Peanut Buster ‘Perfect’! Dairy Queen takes home Business of the Year

It’s been a year of ups and downs for Rob and Dean Hamill — owners of Red Deer’s four Dairy Queen stores.

Rob Hamill of Hamill’s Dairy Queen accepts the award for Business of the Year as his wife

Rob Hamill of Hamill’s Dairy Queen accepts the award for Business of the Year as his wife

It’s been a year of ups and downs for Rob and Dean Hamill — owners of Red Deer’s four Dairy Queen stores.

In February, their father Gordon died unexpectedly at the age of 70. Better news followed, with confirmation that their 4202 Gaetz Ave. outlet had donated more money to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals — Dairy Queen’s national charity — in 2010 than any other Dairy Queen store in the country.

Then on Wednesday evening, Hamill’s Dairy Queen received the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce 2011 Business of the Year Award for businesses with 50 or more employees. Rob told those attending the awards gala at the Red Deer College Arts Centre that he was accepting the award in honour of his father and mother Heather, who opened Red Deer’s first Dairy Queen in 1967.

He also acknowledged that the months since Gordon’s passing have been tough.

“He was always the leader. Even though he hadn’t been involved in the day-to-day operations of the store, he was always there to bounce ideas off, always there to say how things were going.”

Sharing the spotlight with Hamill’s Dairy Queen were L.A. Radio Group Ltd. and Red Deer Discount Golf Centre. L.A. Radio Group was named 2011 Businesses of the Year for operations with 16 to 49 staff, while Red Deer Discount Golf topped the field among businesses with 15 or fewer employees.

“It’s been a real dream of Sonia and I, since day 1, to have a radio company, and we’ve worked really hard,” said Troy Schaab, who owns and manages L.A. Radio Group with his wife Sonia Sawyer-Schaab.

The couple launched Lacombe-based Sunny 94 in 2006, followed by KRAZE 101.3 three years later.

Dave Hoppe, who operates Red Deer Discount Golf Centre with his wife Amanda, minced few words when describing his reaction to their award.

“Wow, this is pretty cool.”

Like his fellow award recipients, Hoppe credited the local community for its support. He noted that Red Deer Discount Golf — which opened in 1994 and has been operated by him and Amanda since 2003 — is now one of oldest independent golf shops in Canada.

“This is an accomplishment that we’re very proud of, and something made possible only by our great community.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate