Your Willie Wellie Award winners 2021!

Your Community Choice Awards for Wellesley and Wilmot with comments from their nominators

  • Business   Wed, Mar 10th, 2021   Lisa Hagen

Congratulations to our inaugural winners of the Willie Wellie Community Awards. The Willie Wellies (Wilmot-Wellesley) began in January with nominations from the general public. The top five nominations moved on to February online voting to select the community’s favourites.

The Wilmot Post was delighted with the enthusiasm around the friendly competition with 400 nominations received, and nearly 500 ballots cast. We are equally delighted to be able to feature our businesses, services, and events free of charge in support of our hardworking neighbours, and to encourage the community to shop local.

And now, in the spirit of awards’ season, may we have the envelope please…

(Not all nominators made comments and so some categories may be incomplete for our top five favourites. Winners did not always respond to our interview requests and were subsequently not featured with an article.)

Favourite Auto Service

PLATINUM: Hillcrest Service, New Hamburg -“Reliable, great service, friendly staff, knowledgeable, honest.”

DIAMOND: Wellesley Auto Care, Wellesley

GOLD: Finneys Auto Service, New Hamburg

STERLING: Baden Automotive, Baden

CRYSTAL: John Bear, New Hamburg -“Consistently at the top of their game with service. Can't be beat.”

Favourite Caterer

About your favourite: Chef Adam Brenner, Wilmot St. New Hamburg,

Chef Brenner brings a gourmet dining experience to your home so you can enjoy your guests. His well known catering is enjoyed all over Waterloo Region. As part of that service, he also serves from his specialty food shop including full meals and soups, fresh or frozen. He may be best known for their cinnamon buns, or maybe it’s his fish and chips! “We are humbled to be recognized,” said Brenner. “My staff and I work extremely hard. We would like to thank all our customers close and from afar who have supported us. The world has been an unpredictable place lately, and because of local support, we have been able to keep our doors open.”

PLATINUM: Chef Adam Brenner, New Hamburg -“Upbeat and accommodating. Staff have continually provided amazing service.”

DIAMOND: MeMe’s Café and Food Shop, New Hamburg -“Unique food suggestions from people who obviously love what they do. Great food!”

GOLD: Cloverleaf Farms Food Outlet and Deli, New Hamburg -“Well trained and friendly staff who make the experience enjoyable from beginning to end.”

STERLING: Kennedy’s Restaurant & Catering, St. Agatha -“Good, hearty food; solid people to the core.”

CRYSTAL: Melina’s Grill, Baden -“We are so lucky to have Melina’s in town. Food prepared from the heart.”

Favourite Cleaning Service

PLATINUM: Wilmot Window Cleaners, Baden

DIAMOND: SRR Pure Clean, Wellesley

GOLD: Mint Custom Cleaning, Wilmot

STERLING: P. Fewkes, Wilmot

Favourite Day Care Provider

About your favourite: Lisa Zeigler

“I provide home daycare in a loving, fun, baking, craft crazy way,” said Lisa Zeigler. “I feel so loved by the community for thinking of me so positively.” Zeigler takes pride in providing a loving and flexible daycare and thanks her families for making her feel even more special than each time they enter her home. 

PLATINUM: Lisa Zeigler -“Our parents get to go to work each week knowing that we have someone who is not only taking care of us but we are with someone who love us and teaches so many important things.”

DIAMOND: Krista Durer          

GOLD: Maple Woods Early Learning, Baden -“They continue to provide great services during these hard times.”

            Nancy Entz

STERLING: Karen Bruinsma

Favourite Fast Food Restaurant

About your favourite: Pizza Arca, Peel St. New Hamburg,, (519) 662-2583

“It is a pleasure to grow with the community over the last 16 years and we are honoured to be recognized in this special way,” said Pizza Arca co-owner, Vesna Vidovic. Pizza Arca is a family owned pizzeria that is known for custom-made pizzas. Crusts are made fresh daily or they have gluten-free or cauliflower crusts to try out. The house specialty is called the Arca Special (grilled chicken breast, strip bacon, white onion, tomato, feta cheese, hot pepper, black olive, green olive, green pepper). “We would like to thank each and every one of our customers for their support and bringing smiles to our faces every day,” Vidovic said.

