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of the valuable service it provides the community.

The Chamber’s Business Excellence Awards are presented to local businesses each year, with 15 award categories. Vertical Cafe won the People in Motion Service Provider Staff Award, intended for a business with one to 10 staff members that demonstrates commitment to customers, brings unique value to the community and has comprehensive employee training.

Rob O’Toole, who owns the cafe with his wife Tania, said it’s been nice for staff to be recognized.

“When you’re working hard and you’re busy, you don’t necessarily always see the fruits of your labour,” O’Toole said. “It was a bit of a nice validation that the guest experience we try to create is obviously striking a chord with people.”

O’Toole said they learned someone anonymously nominated them for the award in late spring. The Excellence Awards received a total of 177 nominations amongst the 15 categories.

A 30-person committee then reviewed all the submissions and selected finalists in each category. Vertical Cafe was a finalist in its category alongside Blackwell Dairy Farm Inc., FIT Financial and Interior Naturopathic & Wellness. 

“Then we had to go in and meet with some of the committee members,” O’Toole said. “They did a full interview and wanted to know a lot more details about our business philosophy and guest culture.”

On Oct. 27, the Chamber held a gala where the winners, including Vertical Cafe, were announced. Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Conference Centre was also a finalist for the Kamloops This Week Service Provider Award for businesses with over 11 staff members, although it did not win.

O’Toole said once all of Vertical Cafe’s employees arrive for the winter, they plan to have a potluck as a team celebration for winning.

He added he was surprised to see a business on the mountain win even though the Chamber changed its name to ‘Kamloops and District’ to reflect its updated regional focus earlier this year. 

“We never envisioned that being from Sun Peaks, our little shop would be recognized like that,” O’Toole said. 

“Coming out the other side of the pandemic, it’s been a nice icing on top of the cake here as we move into what we think’s going to be, hopefully, the busiest year yet.”

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