The recipient of the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce 2014 Legacy Award should come as no surprise to any sports enthusiast in Prince Albert.
Gene Kapacila, owner of Gene's Sports Excellence, will be formally recognized at the Chamber's Legacy brunch on March 19.
Kapacila moved to Prince Albert in 1954, to work at the bank. In the years following he would take on several jobs including working at Kresge’s and for McDonald’s.
"I think I was 34 or 35 when I started about thinking going into business for myself. The occasion comes I was making more money than the branch manager and they said this is not right, so they said we're going to average your commission, and this is what your salary is going to be. So I made my decision there,” said Kapacila.
Kapacila’s venture into sporting goods began with a small skate sharpening operation. They worked out of the old McGavin’s bakery shop.
"I went to Saskatoon and bought a two-tonne truck of used skates and we brought them home. The wife and I sharpened them and the kids polished them," said Kapacila.
Looking at the walls of the current store it’s tough to imagine that it all began with modest beginnings. There appears to be clothing and equipment for every sport imaginable. One thing that has not changed is the support of Gene’s wife Doreen, he said. They have worked together for 48 years. They will celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary in September.
"It's something to be truly proud of. We think the same, we don't fight and if there's something that comes up I just walk away from it,” said Kapacila.
Kapacila said he was very surprised to hear he had won the award, but is very appreciative.
The Legacy Award is different from the Chamber's other awards in that the winner is chosen through the chamber's board of directors.
"Every successful recipient has typically provided a large contribution to our community through service, and that service is typically measured in decades," said Chamber CEO Merle Lacert.
Gene's Sports Excellence, a family owned business, has been operating in Prince Albert for more than 40 years.
The Legacy Brunch will also feature the announcement of the finalists for the Samuel McLeod Business Awards.
The awards gala will be held April 23 at the Prince Albert Travelodge.
"It is our 25th annual Samuel McLeod Business Awards, so we are definitely looking to celebrate the 25th, and put a little more recognition around who Sam McLeod was," said Lacert.
Tickets are now for both the Legacy Brunch and the Samuel McLeod Business Awards. Anyone interested in purchasing a ticket can call the Chamber office at 306- 764 - 6222 or online at www.princealbertchamber.com.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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