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Tag: Pincher Creek Chamber of Commerce

Pincher Creek Women in Business group snowshoeing

Empowering entrepreneurs

The women of Pincher Creek are poised to drive the region’s evolving business and leadership scene, and Pincher Creek Women in Business is at the forefront of this transformation.

Established in 2018 under the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce, this group is dedicated to supporting women in their professional development, empowering them to steer their ventures toward success.

“We realized that most new businesses in our area are being opened by women. So, we developed the Pincher Creek Women in Business group to help support women in business, to help educate them and help them with networking,” says committee chairwoman Jill Bruder.

The initiative stemmed from recognizing women’s growing participation in the region’s business landscape, as highlighted by the chamber of commerce board of directors. Leaders like Marie Everts and Cassie Ducharme laid the groundwork for this transformative endeavour, igniting a movement that continues to empower and connect local women.

With over 400 women participating, the group has become a beacon of inclusivity and empowerment. Unlike traditional organizations, Pincher Creek Women in Business has no formal memberships or registration processes; the ethos here is simple — anyone, regardless of her stage in business or industry, is welcome.



“We started very, very small with zero budget, just trying to see what was needed in our community,” Jill explains.

“Our committee is completely volunteer-driven, and we use people’s contacts to find presenters. We do not have a formal registration process. We just open this up to any woman who wants to come.”

The group hosts events throughout the year, ranging from seminars on navigating difficult conversations in the workplace to workshops on leveraging social media for business growth.

They have even delved into more light-hearted activities like snowshoeing and outdoor yoga, ensuring that gatherings are informative and enjoyable for all participants.

Beyond the networking and educational opportunities, the group aims to foster mentorship and support for women at all stages of their careers. Recent events have facilitated open discussions on the challenges of entrepreneurship, allowing women from various backgrounds to share insights and experiences.


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“We have everyone from house painters to nail technicians to bankers to hotel managers, and everything in between,” Jill notes. “Our goal is to provide a welcoming place to support women, educate them and provide networking experiences for people in all levels of business.”

Looking ahead, Pincher Creek Women in Business is poised to further engage with the next generation of women entrepreneurs, recognizing the importance of nurturing young talent and providing opportunities for exploration and growth.

As it gears up for its upcoming event — Perogies, Planning and Partnership —the group reaffirms its commitment to supporting women in business and creating a thriving ecosystem of empowerment and connectivity.

The event, scheduled for April 11, promises not only to build perogies but also to forge new local partnerships, symbolizing the essence of what this group represents: collaboration, camaraderie and community spirit.

Angela Parnal will be leading the charge, showcasing the spirit of collaboration and partnership that defines Pincher Creek Women in Business.


Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


Ace of spades card on ad for Chase the Ace at the Pincher Creek Legion


Three word bubbles reading The Winner Is .... attached to a line with coloured clothes pins.

Businesses and shoppers support Christmas contests

“You just made my Christmas,” said Peggy Johnson on hearing she was the grand prize winner in Shootin’ the Breeze’s annual Shop Local for Christmas contest.

Her comment made my day.

Even better was meeting her in person with a box of gift certificates and merchandise that was her winnings. As we went through the items, she gleefully devised how to use each one.

She doesn’t plan to use them all for herself, but to treat others who have been kind to her. This made my Christmas and I left her home with a happy heart.

Stacy Benson, now back in her role as manager of the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce, shared similar experiences of delivering prizes for the chamber’s Holiday Passport campaign.

The contests are similar but different, with both incentivizing shoppers to spend locally.


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Stacy caught the tail end of things when she returned to her position in late December after a year-long maternity leave. She says collecting entries and prizes from the businesses and handing gifts to the winners was an excellent way to go around and get her boots on the ground.

Only member businesses have the perk of participating in the chamber campaign. This year, 40 businesses donated a total of over $3,500 in prizes, which were divided into three prize packages. 

Gwen Toews was the grand prize winner, with Alysha Matheson and Cathy Spencer receiving the other two packages. More than 4,500 passports were entered, tracking $909,000 spent at the participating businesses.

As Shootin’ the Breeze serves both Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass, all area businesses are welcome to take part. Fifty-four did just that and were most generous, with prize donations surpassing $4,000.

Along with Peggy, Sam Valin, Diane Bowen-Oczkowski, Carole Goodreau, Susan Soloveoff, Maureen Thomson, Stef Dowdell and Curtis Trim won major gift packages. This year’s contest-in-a-contest winners were Donna Rose, Alex Ingram, Shelley Maloff, Joanne Oliver and Donna Cisar.



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Patrick, Bette and Philip Mitchell accept the Farm Family of the Year Award for Flint Rock Ranch.

Flint Rock Ranch wins Farm Family of the Year

The 2023 Farm Family of the Year is none other than the Mitchells of Flint Rock Ranch, a new addition to a long-trusted name in cattle ranching in our community.

“We were pretty shocked, the award was extremely unexpected,” stated Patrick Mitchell, Flint Rock’s head of hospitality.

“We thought, no way we are gonna win. Even if you don’t think you’re gonna win, be prepared just in case,” he said with a laugh.

Since the 1950s, Mitchell Bros. Beef has been raising high-quality, 100 per cent grass-fed cattle in southern Alberta. Recently, Flint Rock Ranch has expanded its business, hosting a variety of events with local musicians, including Frog Fest. In addition, the ranch offers unique accommodations in three different Airstream RVs and three cozy cabins.

“This award definitely gelled our spot. Feels good to know our hard work is getting noticed,” Patrick said.

“We could not have done it without Lori Holmes and her countless hours of volunteering this summer. I’d also like to shout-out Marie Everts who has been a huge resource for us. She’s in our corner. It’s helpful to have locals that are so supportive,” Patrick mentioned.

As a family, the Mitchells have been working together on their business, spending more time together on the ranch, growing together. From construction to networking, each brother has his own niche skills to help out.

To have a successful business in Pincher Creek, Patrick said, “Be persistent and patient, and don’t leave anything outside that can get blown around by the wind.”

In the coming seasons, the Mitchells plan to shift their focus from beef more to hospitality, with great success in rentals this past summer. There is a potential for more community events like ranch dinners and dances.

Flint Rock Ranch extends a kind thanks to whomever nominated them and to the community for continued support.

The Mitchells accepted the Farm Family of the Year Award at the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce’s 28th annual Awards of Excellence, held Oct. 20.

Five other families were also nominated in this category. Read the nominations here.

See all Awards of Excellence category winners here.


Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


Patrick, Bette and Philip Mitchell accept the Farm Family of the Year Award for Flint Rock Ranch.

Flint Rock Ranch won the award for Farm Family of the Year. Pictured from left are son Patrick with parents Bette and Philip Mitchell. | Photo by William Cockerell


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Tanya Du Plessis, wearing a sparkling red dress, stands in front of the Awards of Excellence backdrop with her trophy and certificate.

Tanya Du Plessis secures Young Business award with sweet lemonade stand

During August’s rodeo weekend, young entrepreneurs set up lemonade stands and other treats for residents and visitors to enjoy in the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce Lemonade Day competition. This year’s overall winner was nine-year-old entrepreneur Tanya Du Plessis of Tanya’s Lemonade.

Posted on Main Street under a brightly painted stand, Tanya sold scrumptious snacks and three flavours of lemonade: original lemon, raspberry and blueberry-apple. She also became a vendor at the farmers market this year, and said her secret ingredient is lots of sugar.

Although she started off shy, Tanya persevered.

“I thought that if I tried and worked hard, I could win,” she said.

Setting an example for upcoming entrepreneurs, this young lady demonstrated how a little customer service, creativity, courage and effort can go a long way. When asked to share tips to other young entrepreneurs, Tanya said to work hard and be patient.


Tanya DuPlesis and her Lemonade Day stand

Tanya DuPlessis and her mother Christine pose at her cheerful lemonade stand outside Pincher Office Products on Lemonade Day in August. | Photo by Mia Parker

If Tanya could serve one celebrity her famous raspberry lemonade, it would be Taylor Swift.

Tanya said, “I feel really good” about winning the Young Business Award.

Her mother, Christine Du Plessis, said she is proud of her daughter’s courage to start up her business endeavours.

“Since her lemonade was so successful, we are working on getting her started with a handmade bracelet line as well,” Christine said.

Pincher Creek has seen only the beginning of what this little lady can do. You can find Tanya’s other creations on social media in the coming months!

Tanya received the Young Business of the Year award at the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce’s 28th annual Awards of Excellence, held Oct. 20.

Mallory Nelson was also nominated in this category. Read the nominations here.

See all category winners here.


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Tanya Du Plessis, wearing a sparkling red dress, stands in front of the Awards of Excellence backdrop with her trophy and certificate.

Tanya beams with pride at Pincher Creek Chamber of Commerce’s 28th annual Awards of Excellence. | Photo by William Cockerell


Heading for Farm Family of the Year Award nominees in the Pincher Creek Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence

Six nominated for Farm Family of the Year

Six families were nominated this year in the Farm Family of the Year category of the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence.

The category is open to a rancher, farmer, or agricultural producer who represents strong values and maintains a healthy environment with a positive approach to agriculture. The nominee can be a couple, an individual or a family with outstanding management skills and strong community spirit.

The 2023 Farm Family of the Year Award was presented to Flint Rock Ranch at the Awards of Excellence gala on Oct. 20.

Enjoy the nomination snippets provided by the Chamber of Commerce and read Flint Rock Ranch’s story here!

Brylor Ranch (Bryan and Sherry Mackenzie)

Bryan and Sherry are exceptional volunteers, and they have raised their children and mentored others to have a passion for volunteering in the community as well. Every year, they take on the huge task of organizing and running the 4-H concession at the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo. They raise award-winning Red Angus cattle and are incredible stewards of the land and environment.

Flint Rock Ranch  (Mitchell family)

Flint Rock Ranch is a new addition to a long-trusted name in cattle ranching in our community. Mitchell Bros. Beef raises exceptional-quality, 100 per cent grass-fed cattle, and now they have diversified to offer unique ranch stays in their Airstream RVs and cabins. They also host a variety of events that often feature locally grown musicians.

Hy Country Ranch (Paul, Tanya Whipple and family)

Paul and Tanya Whipple are a dedicated family who work hard together on their cattle ranch, and they are very conscientious of how they raise and treat their animals. Despite the many demands of running Hy Country Ranch, they take the time to volunteer with the skating club and coach the school basketball team. They are kind and helpful to so many people, and they quietly support our community in many ways.

Mark and Jessica Maunsell

Mark and Jessica are incredibly positive and supportive in both agriculture and the community. They contribute a great deal through participation and donations, and they involve their family in agriculture and own businesses to support the community.

Rafter 6S Cattle Co. (Brooke Slade, Donavan Barr and family)

Brooke and Donavan started from a few head of cattle, and they have worked hard to grow their herd and follow the best practices possible in order to produce high-quality local beef. They are a hard-working family and young ranchers in the community, and Donavan also works for the Town of Pincher Creek and does some custom farming in the area.

Turnbull Charolais (Curtis, Nanette Turnbull and family)

The Turnbull family has been supplying high-end bulls to Pincher Creek and the surrounding area for decades, and they deliver them to the customer no matter the distance. Curtis and Nanette have top-notch customer service and a quality product that has served the southern Alberta community for decades.


See all Awards of Excellence category winners here.


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Heading for Young Business Award nominees in the Pincher Creek Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence

Two nominated for Young Business award

Two young ladies, Mallory Nelson and Tanya Du Plesis, were nominated this year in the Young Business category of the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence.

The category is open to youth under 26 who exemplify leadership and unyielding determination to succeed as employees or business owners.

The 2023 Young Business Award was presented to Tanya Du Plessis at the Awards of Excellence gala on Oct. 20.

Enjoy the nomination snippets provided by the Chamber of Commerce and read Tanya’s story here!

Mallory Nelson – Baking for the Hut Café

Mallory’s baked goods are very tasty and they have great presentation. All of her selections are homemade and the flavours are unique. Mallory has the ability to adapt to various themes, and every time she puts her items on display they are sold out in no time. We see a successful young entrepreneur in Mallory.

Tanya Du Plessis – Tanya’s Lemonade

Tanya has the cutest little lemonade stand I’ve ever seen, and she has set a good example for our new generation. She started off a little shy, but she surpassed it, and she found the courage and put in the effort to make her lemonade stand inviting and creative. Tanya had a positive impact on our little town this summer.

See all category winners here.


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Pincher Creek Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence logo in gold text on grey background.

2023 Awards of Excellence Winners

The Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Awards of Excellence at a gala dinner Oct. 20.

Congratulations to all nominees and the following category winners:

Farm Family of the YearFlint Rock Ranch

Young Business of the YearTanya DuPlesis for Tanya’s Lemonade

Community Organization Impact Award – Adaptable Outdoors

New Business of the Year – Abuvmedia Productions

Home Business of the Year – Wild M Photos

Large Business of the Year – The Hut

Small Business of the Year – Fox Theatre

Chamber Member of the Year – Chalsey Peeters of Small Town Collective

Spirit of Pincher Creek Award – Randy Whitehead

Employee of the Year Award – Joanne Rainford of Training Inc.

Read about each winner from the links above. To view nomination snippets, click on the categories.

Young entrepreneur competition a sweet success

Rodeo weekend in August saw Pincher Creek residents and visitors treated to lemonade and other treats by the youngest entrepreneurs in town. After a few weeks to review everyone’s efforts, the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce is happy to announce the results of this year’s competition.

“The kids really all did a fantastic job,” says Linda Davies, chamber manager. A total of 20 kids participated between the 12 lemonade stands, and Linda commends them all for their hard work and creativity.

The kids were judged in three main categories: product, stand and business plan. Four local entrepreneurs — Tori Bailer, Rylan Brown, Dennis Robin and Alexandra Russell — scored the entries to determine the winners.


Averie Russell with her Lemonade Day stand.

Averie Russell

Averie Russell won for best lemonade and was praised by the judges for her classic recipe.

“They really liked that she had done the old-fashioned lemonade as she had actually squeezed the lemons,” says Linda.


Cheska Misa with her Lemonade Day stand

Cheska Misa

Best stand was awarded to Cheska Misa for her creative stand and signage made entirely from scratch with recycled materials.

“What put Cheska over the top was she had gone to an immense amount of work,” says Linda.


Emily and Daisy Osborn with their Lemonade Day stand

Emily and Daisy Osborn

The best business plan went to Emily and Daisy Osborne, who had won the overall prize last year with an ecojustice platform.

The winners of these three categories each receive $100.


Tanya DuPlesis and her Lemonade Day stand

Tanya DuPlessis and her mother Christine pose at her cheerful lemonade stand outside Pincher Office Products on Lemonade Day in August. | Photo by Mia Parker


The overall winner this year for lemonade, stand and business plan was Tanya Du Plessis.

“She had a great stand, really good customer service,” says Linda, also noting that Tanya has been a farmers market vendor and had a variety of lemonades and treats available for the judges.

In addition to the $300 prize, Tanya will be showcased at the Pincher Creek Awards of Excellence ceremony this October, with her product as the welcome drink.

It is clear to her that this competition promoting business skills for local youth was well received by the community.

“When I looked at the totals of how much the kids sold in lemonade, the community must’ve supported them really well,” says Linda.

“It’s fun for the community to go and support the kids, but I love that it kind of instils that entrepreneurial spirit in young people, too, because if it’s a lemonade stand this year, maybe it’ll be something even bigger and better as they get older.”


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Angus Rance with his Lemonade Day stand

Angus Rance

Ashton Webb with his Lemonade Day stand

Ashton Webb

Emmett and Olivia Smith Lemonade Day stand

Emmett and Olivia Smith

Everly Uhrbach Lemonade Day stand

Everly Uhrbach

Jace and Lexie Horwath Lemonade Day stand

Jace and Lexie Horwath

Rayen, Dylan, Rhia and Winry Warrior with their Lemonade Day stand

Rayen, Dylan, Rhia and Winry Warrior

Urijah and Madison Fox with their Lemonade Day stand

Urijah and Madison Fox

Kesler and Logann Brauer Lemonade Day stand

Kesler and Logann Brauer

Map of Canada indicating percentage of CEBA funding distributed by province.

Ottawa announces CEBA payment extension

After repeated calls by the business community, interest groups and opposition parties, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that his government is extending the loan repayment deadline for Canada Emergency Business Account to Dec. 31, 2026, one full year after the current deadline.

“We know that some need a bit more runway,” Trudeau said, after emerging from a Liberal caucus retreat Thursday.

“We’re giving small businesses in Canada more time to pay back emergency loans offered during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Between April 2020 and June 2021, close to 900,000 applications were made to the CEBA program, with a little over $49 billion handed out.

However, with only a reported 21 per cent of businesses, as of May 31, having paid back their loans in full, a large chunk remains unpaid.

The program, launched in the wake of the pandemic, originally had a payment-in-full deadline of 2022, but with a sharp rise in Omicron cases, the federal government, seeing a slowing in business bounceback, extended it to the end of 2023.

Those able to get funding of $60,000, for example, currently have until this coming Dec. 31 to pay two-thirds of the amount and have the last third, $20,000, forgiven.

The alternative, until Thursday’s announcement, for business owners was a two-year payment plan, at 5 per cent interest, due Dec. 31, 2025.

That deadline has now been extended by a year.

But will it be enough?