PLATINUM: Pizza Arca, New Hamburg -“Consistently excellent pizza; ready on time.”

DIAMOND: Baden Coffee, Baden -“During this crazy time, the Baden Coffee shop has been a delight to discover! Everything they make is yummy.”

GOLD: Twice the Deal Pizza, New Hamburg -“Not only delicious pizza but they set the bar for community support with their frequent Pizza Fundraising Nights for local groups. Thank-you!”

STERLING: Tito’s Pizza, New Hamburg -“Big taste at good prices. It’s our weekly, go-to pizza.”

CRYSTAL: Wellesley Gourmet Meats & Cheese , Wellesley-“Donated thousands of lunches to hospital staff, nursing homes and group homes as well as teaching staff.”

Favourite Annual Festival or Event

About your favourite: New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale, New Hamburg,

The 54 year old event that occurs every year on the last Friday/Saturday of May will pivot for the second year to online auctions. Run by scores of volunteers, the group raises money for disaster relief and peace projects. Since 1967, the organization has raised over $14 million. “It is truly heart-warming to receive this recognition,” said Communications and Events Senior Manager Sheryl Bruggeling. “We want to thank the Wilmot-Wellesley community and the many people who contribute to the success of the sale: donors of goods and services, supporting church congregations, auctioneers, venue coordinators and almost 2000 volunteers as well as the thousands of visitors from a wide geographic region.” Watch for their online auctions May 28 and 29.

PLATINUM: New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale -“When I think of home, this is an event I remember fondly.”

DIAMOND: Wellesley Apple, Butter & Cheese Festival -“What can I say? - well organized; free events and music staged throughout town!”

GOLD: New Hamburg Fall Fair -“An important part of growing up in Wilmot. Take your children to it and make some memories.”

STERLING: Canada Day in Wilmot -“Special for families to celebrate our multiculturalism and our individual connections to Canada together. Can’t wait to go again!”

CRYSTAL: Wilmot Terry Fox Run -“A testament that a small town can do big things for an important cause. Thank-you so much to the organizers!”

Favourite Food Shop or Grocer

About your favourite: Sobeys New Hamburg, New Hamburg,

Sobeys is a full service grocery store with popular offerings like custom meat cuts, fruit trays, delivery and home-made baking by Sue! Right now, they are appreciated for their extra COVID safety measures by all their customers. “Our Team has been extremely diligent and committed in maintaining these measures for the past year, and still going strong,” said owner Bill Fleming. “Working with these people during current times and circumstances has been amazing.” Bill added that it means a great deal to them to be chosen a community favourite. “Everyday has its challenges, some more than others, and what really makes it all work is the patience and understanding of our customers. We really do live and work in an awesome community in Wilmot and Wellesley.”

PLATINUM: Sobeys New Hamburg, New Hamburg -“Outstanding small town business owner who goes above and beyond to make local connections and support other local businesses, people and teams.”

DIAMOND: No Frills New Hamburg, New Hamburg -“Small town atmosphere! Friendly. Close to home!”

GOLD: Cloverleaf Farms Food Outlet & Deli, New Hamburg -“Their COVID precautions were excellent. It is comfortable and easy shopping at their well-stocked store.”

STERLING: Pym’s Village Market, Wellesley -“Pym’s acted fast and furious when the pandemic hit to keep his staff and his customers safe.”

CRYSTAL: The Garden Stand, New Hamburg -“Excellent food and customer service.”

Favourite Greenhouse, Landscape, or Lawn Care Service

About your favourite: Meadow Acres Garden Centre,

Meadow Acres Garden Centre has been helping Wilmot and Wellesley stay green for 35 years. They are widely recognized for their diversity of product and exceptional services which include landscape design, installation, and products like soil, mulch and aggregate delivered to your door. Mix that in with a large selection of trees, shrubs and plants and it’s a full operation. But there’s more! An innovative women’s fashion section blends comfortably with home décor, garden supplies and outdoor patio and décor. “Our collective thanks to the readers of The Wilmot Post for this honour,” said co-owner Charles Schachinger. “And to our very knowledgeable staff for their continued commitment to our customers in this challenging time.” Spring is just around the corner!

