The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has named its 2018 Business Leader of the Year.
Dale Wentworth, founder of Kelowna’s Wentworth Music, will receive the chamber’s top award for his contribution to the business community in the Central Okanagan on Oct. 24.
He will receive the award at the chamber’s 31st annual Business Excellence Awards ceremony, to be held at Delta Grand Hotel.
“Dale and his family, from his parents through to his children, have demonstrated not only a high level of business acumen, but an ability to change and evolve their business as Kelowna has grown up around them,” said Carmen Sparg, president of the chamber.
“Dale put himself through college giving music lessons and he truly is an inspiration to all of us. The level of pride and morals instilled in their children is a testament to the quality leadership that he embodies. I’m passionate about this family because they made such an impact on my son’s life.”
Last year, the chamber named Club Penguin co-founder Lane Merrifield as its Business Leader of the Year.
According to Wentworth, not much has changed with his family’s core values over the last 52 years, but the business has grown.
“We’re bigger now, with four stores and an internationally recognized Music Education Centre,” he said.
Wentworth Music has 65 employees and is a three-generation family business with deep roots in the Okanagan.
Wentworth settled in Kelowna in 1966 and shortly thereafter teamed up with his parents, Walt and Vera, to opened a small music store in the Capri Shopping Centre.
The store’s mission was to provide music lessons and sales as well as rentals and repairs of a broad range of musical instruments, chief among them, guitars.
Three years later, Hedy Wentworth, Dale’s wife for 48 years, joined the family business as a music teacher.
“We are a business that focuses on community values. We moved into our third generation of family ownership when our sons took over major corporate roles,” said Wentworth.
His children Noel (vice-president of education and media), Neil (vice-president of finance) and Nori (vice-president of sales) all work for the company, as well as Noel and Neil’s wives.
A strong commitment to community has always been at the core of the family business and Wentworth Music has supported numerous not-for-profit organizations over the years.
Wentworth Music is well-known locally for its student-based rock ‘n’ roll productions at the Kelowna Community Theatre.
The semi-annual shows have raised almost a $250,000 in support of children’s wards Okanagan hospitals and for the JoeAnna’s House project. That project will see a “home away from home” for the families of out-of-town patients requiring treatment at the hospital
Tickets for the chamber award gala are available online at kelownachamber.org until Friday.
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