Spotlight finalist for two ABEX awards

HUMBOLDT — A local business is a finalist in two categories in the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce ABEX awards.

Spotlight Sport and Corporate Wear is in the running for the marketing award and community involvement award due to their work around a t-shirt fundraiser that raised $300,000 for the HumboldtStrong Community Foundation.

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The ABEX awards are the largest and longest-running business awards program in the province, starting in 1984. They serve to celebrate the ingenuity and success of Saskatchewan businesses.

Mike Yager, president of Spotlight Sport and Corporate Wear, believes the award nomination is largely due to the work the company did after the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.

The company assists other businesses, schools and teams get exposure to their brand. They do that through promotional products and decorated apparel.

“Certainly the community involvement piece would revolve around the massive t-shirt fundraiser that we undertook, and eventually donated $300,000 to support the families,” Yager said. “I would guess the community involvement piece would speak to that the most.”

For the marketing award, the businesses nominated were required to describe a specific campaign. For this he chose the t-shirt fundraiser as well.

“We built that around the marketing we did for the local fundraiser last year,” Yager said.

“We launched the t-shirt fundraiser within hours of the accident becoming known to the public and it was just the right thing to do. We instantly wanted to find a way to help those families. It was similar to how everyone was feeling at the time, wanting to find a way to help and that’s what we did.”

He said they expected to raise $10,000 to $20,000 to help affected families with expenses.

“It took off, and that was part of the marketing that happened. It took off on us. It went viral on social media and we ended up raising $300,000, which is well beyond any expectations we would have had on the onset.”

Humboldt Strong Community Foundation, which the money was given to, had the funds disbursed to the players and families on the 29 individuals on the bus at the time of the crash, as well as affected organizations and towns.

Brent Fitzpartick, the Humboldt and District Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, said the nomination celebrates a business that has focused on strong marketing and community involvement.

“I'm really happy for Mike and Shannon [Yager],” he said. “They do an awful lot in the community.”

In the community involvement award category, Spotlight Sport and Corporate Wear are competing with Fitness 2J2, Prairie Sky Recovery Centre Inc, The Foggy Lemon Development and Unity Credit Union.

In the marketing award category, they are facing 7Shifts Restaurant Scheduling, Escape Manor Regina, Federated Co-operatives Ltd, Lumsden Florist etc., and Vendasta.

“You don’t always just because you’re nominated and fill out some papers, doesn’t mean you’re going to walk away as a finalist or even win the award,” Yager said. “Just the fact that we got to the finalist stage of two different categories. We’re very surprised as well as we’re honoured to be recognized in that capacity.”

Tickets are available online for the award presentation at saskchamber.com.

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