PLATINUM: Meadow Acres Garden Centre, Petersburg -“Meadow Acres’ great selection in both plants and services makes it so convenient and easy to shop local.”

DIAMOND: Colour Paradise Greenhouses, Mannheim -“Great selection, and high quality product, much of it grown locally, I believe.”

GOLD: Ingold Property Management, New Hamburg -“Hardest working team in the area. Appreciate all they do for us.”

STERLING: Gaia’s Garden, Baden -“It’s easy to tell that this is their passion. Careful and considered work every time we’ve used them.”

CRYSTAL: Kollegiate Lawn, Wellesley -“Knowledgeable and honest. They care about their customers.”

                  Lorhill Farms, New Hamburg -“Happy to nominate this innovative, healthy vegetable grower –ahead of the curve!”

Favourite Hair or Spa Service

About your favourite: Panache Hair Lounge, Peel St. New Hamburg, (519)-662-1690

Panache offers family hair care from cuts to colouring striving to ensure clients achieve their goals. They are known for their keen sense of colour, hair design, and “gift of gab.” “(We are) feeling very blessed and humbled to be recognized among all the great business we are surrounded by. We love our clients and community like family.”

PLATINUM: Panache Hair Lounge, New Hamburg

DIAMOND: Spa at the Puddicombe House, New Hamburg

GOLD: Serenity Hair and Spa, New Hamburg -“Great service, super friendly staff.”

STERLING: Wellesley Barbershop, Wellesley

CRYSTAL: Salon W, Wellesley

Favourite Hardware/Home Renovation Store

About your favourite: New Hamburg Home Hardware, Peel St. New Hamburg,

A stalwart of the community for decades, the Home Hardware offers everything you need in hardware –paint, key cutting, propane and home delivery. They are at a great advantage for product selection and ordering as they are only a half hour away from the national warehouse. “We are thrilled to be thought enough of…to put us on such a prestigious list,” said store owner Sheila Walker. “ We’re always grateful to our loyal and supportive customers, our fellow local business, and also hard ourworking service clubs.”

PLATINUM: New Hamburg Home Hardware -“Helpful and knowledgeable employees.”

DIAMOND: Wellesley Home Hardware -“Great cookware/giftware and custom-cut wood for me! Clean and attractive store.”

GOLD: Skowron Decorating Centre, New Hamburg -“A lot of care is taken with each customer. They really know their business.”

STERLING: Kathie Jordan Design Home, New Hamburg -“How lucky are we to have such a unique store so near by? Friendly and passionate about their work.”

Favourite Health Service

About your favourite: Dolman Eye Care Centre, Huron St. New Hamburg,

Dolman Eye Care Centre has been serving the townships for 45 years with one doctor and one staff providing care for 40 of those years! That’s testament to the continuity of care patients receive in their eye health and vision testing. Dolman's is constantly updating technology and bringing in the latest in glasses, sunglasses and contact lens options for all budgets. They have expertise in astigmatism correction, bifocal contact lenses and myopia control. “We are truly grateful for the loyalty that is shown by multiple generations of many families that come to our clinic,” said co-owner Howard Dolman. ”And we are extremely proud of our team of optometrists, opticians, and staff.”

PLATINUM: Dolman Eye Care Centre, New Hamburg -“The staff and optometrists are the best one could ask for!”

DIAMOND: New Hamburg Wellness Centre, New Hamburg -“A sought after business of true professionals and experts that we are so lucky to have in our community.”

GOLD: New Hamburg Dental Group, New Hamburg

STERLING: The Town Pantry, New Hamburg  -“Good selection of products and knowledgeable, helpful staff.”

CRYSTAL: Renu Health and Wellness, New Hamburg -“Experts at their chosen professions, and very nice people!”

Favourite New Business

About your favourite: Cakr Maker, Peel St. New Hamburg,

More than just custom cakes, Cakr Maker is known for their almond croissants, Tres Leches Cake (a Spanish sponge cake soaked in 3 kinds of milk and topped with fruit and fluffy icing), and Chocoflan (a dense, rich, chocolate cake topped with a vanilla, carmelized flan with fruit and specialty frosting). Yum! “We strongly believe in being 100% sincere to our customers and make them happy with every single thing we make,” said Yenni Guenther, also known as Mrs. Cakr Maker. “This (award) means so much to us. It means we have been welcomed as part of the community. We could not be any more grateful.”

