Local Entrepreneur receives prestigious award

December 10, 2015

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Jeff Carver
2015 Recipient Charlie Kelly Award

Jeff  Carver, President of the Port Elgin Business Improvement Association (BIA) and owner of the Wismer House in Port Elgin was awarded the 2015 Charlie  Kelly Award yesterday (Dec. 9) at the Bruce-Grey-Simcoe Regional Tourism Conference in Meaford (ON).

 The Charlie Kelly award honours the memory of Charlie Kelly,  an Owen Sound alderman who championed the idea of winter tourism.

(L) Ross Kenter (Bayshore Broadcasting), Paulette Peirol (Owen Sound Tourism) & Jeff Carver (recipient)

Eligible nominees can be anyone affiliated with a tourism organization or business in the region, in either a professional or volunteer capacity and has been sponsored by Bayshore Broadcasting since 1979.  

 Carver is a true community champion.  He relocated to Port Elgin within the last 10 years and, in that time, has worked tirelessly to turn Port Elgin into a destination.  He is an inspiration to all other tourism volunteers who sometimes feel it can't be done.  

Carver owns the Wismer House in Port Elgin and has transformed the historic building into a restaurant / bar into one of the main focal points in the downtown core.

He has successfully illustrated that the hours you keep, the food you serve and the first impressions you make ...  matter. His dedication and  commitment  to  those  principles  is influencing  others  throughout  the  region.  

Five years ago, Carver  became  the  Business Improvement  Area (BIA) President  and  began the  process of trying to re-energize a stagnant organization.  He also then took on the role of President  of  the  Saugeen  Shores Chamber of  Commerce  and,  this  year, accepted  the  role  of  Chair  of  the  Saugeen Shores  Economic  Development  Advisory   Committee.      

 "We  have  many  incredible  people  in  our community  that  have  a  great  deal  to  offer and  I  hope  that  we  can  continue  the potential  that  exists  in  Saugeen  Shores," says  Carver.

Bruce County Warden,  Mitch Twolan, expressed  his  congratulations  to  Carver.  "Jeff  is  so  deserving  of  this  award. He works tirelessly, delivers a terrific product and always has  a  positive  spirit.  He  has been a terrific ambassador  for  our  region. My  sincerest congratulations  go  out  to  Jeff " .  

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Not  only  is  Carver  involved  with  community organizations, but  he  "puts  his  money  where his  mouth  is".   

In  addition  to  creating  a  destination  with the Wismer House,  in  2010,  he  began  to redevelop  a  second  derelict  site  in  the downtown  that  had  been  sitting  empty  for years.  He  transformed  it  into  four  retail shops and  brought  beauty  and  inspiration  to a prominent  location  in  the  downtown.  

He  has  worked  to  expand  the  BIA  boundary and  increase  levies  in  order  to  begin  the process  of  reinvestment  in  the  downtown; he has  developed  a  proposal  for  a  Tourist Trolley  in  Saugeen  Shores;  and  has  begun the  process  of  integrating  destination development  into  the  efforts  of  economic   development  within  the  community.  

The  impact  of  his  work  both  with  the restaurant  and  for  the  broader  community  is an  inspiration  for  destination  development across  the  region.

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