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Recognizing French businesses

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 2, 2011

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Four Yellowknife businesses were recognized for providing services in French in a ceremony held Saturday night in the Great Hall of the legislative assembly.

NNSL photo/graphic

Carine Pattin, co-owner of Arctic Farmer Landscaping, was recognized, along with three other Yellowknife businesses, by the Conseil de developpement economique des Territoires du Nord-Ouest for her entrepreneurial spirit and her bilingual services in a ceremony Saturday night. Giving Pattin her award was Katie Heaphy, a representative from First Air. - photo courtesy of CDETNO

Arctic Farmer Landscaping, Sam's Monkey Tree and Diamante Restaurant, Francois Thibault and Diane Fortin were those honoured by the Conseil de developpement economique des Territoires du Nord-Ouest - CDETNO for short.

Approximately 80 people attended the event, including such luminaries as Mayor Gord Van Tighem and Bob McLeod, minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

"I would like to congratulate the businesses and entrepreneurs being recognized here this evening," said McLeod. "You represent entrepreneurial excellence among Francophones in the Northwest Territories."

CDETNO's awards honoured business in wide range of categories, including tourism, micro-sized enterprises, arts and service-based companies.

Arctic Farmer Landscaping took home the prize for service-based companies, with co-owner Carine Pattin accepting the award.

"It was fancy! Classy," she said of the event.

Pattin, who runs the business with her husband Darwin Rudkevitch, said Arctic Farmer benefits from having several francophone staff members, including a number from France whose visas are facilitated by staff at CDETNO.

"Every year we hire French employees from France and we get them mostly from CDETNO," she said. The students work in the greenhouse and as part of the landscaping team that goes out on jobs.

Pattin's customers ultimately benefit from have service available in French, she said.

"I find French-speaking customers are ecstatic when they can get service in French, which is awesome, I think," said Pattin.

"They'll decide to come shopping here instead of Canadian Tire because they can get service in their own language."

That sentiment was shared by Harvey Bourgeois, owner of uptown pub Sam's Monkey Tree and Italian eatery Diamante Restaurant.

"Especially in this business, because we deal with so many different types of clientele, French and English," he said. He won the award in the tourism category.

Francois Thibault, owner of Originals by T-Bo, who won the artistic award, and Diane Fortin, a self-employed accountant who took home the micro-enterprise prize, could not be reached for comment.

Winners are selected by a secret committee struck by CDETNO based on economic performance and their social contributions. Ten companies were nominated by their peers this year, with another three companies who submitted incomplete applications.

"We expect even more interest next time," said Elodie Bedouet, an innovation and communication analyst with CDETNO.

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