PLATINUM: Cakr Maker, New Hamburg -“Cakr Maker is a fun new bake shop with authentic France-quality croissants! In New Hamburg!”

DIAMOND: Nailed It!, New Hamburg- “Kalie is a hard worker, has a lot of experience and is the best around!”

GOLD: Lip Smackin’ Lou’s, Wellesley -“They have reasonable prices, good food and opened a patio for outdoor dining overlooking Wellesley Pond for a lovely view.”

STERLING: Apple Inn Kitchen, Wellesley -“Great food at this brand new business.”

Favourite Performing Arts Organization

About your favourite: The Community Players, New Hamburg,

The Community Players aim to elevate arts in the community through staging performances typically to a live audience, but more recently online. They are embarking on an innovative summer series this June where they’ll present 5 shows over 10 days, all outside and all complying to COVID protocol. “We’d like to thank our supporters who continue to buy tickets to our shows, our cast and crew who are willing to take risks to make a little magic happen, and our partners who continue to stand by us and join us to provide creative solutions to doing what we do best!” said marketing director Chris Steingart.

PLATINUM: The Community Players of New Hamburg -“How did such a small town get such high quality theatre?’

DIAMOND: New Hamburg Community Band -“Deserves a nomination for their longevity. 125+ years, touching the lives of countless participants over those many years.

GOLD: Wellesley Idol -“Judges and organizers work towards mentoring all youth that apply."

STERLING: Centre Stage Dance, New Hamburg -“This studio has turned out high-end performers for years not to mention inspiring dancers of all levels. Thank-you!”

Favourite Private Teacher

PLATINUM: Mike Erb, New Hamburg

DIAMOND: Music With Amy, Wilmot

GOLD: Kate’s Kinetics, Wellesley -“Makes yoga fun and relaxing. Excellent studio and equipment provided.”

Favourite Professional Service

About your favourite: New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic, Arnold St. New Hamburg,

The New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic is a mixed animal practice that provides service and animal education with integrity and compassion. They treat pets like one of their own, and large animals with a comprehensive range of services like herd health and emergency services. They have a complete, mobile food animal equine service for vaccinations, dentistry, imagery, and emergency care. “It means a great deal to be chosen as a favourite in the community,” said owner Glen Blier.  “The COVID 19 pandemic has placed a great strain on all and we need to compliment our community on how they have been understanding around protocols and changes. The support has been amazing and if there was an award for a great community I would vote every time for ours.”

PLATINUM: New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic, New Hamburg

DIAMOND: Mark Jutzi Funeral Home, New Hamburg

GOLD: Lucy Pearlle, Wellesley

STERLING: Kathie Jordan Design Home, New Hamburg

                    Steve Funk, Lawyer, New Hamburg

CRYSTAL: Imagine Travel, New Hamburg

Favourite Real Estate Agent


About your favourite: Shirley Koehle Peak Realty New Hamburg, 

“My love for real estate began at a very young age. My older sister and I would create playhouses in the lilac bushes that nestled along the stone fence surrounding our yard. It was a classic example of location, location, location, as it was the best location on the farm!” From humble beginnings to a 20 year career finding people the perfect place, Shirley Koehle considers real estate an on-going learning experience, continually taking courses and expanding her knowledge base. Clients appreciate her experience, integrity and advice and often come back years later to have her re-sell a house that they bought with her originally. “I am thrilled that my Wilmot-Wellesley  community voted me their favourite real estate person,” Koehle said. “A heartfelt thanks to my clients!”  

PLATINUM: Shirley Koehle, New Hamburg -“Explained the details and helped me feel comfortable about the whole process.”

DIAMOND: Peter Gingerich, New Hamburg -”Very genuine human who takes pride in his work.”

GOLD: Jon Lambert, Baden -“Lambert’s commitment to the community is shown in all the charitable work he is involved in locally.”

STERLING: Trish Miller, New Hamburg

CRYSTAL: Jim Miller, New Hamburg

Favourite Recreation Provider

About your favourite: New Hamburg Lanes, New Hamburg,

This 6 lane, 5 pin bowling alley is working hard to provide safe and enjoyable experience for everyone during the pandemic. Their party room is popular for anniversaries, birthdays and team or work parties. Leagues are popular too and very active for adult, seniors and youth bowlers. Best known for their Cosmic Bowling and Pizza Parties, the New Hamburg Lanes are constantly updating the facility and events. “Winning this award, especially during a pandemic is such an honour,” said owner James Aoki. “We would like to thank the community for all their support and well wishes and we hope to see everyone again once we are able to reopen.”

PLATINUM: New Hamburg Lanes, New Hamburg - “An important part of the community. Treats all ages with respect.”

DIAMOND: Personally Fit, New Hamburg -“Above and beyond offering online workout classes to help keep the community physically active.”

GOLD: New Hamburg Hockey Association -“Have gone above and beyond during this difficult time.”

STERLING: Bloom Yoga, Baden -“She loves what she does, she's emotionally invested in each and every client.”

CRYSTAL: Rebel Creek Golf Course, Petersburg -“A first-rate golf track and a staff that is equally top-notch.”

Favourite Restaurant

PLATINUM: The Old Country Restaurant, New Hamburg -“A staple! Sue and her family serve up good home comfort food at reasonable prices.”

DIAMOND: Schmidtsville Restaurant, Wellesley -“Amazing food, great people. Nice atmosphere and good staff.”

                   Scran & Dram Scottish Public House, New Hamburg -“Small business that makes our community great!”

GOLD: Imperial Market and Eatery

            Meme’s Café and Food Shop, New Hamburg -“We love Meredith’s menu at Meme’s cafe. Her dishes are creative and she has many vegetarian options.”

STERLING: Puddicombe House, New Hamburg -“They truly care about people’s experience at their restaurant. We hope they can weather this lockdown so we can enjoy more top notch culinary experiences in this well run family owned restaurant!

CRYSTAL: Jake & Humphrys Bistro, New Hamburg -“Excellent fine dining at reasonable prices and with a surprising variety that you can go back to again and again –and I do!”

Favourite Retail Business

PLATINUM: Riverside Flowers & Gift Studio, New Hamburg -“Helpful staff, great selection of plants to help boost your mood!”

DIAMOND: Is This Chair Taken, New Hamburg -“Did an amazing job during this pandemic: creative postings online, delivery or pickup.”

GOLD: Heart ‘N Home Creations, New Hamburg -“Owner carries beautiful fabrics and willing to share her knowledge and advice.”

STERLING: Dollar Haven, New Hamburg -“This place has everything and very nicely displayed.”

CRYSTAL:  Grammy’s Boutique & Espresso Bar, Wellesley, “It’s more than a store. It’s a meeting place and the hub of town.”

Favourite Sporting Equipment Store

About your favourite: Wheels on Peel, Peel St. New Hamburg,

Owner Ted Seyler is a well-known runner and cycler in the area. He has taken his passion and poured it into Wheels on Peel where they not only repair, fit and tune up bikes but also provide expert skate sharpening. Turnaround time on repairs is remarkably quick as is the selection of bikes in, and in front of, the store. There is something for every rider level and budget. Ted extends his gratitude to his customers and other, local businesses for the gracious networking that goes on in town. “I would like to thank all the local hockey parents and adults who continue to come to us for skate sharpening during the winter months and hockey season as well,” said Seyler.   

PLATINUM: Wheels on Peel, New Hamburg

DIAMOND: New Hamburg Home Hardware, New Hamburg

GOLD: Massel’s Marine, New Hamburg

Favourite Tradesperson

About your favourite: Jantzi Plumbing, Hutchinson Rd., Wellesley,

At 20 years old, Jantzi Plumbing is known for their wide range of services: plumbing, heating, hydronics, well work, and gas fitting. “We do everything - agriculture, commercial, and residential, although we have not forgotten our agricultural roots,” said marketing co-ordinator Deanna Cronin. “We are very honoured to receive this award. We try to provide the best service we can, and we’re glad the community is providing positive feedback to our services.” Cronin also acknowledged the kindness of their customers, and the hardworking technicians and staff that take care of all their mechanical needs.

