Petrolia businesses earn top honours

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Albany Retirement Village honoured for health and safety, Guild Chocolates for quality

Heather Wright/The Independent

Two Petrolia businesses have earned top honours this week.
Albany Retirement Village won silver in the Workers’ Safety Insurance Board’s Small Business Leadership awards.
Jenna Simpson says the retirement home was honoured for the measures it took during the pandemic to protect both the health and safety of their residents and their staff.
Simpson says the retirement home was ahead of the curve as the province started to come to grips with the severity of the worldwide pandemic. Simpson would read reports from the World Health Organization to understand how the virus worked and what the home could do to be prepared.
“In the early days, we were ahead of a lot of the government mandates. We were ahead on, lockdown measures, in restricting contract workers who worked in multiple locations because of the risk of facility to facility transmission, Simpson says.
“When we weren’t sure about the safety of grocery stores, we were ordering food for our staff through our commercial suppliers,” she added noting it became clear early on that the employees would have to be careful not to bring the virus into the home.
“We purchase groceries for the entire household, we were trying to make people aware that actions of their entire household would influence the health and safety of the retirement home.”
To date, Albany Retirement Village has managed to keep COVID-19 at bay while other long term care homes struggle. But Simpson is aware, they are not out of the woods yet as the second wave of the virus moves through Ontario.
“I think part of our success is constantly reassessing risk and constantly monitoring the situation, because it’s a moving target.”
While Albany Retirement Village was honoured for health and safety, you might say Jaclyn Sanders is being honoured for pleasure.
The head of Guild Chocolate in Petrolia has won a gold, four silver and three bronze medals for her creations in the Canadian Chocolate Awards.
Sanders says her chocolates have to meet a set standard to reach the gold medal standard.
Sanders has been entering the Canadian championships for a number of years and says the judges can be blunt and brutal with their comments. But, in the end, it improves her work and the chocolates she produces.
Sometime in the next few months, she’ll pack up samples of her gold winning Passion Praline Bonbon and a number of the silver winning concoctions to go to the worlds.
And while she is pleased to be recognized, she hopes the recognition doesn’t just drive people to her business, but instead makes the recognize what good products can be found in Petrolia. “People can’t imagine they can find good chocolate or good theater in Petrolia,” she says. “Hopefully this is showing that Petrolia is not just some small backwater town – there is quality here.”