Dwayne Gauthier describes the last four years as a “windstorm.”
In that period, he and brother Darren poured their energy, and at least 18 hours of the waking hours every day, into building two business success stories, Restaurant 27 and Lounge and Urban Landscaping and Construction Ltd.
The twin brothers’ dedication was recognized on Tuesday when their Restaurant 27 was picked as one of three Business of the Year Award recipients at the annual Red Deer Chamber of Commerce event.
“It was an honour and a surprise — a very big surprise,” said Dwayne on Wednesday. “We were kind of shell shocked last night.”
Since then the congratulatory emails and phone calls have been pouring in.
The last few years have been a wild ride for the brothers.
Four years ago they started the landscape business with a couple of lawnmowers and which has since taken off. Then, in January 2008 they opened the first Restaurant 27 in downtown Red Deer and the following year opened a new version at the former Capers Pasta and Ribs location at 3301 Gaetz Ave.
It has been doing well, but not without a lot of work, said Dwayne, who admits they wondered more than once what they had gotten themselves into.
“The reason for the success of the restaurant is we’ve tried to work so hard to have the restaurant work with the staff, rather than have the staff work for us, and make it just a good place to work and fun place to come to work,” he said.
He sees the nomination as a “pat on the back” for that effort and he is grateful they were recognized by the local business community.
“It’s a big honour for us and for all the staff that work with us. It’s really their doing.”
Another Business of the Year recipient has faced a big test with the recession, which dealt a hard blow to the construction industry.
At Red Deer-based Scott Builders Inc. that has meant looking farther afield for projects, tackling projects outside their usual bread and butter, and ensuring clients are happy.
It’s an approach that is paying off, and the company’s role as a business leader has not gone unrecognized. On Tuesday, the company won in the category for companies with more than 50 employees.
Murray Cunningham, the company’s vice-president and general manager of the Red Deer branch, said the recognition was a welcome surprise.
“It was very neat. It’s certainly not something we expected.”
Cunningham said he was asked after the ceremony at the Red Deer College Arts Centre what the award meant for the company’s direction.
“I thing this means we keep doing what we’re doing,” he said. “We stay with our plan.”
Scott has about 70 employees in Red Deer where the head office is located. Up to 150 people work out of all six branches, in Alberta and Ontario.
He credited staff for stepping up to find more jobs, travel longer distances and spend more hours on the job to help the company, which was started in 1971, stay busy at a time when construction dollars have dried up, particularly in Central Alberta, where business is driven by the oil and gas industry.
“We’ve really worked hard in the last few years to take care of our clients well. Because there isn’t as much work out there we have to do each project so much better because there’s so much competition for new work.”
For oilfield equipment manufacturer CARE Industries Ltd., being chosen Business of the Year in the 16 to 49 employees category caps off what is shaping up to be the best year ever for the 10-year-old company.
“It’s a really good recognition for the management group and all the efforts they’ve put in over the past year,” said company president David Leonard.
The company has been on a roll the past couple of years. Revenues were up 35 per cent in 2009 compared with a year earlier and Leonard is expecting revenues to be up in the range of 120 per cent this year.
CARE owes much of its success to a partnership with Tuscany International Drilling Inc., a Calgary company that’s active in South America and has been aggressively building up its rig fleet.
“Getting into that South American has definitely been a key for us,” he said. CARE’s equipment is already attracting interest from other international buyers.
“It’s tough market to crack. It takes you a couple of years,” he said. “But if you build a good product, and people see it working and like it, it opens up more doors.”