Seven companies and businesspeople honoured for their achievements at 2023 Entrepreneurs’ Gala

ABRAM-VILLAGE – March 12, 2023 – Seven businesses, organizations and individuals, all extremely dedicated to their mission and community, were honored with glamour and sincerity on March 11 in Abram-Village at the 2023 Entrepreneurs’ Gala, the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI’s biggest entrepreneurial recognition event of the year.

« Once again this year, we have an amazing line-up of entrepreneurs and businesspeople as candidates for our awards of business excellence. We are very proud to see all the services offered by our entrepreneurs, organizations and businesspeople and to hear their wonderful success stories, » said Pierre Gallant, spokesperson for the Chamber in his welcome message for the evening. « You would think that after 21 editions of our banquet there would be no more candidates left to honour, but there are still a great number of deserving candidates.

« As always, we are especially proud of the very young entrepreneurs as well as the young adults who have gone into business during these difficult times! It’s so heartwarming to see them do so well! » he added. « Our finalists in the other categories are equally impressive as they have worked for so many years to deliver excellent services and products. In fact, all of our finalists deserve our praise and our trophies. »

He noted that seven of the 11 award nominees would walk away as trophy winners, « but the real winners are all the other people in the room and in our communities who benefit from your wonderful products and services. » So he thanked them sincerely.

The winners of the Gala awards were:

• 2023 BUSINESS OF EXCELLENCE AWARD – A.J. Repairs Ltd. (Justin Arsenault), Abram-Village (sponsored by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency);
• 2023 DISTINGUISHED EMPLOYEE AWARD – David Perry (Wellington Co-op), Wellington (sponsored by Innovation PEI);
• 2023 SOCIAL ECONOMY BUSINESS AWARD – Friends of the Farmers Bank of Rustico Inc. (sponsored by MacDonald Insurance & Investments – The Co-operators);
• 2023 YOUNG ENTREPRIZING PERSON AWARD – Francis-Olivier Morin, Montague (sponsored by CBDC Central PEI);
• 2022 YOUNG MILLIONAIRES AWARD – Caleb Lombardo and Léo Consejo Cadena (Seaside Treasures), Souris (sponsored by Radio-Canada Acadie);
• 2022 YM MOST DEVOTED MEDAL – Isabelle Gallant (Bijoux Isabelle), Cap-Egmont (sponsored by Arsenault Family Lumber);
• 2022 YM MOST POSITIVE MEDAL – Victor Corney (Great Stick), Charlottetown (sponsored by Arsenault Family Lumber).

During the evening, short biographical audio-visual montages of each of the finalists, by category, were shown. Each received a framed certificate from one of the sponsosr. The official sponsor of each award then presented the trophy to the winner. At the end of the evening, five entrepreneurs and businesspeople were also inducted into the CCAFLIPE’s Acadian and Francophone Business Hall of Fame of PEI.



PHOTO 1: Gathered at the end of the 2023 Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala, were, seated from left, Francis-Olivier Morin of Montague (winner of the 2023 Young Entreprising Person Award), Léo Consejo Cadena and Caleb Lombardo of Seaside Treasures of Souris (winners of 2022 Young Millionaires Award), and Justin Arsenault of A.J. Repairs Ltd (2023 Business Excellence Award). In the back row are: Pierre Gallant, spokesperson of the CCAFLIPE, David Perry of Wellington Co-op (winner of the 2023 Distinguished Employee Award), Bonnie Gallant, representing The Friends of the Farmers Bank of Rustico Inc. (winners of the 2023 Social Economy Business Award), and RDÉE PEI president, Dr. Christian Lacroix.

PHOTO 2: Acadian Chamber spokesperson Pierre Gallant had nothing but praise for the finalists and winners in his opening message to the crowd at the Entrepreneurs’ Gala Saturday.



Egmont MP Robert Morrissey, representing the sponsor the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, presents the 2023 Business of Excellence Award to Justin Arsenault from A.J. Repairs Ltd. of Abram-Village, with help from CCAFLIPE spokesperson Pierre Gallant.