“This news comes with mixed feelings for the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce,” said president Rylan Brown in a statement Friday.

“It’s great that business owners who need more breathing room can express the option to extend the payment. The troubling part of this statement is that it’s only a short-term fix. It begs the question, what happens when the piper calls?”

Brown, though, is recommending businesses don’t go it alone.

“I would suggest that our members in this predicament speak with their accountants and lenders for a better long-term solution. Many lenders are stepping in to take over the loan so business owners can capitalize on the debt forgiveness and acquire a longer loan term to help soften the debt load,” he concluded.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, meanwhile, characterized the announcement as “disappointing.”

“The (federal) government has failed to address the most critical issue on outstanding CEBA loans — the loss of the $20,000 forgivable portion for those unable to repay the loans by year-end,” the statement opened.

“The extension of the forgivable deadline by a few weeks will be of very little value to the thousands of small business owners who just don’t have money to repay now.”

Figures compiled by the federation indicate that 69 per cent of small businesses that accessed the loan have not yet been able to repay any of it and only 18 per cent have repaid their loan in full as of September.

View the above image on the Government of Canada website here.


Related article:

CEBA repayment may sink one in five Alberta businesses

Shootin’ the Breeze – September 13, 2023

The joy of literacy

Const. William Feran of Pincher Creek RCMP stopped by Canyon Elementary School last Friday to read Dolphin SOS to Grade 4 students. Const. Feran and several other volunteers read to children as part of the school’s International Literacy Day celebrations, reminding students of the importance of literacy.


Blonde woman smiling and singing while playing guitar on the front page of Shootin' the Breeze Newspaper

Shootin’ the Breeze – September 6, 2023

Local market wrapping up season

Linda Davies, manager of Pincher Creek Farmers Market, was also the entertainment Aug. 23 for the weekly event at Cenotaph Park. The final farmers market of the year is this Wednesday, Sept. 6.


Five RCMP officers in red serge

Royal Canadian Mounted Parade

Button up your red jackets and put on your Mountie hats — this parade we’re celebrating 150 years of the RCMP.

“Parade is one of those small-town charm events where everyone — no matter their background, no matter their income, no matter their demographic — can all come together as a community and celebrate what we have,” says Marie Everts, longtime parade organizer.

“Businesses are always very creative and we look forward to seeing how they are going to be celebrating this milestone of the 150 years of the RCMP.” 

Saturday’s parade currently has 45 floats participating and the parade committee is eagerly welcoming more.

“We will happily take last-minute registrations, but we really encourage people to get registered prior to, so we can get all of our prep work done,” Marie says.

You can register a float for the parade with your name and organization on the events page of

“It’s a great time to showcase our business community and our organizations, and come together as one community to just be together and celebrate,” Marie says.


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Judges will decide on the best floats in eight categories: overall, municipal, organization/service club, commercial, horse section, cultural dress/traditional, children — bike/novelty, and vintage vehicle. Extra points will be awarded for adhering to the RCMP theme.

Linda Davies, manager of Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce, emphasizes community at this event’s centre.

“This is my first time attending the Pincher Creek parade, so I’m very excited to see all of my new community celebrating together, and the creative ideas that the businesses and the groups are going to come up with for their floats,” Linda says. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Marie agrees.

“Parade is fun, and celebrating community is so important to us to recognize what we have, why we live in this community, why we contribute, why we volunteer, and how that positively affects our residents and community members,” she says.

The parade is all-weather and begins down Main Street at 11 a.m., Aug. 19, in rain, snow or sunshine.

The family-friendly event entails lots of candy for children, but also requires community members to exercise safety and prudence.

“Together as a community, we need to ensure that parade is a safe space for everyone, so that includes ensuring that our kids and our small residents in the community don’t run in the street,” Marie says.

“We need to work together to have a safe, respectful parade so we can continue to do this event.”

This Saturday, the town of Pincher Creek looks forward to welcoming you to the parade.

“It’s shaping up to be a fabulous parade this year,” Marie says.


Kids trick or treating in lion costumes – one roaring and one smiling on the front page of Shootin' the Breeze. Alberta news from Pincher Creek area and Crowsnest Pass.

Nov. 2, 2022

Lion’s share of fun

Ames and Miles were spotted enjoying Spooky Town and the great weather Saturday at Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek.

Two smiling men with glasses show award trophy and certificate

Oct. 26, 2022

Community spirit shines

Fred White, left, accepts the Spirit of Pincher Creek Award from James Van Leeuwen at the Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence.