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Oct 8, 2013

Business Leader of the Year 2013 Announced by Chamber

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Date ArticleType
10/8/2013 Media Releases
Business Leader of the Year 2013 Announced by Chamber

2013 Business Leader of the Year Announced by Kelowna Chamber

For Immediate Release: October 9, 2013

Kelowna, BC – The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce announced today that Andre Blanleil has been named Business Leader of the Year for 2013. The award recognizes and celebrates Mr Blanleil’s outstanding contribution to the business community in Kelowna.

“Andre is a good example of success, risk taking and balancing business with civic commitment in the Okanagan,” said Caroline Grover, CEO of the Kelowna Chamber.  “He was a City of Kelowna appointed director on the Chamber Board for a number of years, through 2008, and brought the Chamber that all-important municipal view on business matters,” said Grover.

Blanleil is a broad-based entrepreneur, with his core business being Andre’s Electronic Experts.  Car and boat audio, cell phones, appliances, home entertainment – the range of retail ventures has been a part of the Okanagan retail scene since 1980.

Blanleil is a Director of the electronics company, having bought 50% of the family’s TV repair business over thirty years ago.  Throughout the 1980s, he expanded his retail outlets to include Vernon and Penticton.

During that busy decade, he expanded the business to include the signature Andre’s Electronics on Springfield Road in Kelowna in 1986.  Currently, Andre’s has 18 retail locations throughout interior BC; they have built 13 buildings to date; they employ 120 people across the interior.

“We’ve worked hard, and are proud of what we’ve accomplished in our ten communities throughout BC.  Full-service locations, TELUS cellular locations, marine and car audio – we truly are proud to carry top brands, and provide great prices and service to our customers,” said Blanleil recently.

On top of being a busy retailer, Blanleil has been a Councillor on the Kelowna City Council for over 20 years, and is a strong voice for business in the Okanagan. 

The company is active within the ten communities where they have a retail presence.  “We are very big supporters of local charities and organizations,” says Blanleil.  “Andre’s ownership and staff are proud to have been part of their communities for the past 35 years.”  

Andre’s is one of the top five electronic retail chains in Canada, and plans are ongoing for continued expansion.  Blanleil is a founding partner and is on the board of directors of the largest electronic buying group in Canada, partnered with over 400 locations.

In recent years, Blanleil has diversified his business model which now includes a car wash and liquor store, as well as leased properties for other retailers.

On a personal level, Blanleil was born and reared in Kelowna, with three sons who also call Kelowna home.  Two of the junior Blanleils are involved in managing the Andre's Electronics business.  The third son is working part time in the business waiting for his hockey scholarship in Vernon to kick in next season. 

The family is also famous in Kelowna sports pages for their years in Men’s Fastball participation, three generations and counting, from the late Andre, Sr., through his sons and grandsons.

Blanleil will receive his award at this year’s ceremony at the Delta Grand Hotel on Wednesday, October 23rd.  The awards mark the Kelowna Chamber’s 26th annual Business Excellence Awards, which fall during Small Business Week®.

The Business Leader of the Year Award is sponsored by Ian Stuart & Associates: Quality and Productivity Solutions.

Early bird Business Excellence Awards ticket price is $90.00 plus GST, to 4:00 p.m. October 16.  After that date, ticket prices are $120.00, plus GST.  All tickets must be purchased by noon October 21.  Online purchase at: http://www.kelownachamber.org/events/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=668

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce acts as a single powerful voice for their 1200 members and their 25,000 plus employees to promote local business interests. The Chamber provides a cohesive business network for its members to expand their business contacts, value-added benefits, programs, and services aimed at improving the bottom line of Chamber members. Their mission is to foster a positive business environment by providing members with leadership, advocacy and services of value.

For more information:
Dicky Dack
Operations Manager
Kelowna Chamber of Commerce
250-469-7355
Email dicky@kelownachamber.org
For the past 34 years, Small Business Week® has paid tribute to Canadian entrepreneurs and created opportunities for them to share success stories and innovative ideas.  Unprecedented synergy has resulted from the active participation of members of the Chambers of Commerce, and various national and local partners/sponsors in organizing events with BDC branches across the country – all dedicated to the growth and development of small and medium sized business.