A.J. Repairs Ltd. (Justin Arsenault)

Back in 2015, Justin Arsenault established A.J. Repairs, initially to do construction and mechanical repair projects of all kinds (from lawn mower engines to heavy equipment). In 2019, A.J. Repairs sold its first marine engine and became the exclusive distributor of MAN engines from Germany for the Tignish-to-Charlottetown area. These engines were chosen because of their emission reduction capabilities and the fact that they can be adapted to hydrogen and be used with hybrid engines. The company sells these engines, installs them and provides 24-hour service. Officially incorporated on Nov. 1, 2021, A.J. Repairs Ltd. is also a distributor of Köhler diesel and gas generators for the entire province. The company owns two transport trucks and a trailer, allowing it to deliver various products such as gravel, fertilizer and potatoes. In July 2022, Arsenault built a new 6,000-square-foot garage, allowing him to work on four boats at a time. The company provides work for three full-time, two part-time and one contract employee. (The other finalist in this category was Arsenault Family Lumber, owned by Janelle and Janine Arsenault of St. Chrysostome).

On behalf of sponsor, The Baie Acadienne Development Corporation, president Desmond Arsenault, second from left, presents certificates to the finalists in the 2023 Business of Excellence category, Justin Arsenault from A.J. Repairs Ltd. And to Janelle and Janine Arsenault from Arsenault Family Lumber.


Dr. Christian Lacroix, right, president of RDÉE PEI, and Pierre Gallant, left, spokesperson for the CCAFLIPE, present the 2023 Distinguished Employee Award to David Perry, grocery manager at the Wellington Co-op.

David Perry (HMS Office Solutions)
St. Gilbert

David Perry has been an employee of the Wellington Co-op for 32 years. Prior to joining the Co-op, he worked as a car cleaner and mail carrier for the provincial government. David began his employment with the Co-op in 1992, initially working part-time in the hardware department; he was also responsible for the dairy and frozen goods sections. He was eventually offered the grocery manager job, a position he still holds today. David is known for his great smile and first-class customer service. What he loves most about his job is serving customers and helping to meet their needs. In all his years of service, this hard-working and loyal worker has seen many major changes at the Co-op, including the arrival of five different managers, staff turnover, a major renovation, the closing of the hardware department, the addition of the liquor store, two major food losses due to power outages, the closing of their main supplier, Co-op Atlantic, and the transition to buying products from Sobeys. (Other finalists in this category were Roger Caisse of St. Gilbert, an employee of HMS Office Solutions, and Jacinthe Laforest of Mont-Carmel, an employee of La Voix acadienne.)

RDÉE PEI vice-president Velma LeBlanc, second from right, presents certificates to the finalists in the 2023 Distinguished Employee category, from left, David Perry, Roger Caissie and Jacinthe Laforest.


Dan MacDonald, à la droite, de MacDonald Insurance and Investments, the official sponsor of the 2023 Social Economy Business Award, and Pierre Gallant from the Acadian Chamber, present the trophy to the Friends of the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico Inc. Bonnie Gallant accepted the award on the Friends’ behalf.

The Friends of the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico Inc.

The Friends of the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico Inc. is a volunteer organization that has been operating the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico, a National Historic Site of Canada, since 1996; the Doucet House, which they acquired in 1999 and began restoring in 2003; and the Credit Union Museum, which is dedicated to credit unions and which features a visitor’s information centre and a small gift store. All of these historic and tourist facilities are located in Rustico. The Farmers’ Bank was founded by Father Georges-Antoine Belcourt to meet the financial needs of Acadian farmers and fishermen of the community. The Bank is a national monument of architectural significance to the Island and a symbol of Acadian perseverance. This « people’s » bank served as an inspiration for the establishment of “caisses populaires” in Quebec and credit unions elsewhere in Canada. In 2022, as part of the 250th anniversary of the Doucet House, The Friends offered an experiential food program with traditional Acadian meals. They also established the successful Meat Pie Festival in all six Acadian regions of the Island (no other nominees were submitted in this category).

Representing the sponsor Clientis from Quebec, Robert Maddix presents a certificate to the single finalist of the 2023 Social Economy Business category, The Friends of the Farmers Bank of Rustico Inc. Bonnie Gallant accepted the certificate on the Friends’ behalf.


As official sponsor of the award, Claus Schmidt, left, executive director of the CBDC Central PEI, presents the 2023 Young Enterprising Person Award to Francis-Olivier Morin from Montague, assisted by CCAFLIPE spokesperson Pierre Gallant.

Francis-Olivier Morin

Francis-Oliver Morin of Montague is very involved in his community. A recent graduate of École-François Buote, Francis-Olivier was the recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and the Paul Charbonneau Scholarship in 2022. During his school years, he coached mini-handball for the six francophone schools on the Island and was a member of the provincial administrative committee for mini-handball. He has participated in the Jeux régionaux and the Jeux de l’Acadie in various roles and functions, has served on his school’s student council as a socio-cultural representative and has been a tutor for students needing a little extra help. Morin is a veteran of the scouting program and participated in the Francophone leadership program « Destination Clic » at the University of Quebec. He was also a member of the French-Language School Board’s orchestra and participated in the music festival in Halifax twice, winning a silver medal each time. Despite his busy schedule, he gave of his time once a week to help prepare breakfast for the students at his school to help them succeed in their studies. Francis-Olivier is a mechanical engineering student at the Université de Moncton (the other finalist in this category was Dawson Arsenault of St. Chrysostome.)

RDÉE Canada’s PEI board member, Dr Christian Lacroix, center, presents certificates to the two finalists of the 2023 Young Enterprising Person category, Dawson Arsenault, left, and Francis-Olivier Morin.


For the three Young Millionaires awards: Janine Arsenault from Arsenault Family Lumber, left, places the 2022 “Most Devoted” Medal around the neck of Isabelle Gallant from Bijoux Isabelle; Denis Duchesne from Radio-Canada Acadie, centre, presents the trophies for the 2022 Young Millionnaires Award to Léo Consejo Cadena and Caleb Lombardo from Seaside Treasures; and Janelle Arsenault from Arsenault Family Lumber places the 2022 “Most Positive” Medal around the neck of Victor Corney from Great Stick.

Léo Consejo Cadena and Caleb Lombardo

« Seaside Treasures », operated by co-owners Léo Consejo Cadena and Caleb Lombardo of Souris, is a business that uses sea glass to create unique canvases that depict the beauty of Prince Edward Island. Each of their paintings was different and unique! In addition to creating pieces to sell at a variety of venues throughout the summer, these young men were also commissioned to create original pieces for various clients. After a great summer of sales and profits of $650, these young businessmen plan to continue their entrepreneurial endeavors with Seaside Treasures next summer!

Isabelle Gallant
Bijoux Isabelle

The daughter of Jeffrey and France Gallant of Cap-Egmont, Isabelle Gallant is the young owner of « Bijoux Isabelle ». This business specializes in making bracelets using beads, spacers, discs, polymer clay beads and elastics. She offered a variety of bracelets in different colors and sizes. Her most popular bracelet was probably her Acadian bracelet. During the summer of 2022, her business generated $750 in profits, which allowed her to purchase a tablet as a reward for all her hours of work!

Victor Corney

Victor Corney of Charlottetown has just completed his fourth summer of entrepreneurship with his business « Great Stick ». This business has evolved into merchandise and a name change. Initially, the partnership business was called « Une petite affaire d’eau » and sold reusable water bottles with a decorative sticker as well as sticker replacements. During the summer of 2022, as a sole owner, he focused exclusively on selling different stickers so he changed the name of his business to « Great Stick ». Last summer, his efforts earned him a grand total of $266 in net profits.

RDÉE PEI treasurer Edmond Gallant, left, presents a Young Millionaires finalist certificate to Isabelle Gallant from Bijoux Isabelle; RDÉE youth development officer Julie Gallant, centre, presents certificates to Léo Consejo Cadena and Caleb Lombardo from Seaside Treasures; and RDÉE board member Hélène Duranleau-Reid presents a certificate to Victor Corney from Great Stick.



For more information:
Raymond J. Arsenault
2023 Entrepreneurs’ Gala
Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI