A downtown business owner has been awarded the 2016 Legacy Award from the Prince Albert & District Chamber of Commerce.
Ron Horn, his wife Shelly and their sons Mike and Jon who operate Fresh Air Experience on Centre Ave, were presented the award at the chamber's annual Legacy Brunch, which recognizes a long-time local business owner or family whose work has had a positive impact on the community.
“This is a very, very humbling and emotionally taxing event for me today here,” Ron said as he addressed the crowd. “We really do appreciate the honour that has been bestowed on our family here today.”
Opening the outdoor recreation and equipment business downtown Prince Albert in May 1972, the business has grown exponentially over the years, expanding to a second location in Regina.
Ron credited the growth and long-term success of the business to his committed employees and supportive family.
He said the people who they attract to work in the store are coming “to do something they enjoy.”
“For our staff, we do what we sell. That is a fun thing to be involved in,” he said.
Studying Physical Education at the University of Saskatchewan, Ron first dipped his toes into cross-country skiing following his enrolment in a class taught by the owner of Fresh Air Discovery.
This led him to the eventual opportunity to run his own business, and after scouting out a number of locations, they settled on P.A. to open their specialty shop after noting the high potential for cross-country skiing in the area.
The Horn family has contributed in a number of ways to the community over the years, with a few highlights being the Kinsmen Skate Park, the Prince Albert Downtown Improvement District and the Rock and Road Cycle Club.
“It is just really satisfying to know that the things we have been doing for the last 38 years in town have been appreciated and recognized,” Ron said.
Chamber CEO Larry Fladager made note of the deep community involvment and accredited this as a key part to the family’s recognition.
Fladager also spoke to the resiliency of the business.
“Being able to go through the ups-and-downs of business cycles for as many years as they have in PA, that is really remarkable.”
Ron echoed these words, explaining how they have weathered snowless years, frigid cold years and other hurdles that can pop up in thier market.
“The thing is to listen to your customers and cultivate good customer relationships. If you give the people what they are looking for…they are going to reward you with what you are looking for,” he said.
Mayor Greg Dione also spoke at the event, saying the award was “very well deserved,” and touted small businesses as the “backbone” of the local economy.
As for the future of Fresh Air Experience, Ron said it was “yet to be determined,” and added that change is constant.
“We have watched so many changes within this time, and we will continue to adapt and work with those changes,” he said.
“As long as it is fun, we will be doing it.”
Also announced at the event was the list of finalist for the 27th annual Samuel McLeod Business Awards, which recognizes some of the city’s most successful retailers, influential leaders and those committed to community involvement.
The full list can be found at the Chamber website, and the winners will be announced at an event on April 27.
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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