Six CORE Awards handed out by Downtown Kingston BIA

The Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area (BIA) has awarded six 2023 CORE Awards to people and businesses, recognizing outstanding contributions to the community and showcasing businesses and individuals dedicated to excellence, sustainability and revitalization.

According to the BIA, the recipients received the CORE Awards at the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023.

“The name CORE Awards is definitely in reference to the ‘downtown core..  We’ve applied the acronym for: a Celebration of Remarkable Excellence, but generally will refer to them simply as the CORE Awards,” the BIA shared in an email to Kingstonist.

In a media release, the BIA shared the following details on the recipients:

Customer Service Excellence Award: Bailey Jewitt – Something in the Water

Bailey Jewitt of Something in the Water was awarded the Customer Service Excellence accolade for consistently providing exceptional customer service in the downtown core. Nominated for her unwavering commitment and professionalism, Bailey’s impact on her workplace and the local community is commendable. Her initiatives foster diversity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging, making her a deserving recipient of this prestigious award.

Downtown Revitalization Award: Erica Braunstein – Lay Low

Erica Braunstein’s renovation of 241 Princess Street into Lay Low earned her the Downtown Revitalization Award. Erica’s vision, passion, and dedication to preserving the historical significance of the building while contributing to economic growth make her a standout entrepreneur in the downtown Kingston community.

Kingston’s Visitor Information Centre in the spring. Photo via Tourism Kingston on Google.

Sustainability Champion Award: Andre Soucy – Tourism Kingston’s Visitor Information Centre and Kendra Allen – Moxie and Mine

Under the direction of Andre Soucy, the team at Tourism Kingston’s Visitor Information Centre achieved a bronze certification from GreenStep Solutions which included the implementation of a comprehensive three-year sustainable action plan, putting them at the forefront of responsible tourism and earning them the Sustainability Champion Award.

Kendra Allen of Moxie and Mine, a unique sustainable bridal shop, also earned the Sustainability Champion Award. Kendra’s dedication to upcycling, supporting local businesses, and providing affordable, eco-friendly wedding options has made a positive impact on both brides and the environment.

Exceptional Street Presence Award: Montreal Street Collective

For their outstanding contributions to community building, sustainable shopping, and vibrancy downtown, Montreal Street Collective received the Exceptional Street Presence Award. Their commitment to collaboration and support for local businesses has enhanced the overall aesthetic appeal of the downtown area.

Innovator Award: Yessica Rivera Belsham –

Yessica Rivera Belsham, the creative force behind, was the recipient of the Innovator Award. Her remarkable events, including the Día de los Muertos Kingston Community Celebration of Life and Ollin Drum Circles, showcase her dedication to inclusive community arts and culture, enriching the downtown Kingston experience.

A flash to not all that far back, as Google Street View offers a glimpse of what once was — Cunningham and Poupore on Brock Street in 2017
Gary Poupore speaks after being inducted into the Kingston Business Hall of Fame as the 2016 Community Builder. Photo by Carey Bidtnes via Downtown Kingston BIA on X.

Exceptional Dedication Award: Gary Poupore

The Exceptional Dedication Award is presented to Gary Poupore, recognizing his significant impact on the downtown business community through unwavering dedication and contributions.

In response to Kingstonist inquiries, the BIA explained that it ran a communications campaign seeking nominations from the BIA membership business and property owners in the downtown core, as well as a social media campaign inviting nominations from the general public.

“We then conducted an internal review of the many nominations we received, and selected winners based on the number and quality of the nominations received,” the BIA said.

“Downtown Kingston congratulates all the 2023 CORE Award recipients for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the vibrant and thriving downtown community.”

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