Grant Hall wins big at MJBEX

Times-Herald Staff
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The new restored Grant Hall Hotel walked away with the biggest prize of the night at the Moose Jaw Business Excellence Awards (MJBEX).

Amy Duzan, right, of Elite Hairstyling & Esthetics with Cory Harkness, business development officer for Community Futures. Duzan won the MJBEX Young Entrepeneur Award on Wednesday night at the Heritage Inn.

It was the second award of the evening for the Grant Hall Hotel during Wednesday night’s 13th Annual MJBEX Awards. Earlier in the evening the new business won the MJBEX Heritage Award in front of the 400 business leaders in attendance.

“I was just looking at the list when I heard the name and I couldn’t believe it. It was a huge surprise and I am very humbled and honoured by it,” said owner Verna Alford.

The hotel and alternative living residence only opened their doors in November after over 10 years of restoration work done on the original, 1928 hotel.

“The architectural enhancements and the memories that this business had were worth restoring,” said Alford. “We spent many, many years restoring the dining room ceilings. We literally had to strip the building because of the damage.”

Alford has decades of experience restoring heritage buildings and has on her resume the restoration of the 278-room Hotel Saskatchewan and 15 funeral homes from Nova Scotia to Vancouver.

Another young business was also recognized for its early success.

Amy Duzan, 28, and Elite Hairstyling & Esthetics Training Centre won the Young Entrepeneur award.

The training centre got its start in September and currently has ten stylists and estheticians enrolled. Registration is already full for their August and September classes.

“It’s definitely a dream that I always wanted to do and I just did the research about it and realized it really needed to be done,” said a surprised Amy Duzan, the owner and operator of the centre. “The vision began five years ago and it took four years to open up because it’s a private vocational school.”

After years of hard work, Duzan was still surprised when her name was called.

“The other nominees were great and that’s why I wasn’t expecting it. I was like what am I? Because everyone thinks they are the little guy in the back.”

12 MJBEX Awards were presented during the evening and for the first time there was an award for the Green Business of the Year.  That honour went to Tilbury Design.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Vancouver

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