Cameron Baty and Karina Birch, co-founders of Rocky Mountain Soap Co., have been honoured with the Ambassador of the Year Award at the Retail Council of Canada’s annual Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala.
The award, which was presented to the duo in Toronto on May 31, “recognizes the outstanding contributions of a local retailer to his or her community.”
Rocky Mountain Soap Co.’s toxin-free products, community engagement and business expansion in Western Canada put them in the running for the award.
“We were just really proud to get it,” said Baty. “I see how challenging it is as an independent retailer when we’re fighting against all the big guys in the industry.”
The company, which started in Canmore with just Baty, Birch, and one part timer, has grown to include over 100 employees and 11 stores throughout Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.
“It’s really nice to be able to be a good member of the community and to be able to be at a size where it’s not just me and Karina pulling our hair out every day. The company has time to do some fun and exciting and helpful things for the community.”
As if to affirm the company’s role in community engagement that helped them take home the title of Ambassador of the Year, the duo accepted the award in Toronto just days after hosting their annual Women’s Run and Walk in Canmore.
The event, which raises funds and awareness for Fast and Female, a Canmore-based organization that aims to empower girls through sport, took place on May 28-29.
The Women’s Run and Walk has been an annual event since 2008 and often sells out within the first month of open registration.
The company has also been involved with local food banks, shelters and organizations over the years. Over the holidays, the company’s Let’s Give a Tonne project saw almost a tonne of soap donated to local food banks, and the company is also involved with organizations such as CAUSE Canada and Project Shine.
“We feel happy to be involved in this community and are really happy with the things we’re able to do. As we’ve gotten bigger, (we’re) able to help in the community.”
Baty says that although the company has grown exponentially since its creation, the pair have maintained their philosophy and commitment to natural toxin-free products, and in that arena they’re still the little guys up against large-scale, international establishments.
“We really fight to be natural and are kind of blazing a trail on that front. Instead of just playing in Canmore we’re playing in Western Canada, but we’re playing against big players. We’re bigger than we were, but we’re still in the same arena,” he said.