July 14th, 2024

Alberta Chamber honours local entrepreneur

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on July 2, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Marci Stickel has been recognized as Female Entrepreneur of the year by the Alberta Chamber of Commerce.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

A local business owner has been recognized as female entrepreneur of the year by the Alberta Chamber of Commerce after serving the community for almost two decades.

Marci Stickel, owner and Chief Executive Officer of LA Chefs, was recognized last week after being nominated a few months back by an unknown source, and she said the award came as a surprise to her.

“It was very surprising, very unexpected, very appreciated. I founded this company almost 20 years ago with another partner and we started out very small and slowly over the years we started to grow our team,” said Stickel.

Many have asked Stickel about the name “LA Chefs” and she explains that the L is for Lethbridge and the A is for Alberta.

“When we were thinking about what to name the company it really came down to who are we and what sets us apart, and really it starts with our chefs. They are the talent behind the food,” said Stickel.

She said she wanted the name to demonstrate the talent behind the company’s product and also the fact that chefs had become such an iconic part of pop culture through chef reality shows, and how that in turn made people curious about who cooked their meals.

“It’s been about 10 years since I became the sole owner of LA Chefs and even though I don’t have any culinary background, luckily I’ve been able to hire and retain very skilled and talented culinary personnel,” said Stickel.

She explained her background is in accounting and finance and that worked out for her to manage the other side of the business.

While talking about the growth her business has seen through the years, Stickle said part of the growth involved partnering with different venues to provide exclusive catering, while also providing off-site catering to other locations like people’s homes and businesses.

“Our growth really started to happen in 2009 when we partnered with the Coast Lethbridge Hotel and we were approached to come and handle all of their event food and beverage services and we’ve been operating out of the Coast Hotel since,” said Stickle.

She said since then the company has seen a significant portion of its growth and in recent years they expanded its partnership to other venues including the Northland Estate and the Countryside Barn.

“Our journey started as just providing catering services to people, to now providing full event management services, which includes helping them find a venue, their meal preparation and planning,” said Stickel.

She added that now they also have a subsidiary called Lethbridge Event Rentals which offers decor and design for the overall atmosphere of any event.

“Over the years we’ve been fortunate to share with our clients important events, whether they are social private events like weddings, anniversaries, or celebration of life, but also on the corporate side to assist our corporate clients with making their events successful and help them to meet their goals,” said Stickel.

She said every event takes on a unique personality and a variety of items are important to an event and therefore it is important to get to know clients to be able to fulfill their needs to the best of their abilities.

Those efforts have been recognized in the past and for Stickel they have become highlights of her career. The first one took place in 2011 when they were nominated for the Business of the Year award from the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce.

“We were catering that event. I honestly had not even contemplated that we would even be considered as a winner. As they were going through the winners they announced our name and it was literally at that event that I realized that we had a real legitimate business that was respected and was being honoured for how we have built our business and the service that we provided to our community,” said Stickel.

She said LA Chefs received the same award again in 2017 along with reaching the top three finalists for the business of the year for the Alberta Chamber of Commerce.

“The other part that I find both professionally and personally rewarding is the team that I have built. There are so many of our team members that have been with us for such a long period of time,” said Stickel.

She said the general manager has been with the company for 20 years, thedirector of sales for 15 years and many other have been with LA Chefs between 10 and 15 years.

“It’s just very humbling and very rewarding to have built that kind of team, with that level of loyalty to our team,” said Stickel.

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Well deserved! Marci is a great leader and has assembled a first class team to build the wonderful business that can make a success of any event.

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