Fifteen Burlington businesses are finalists in Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award

By Walter Byj

BURLINGTON, ON.  March 3, 2013.  How often do we drive by a business in the city and wonder:  what exactly does that company make or what services does that business offer?  We all know what products Ford makes and many in Burlington will know who Fearmans is; but what about the 100s of smaller industries that are spread throughout the city that contribute to the growth and sustainability of this city?  Are there companies you didn’t  know about who provide a service you can use?

Burlington has companies that employ hundreds of people. Each year the Burlington Chamber of Commerce   invite the public to nominate companies that they deem to be the best  in one of five categories.

The Chamber then gives those nominated to a committee that interviews and determines which is the best of those nominated.

The 2013 winners of the Business Excellence Award for each category will be announced at the upcoming Chamber Business Awards gala to be held on April 11th.

There are five categories:  Manufacturer, Retail/Wholesale, Service (Small), Service (Large) and Employer of The Year.

Following is a brief description of each of the finalists in each category.  How many do you recognise?


Apex Composites Inc.  This manufacturing company located on John Lucas Drive in Northeast Burlington, originated in 2002 as a supplier and repair facility for race cars. However, like most progressive companies, they set their goals higher and along with highly trained personnel and sophisticated equipment, they now participate in parts manufacturing in the highly sophisticated aerospace and defence industry. The ability to meet the demands of their customers, should bode well for this company in the future.

Battlefield Graphics.  Established 1964 in Stoney Creek , this commercial printing company moved to its current location on Harvester Road in 1988.  Privately owned by the Theoret family, Battlefield Graphics, with a current staff of 85 people, has not only expanded over the years but has continually updated its presses so that it can meet the requirements and demands of its North American customers.  You may be familiar with some of their work as they produce the GM car catalogue and are a supplier for in-store signage at Wal-Mart.  Combining a strong sense of service along with the most up to date technology, this company has plans beyond North America as they strive to be a global player.

Marshield Radiation Protection & Storage Units  Many of us have benefitted from at least one of their products whenever we are seated in a dentist’s chair; the  dental apron is just one of their many products. Located on Morris Drive and established in 1979, the company is a division of Mars Metal Company.  Their products are also used in the nuclear industry not only in North America, but also for selected international accounts.

Shipway Quality Stairs & Railings.  Established in 1980 and located on Ironstone Drive, this company has become one of the premier staircase and rail makers not only in Ontario, but also throughout North America. With over 100 employees (craftsmen), this company is synonymous with quality and customer service which has enabled it to earn a strong reputation in the designing and building of stairs and rails.


Frid & Russell Business Products.  Filling business supplies needs since 1947, this Canadian office supplies company located on Ironstone Drive has become the largest independent office supply company in Southwest Ontario. Serving an area from Toronto to Kitchener to Hamilton this founding member of Office Plus has maintained their market dominance through a focus on competitive pricing and strong customer service.

UPS Store # 89  Located on Fairview Drive, this independently owned franchise is geared to serve small businesses. As the name suggests this outlet is equipped to package and ship parcels worldwide. In addition, they offer digital print and copy services along with a mailbox service.

Throat Threads Apparel  Originating as a tie company by Russ Fearon in 1993, this company has grown exponentially over the past number of years. Located on Plains Road East in a large century building, this company has yearly gained distribution rights for a number of highly recognizable international brands in such categories as men’s sportswear, dress shirts, belts, women’s wear and footwear. Some of their better known brands are Ping, Tommy Hilfiger and Swiss Army brands. Using strong sales and marketing skills, their products are located in a vast array of retail stores in Canada.


AIS Solutions  Offering expert financial advice, this company, located on the South Service Road, is ideal for those small businesses that required financial solutions but are not large enough to maintain their own staff.  By outsourcing their accounting or bookkeeping requirements to the AIS  Solutions team, smaller business will receive expert advice and solutions to a number of business requirements at a very reasonable cost.

Pat’s Party Rentals  Providing the necessary accoutrements for a large variety of social gatherings such as weddings, corporate events, fund-raising or trade shows has been the goal of this company for over 25 years. Established in 1987 and recently consolidating two locations into one larger facility on North Service Road, they provide not only the product required but also help with planning ideas.

Seferian Design Group  How often do we observe a nicely landscaped area and wonder who was responsible for this island of beauty?  Well, it just might be the Seferian Design Group. Established in 1992 and with a client list of well over 100, this landscape architecture and design firm has been beautifying residential, commercial and industrial areas throughout the golden horseshoe and beyond. Located on Ontario Street, this firm is the recipient of many awards.


Ampersand Group  Located on Billings Court, this hospitality focussed company offers, through its numerous divisions, expertise to clients in the hospitality business. Their services range from consulting and implementing unique restaurant experiences to software that enables a restaurateur to better track and record many aspects of their business.. Some of the Burlington restaurants Ampersand works with are The Dickens and The Rude Native and Prime Rib.  They also provide catering services at the Burlington Art Centre and the Performing Arts Centre.

Neelands Refrigeration Limited  We may take the refrigeration sections in our grocery store for granted but not so for Neelands. In operation since 1958 and located on Palladium Way in North Burlington, this distributor of a number refrigeration companies, helps in the design, location and logistics of a variety of refrigeration units within a store.  The ability to provide a full service menu to their customers has enabled this company to be highly respected in their field.

The Idea Factor Inc.  Highlighting and  promoting  their clients to potential and existing accounts is the target of this firm that is located on the North Service Road . The use of telemarketing, direct mail or other unique avenues helps in reaching out on behalf of their accounts for new customers. Representing accounts in both Canada and the U.S., their unique and innovative methods has enabled them to be in business for over 25 years.

 Employer of the Year

In 2012 the Chamber felt it was time for Burlington to recognize an Employer of the year.  This year two companies were nominated.

O.C. Tanner Recognition Company Ltd  To help motivate and then recognize the efforts of employees is the target of this firm that is located on Fairview Drive. In Canada since 1982, they work with a large number of employers in developing incentive packages that set targets and respective awards for their employees.

Thrillworks Inc.  Recognizing the growing influence of the internet and importance of a powerful web page was the genesis of this company located on the South Service Road.  Using a five step approach, they offer a one stop all service package for all of their clients. Some of their better known accounts are Tim Hortons, Pet Valu and Petro Canada.

There you have it – the fifteen companies that were nominated by their peers and will now go through a rigorous vetting procedure that is kept very confidential until the night of the awards.



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