Thumbs up to the SCBEX Business of the Year...
The Living Sky Casino is the recipient of the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce 2017 Member Business of the Year award.
Chamber of Commerce CEO Karla Wiens made the announcement during a surprise visit to the casino, Sept. 24. She was joined by chamber board members for the presentation to Living Sky Casino General Manager Trevor Marion.
He was expecting to receive a few people for an appointment, but then saw an entire group arriving.
“It was a really nice surprise,” he said. “They said the group moved to door nine, and I was like what's going on, and then to see you guys there. I though something big has got to be happening. So this is wonderful.”
The 60,000 square feet casino, which currently provides employment to 185 people, opened its doors to the public in December 2008.
The casino will kick off a five- month long 10th anniversary celebration this weekend with an event to reflect on highlights from the past decade.
“This is a wonderful honour,” he said about the business award. “Here we are, in our 10th year coming up. It means a lot to tie it in there, that we can say for this year it's our turn to brag that we're business of the year. You take a look at some of the businesses that have won this before. It's a great category and a great accomplishment to be in.”
There were some challenges along the way and the casino initially opened with a staff of 275, because it expected to attract many visitors from the 1.6 million vehicles travelling every year through the city on the Trans- Canada Highway.
“We expected a good chunk to stop, but for the first few years we weren't very good at stopping them and bringing them in,” he said. “So we had to drop our staff numbers a little bit, but we're coming back now and 185 is a great team to have.”
Sharing success is one of the key guiding principles of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority ( SIGA) and the Living Sky Casino has been applying that concept in the community.
“As part of being SIGA and being a partner in the community, that's what they want,” he said. “Our vision when we built here was not just to come and build a casino and take, but sharing success and being a part of the community, being a great corporate sponsor. and a corporate partner. That's what we wanted to achieve and I think we're doing it.”
The winner of this award is selected by the chamber's board of directors. It is presented to a chamber member that exemplifies leadership, innovation, corporate stewardship, community involvement, and customer service.
According to Wiens the board's decision to select Living Sky Casino for this award was unanimous.
“It's always a tough decision, because we have so many deserving businesses that the chamber likes to recognize as the member business of the year, but the Living Sky Casino has really outdone themselves on their past 10 years of operation here in Swift Current,” she said.
“They do so much that I don't think the community is even aware of. Their staff volunteer all over the place, they have so many events in and around Swift Current, and they really, really worked hard to become part of our community and to better Swift Current and surrounding area. So our board of directors felt that Living Sky Casino was a very, very worthy recipient of the member business of the year award.”
The formal presentation of the award to the casino will take place at the SCBEX Spirit of Swift Current Business Excellence award gala, Oct. 26.
This will be the 20th anniversary of the SCBEX awards and a record 110 nominations were submitted in eight award categories.
An event for nominees will take place at Great Plains College on Oct. 2, when the finalists in each award category will be announced.
Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce CEO Karla Wiens makes a presentation to Living Sky Casino General Manager Trevor Marion, Sept. 24. Standing behind them, from left, Chamber 1st Vice Chair Karen Richmond, Board Chair Doug Evjen, and Chamber Executive Assistant Mike Rogowski.