PLATINUM: Jantzi Plumbing, Wellesley

DIAMOND: Bechthold Home Improvements, Petersburg

GOLD: Junker Construction, New Hamburg

STERLING: Tymec Mechanical, New Hamburg -“Tyson explains exactly what needs attention in everyday language. Very approachable!”

CRYSTAL: Berger Plumbing, Shakespeare

Favourite Visual Artist

About your favourite: Ida Tong, New Hamburg,

Ida Tong has had her paintings exhibited in Italy and Canada with her most recent association with Uptown Gallery in Waterloo. “I am… a painter who is interested in learning from our past and who also has “wild” ideas about the future of our humanity,” Tong explained. “My latest paintings are about AI and the interconnections with humans.” Ida extended a deep debt of gratitude to Fred Buehlow for his generosity, support of her work, and tremendous love for art. “To be chosen as the Favourite Visual Artist of the community means a lot to me. It also reflects that I am, and we are, living in a friendly and safe community where people care for each other and recognize others’ talents.”

PLATINUM: Ida Tong, New Hamburg

DIAMOND: Lucy Pearlle, Wellesley

GOLD: Chronicles of Yarnia, New Hamburg

STERLING: Dundee Pottery, New Dundee -“They support tree planting in Haiti through their bowls. Businesses like this keep our community's souls tied together."

CRYSTAL: Sarah Clarke, New Hamburg, “I commissioned a painting and I love it! Evokes so many memories.

Favourite Employers and Employees

All nominees for favourite employer and employee deserve recognition. There was no voting for these categories, just appreciation!

Favourite Employer

Dolman Eyecare

K.R. Abbott Tax & Accounting Solutions

Dr. Glen Blier

Cedar Rose Homes

Cloverleaf Farms Food Outlet and Deli

Jeff Glendinning & Ainslee Hackett

Heritage Pet & Garden

Hillcrest Auto Services

Livewell Health & Physiotherapy

Old Country Kitchen Restaurant

Puddicombe House

Village Market

Dr. Rebecca Ricker

Janet Snider

Sobeys New Hamburg

Wellesley Home Hardware

Wilmot Family Resource Centre

Favourite Employee

Aimee at Physio Alliance

Andrea at Circle K

Meg Contini

Geoff Dubrick

Mike Hayes

Amanda Heinz

Linda at Baden Pharmacy

Old Country Restaurant wait staff

Sandy at Wellesley Home Hardware

Staff at Baden Tim Horton’s

Reg Simpson

TLC Pet Food staff

Special, one-time recognition

Husband of the Year Award: An excerpt from a nomination

“Full disclosure - my nominee is for my wife, Jenn and her business, Bloom Health and Wellness. Although she doesn't know I'm doing it, so maybe that counts for something :)

As has been the case with most small businesses and those that are self-employed, this year has been tough for my wife to continue her business as it had been going. She ran a yoga studio out of our basement and when March 2020 hit, she was shut down permanently. 

“Trying not to leave her customers without an outlet for stress relief and self-care, she quickly pivoted to an online learning space, embracing technology (even when it didn't always co-operate) and offering many different types of classes to support her clientele in these changing times. 

“My wife also realized that people needed more than just the usual yoga they were coming to Bloom for in the past. Jenn's initial reason for starting her business came from her own experience with trauma and almost losing her life during the birth of our second son and she now saw that people were experiencing and dealing with trauma either related to the ongoing pandemic or on top of this new stress that was so foreign to us all. Jenn wanted to help as much as possible, so she grew her business to include Reiki Energy healing, meditation and guided workshops while continuing training and certifications in areas such as mediumship, and intuitive card readings.

“I guess the reason I felt compelled to nominate her is due to the amount of work I see her put into each and every class, or client appointment - before, during and after. The excitement leading into an appointment, the love given during a class (I attend meditation nights for my own stress and health concerns) and the energy that emanates from her after she's done.

“She loves what she does, she's emotionally invested in each and every client and she only wants to share her experiences and help others move through anything they are dealing with on a daily basis.

“I hope I'm not the only one who happened to see this nomination and took the time to choose their favorites in Wilmot and Wellesley. I think it's so important to recognize those in the community during these times that are devoting their time and energy to helping others, so thank you for bringing this to the forefront!”