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From an early age, Jack Diaz loved spending time in the woodworking shop.

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Then about three years ago, he decided to get a little more serious about making a fun picnic table feeder for squirrels. They were an instant hit and he ended up selling dozens of them. Since then, he has never looked back and through his business, his JAXWOODWORX, creates everything from cutting boards and charcuterie boards to furniture and seasonal décor.

On Thursday, Diaz won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Under 35) sponsored by Georgian College at this year’s Business Excellence Awards held at the Best Western Inn on the Bay and was honored by the Owen Sound and District Chamber of Commerce. was awarded from October 20th.

“I feel great,” Diaz, 18, said Tuesday from her family’s home in the city of Meaford. “I work hard at my job and it’s an honor to be recognized for it.

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“I knew I was nominated, but I never thought I would win.”

Diaz said he has received many congratulations and kind words from family and friends since winning.

Diaz, a 13th grader at St. Mary’s High School, said his main focus was on bird feeders and squirrel feeders when he started.

In April 2020, he invested around $20,000 in new industrial equipment and now includes custom furniture in his work. He now also works in epoxy.

“I love being able to make anything I really want,” Diaz said. “You can add your own little twist to things. And trees are beautiful, too.”

Diaz has worked with more than 20 types of wood, from domestic timbers such as cherry maple and walnut to purple heart, wenge, yellow heart, paduk, black limba and various types of mahogany. He visits various suppliers both locally and in his GTA to get his raw product.

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He participates in numerous vendor markets and arts and crafts exhibitions throughout the summer, including this summer’s Summerfolk. He also has his Christmas show and will be at the Artisans Holiday Show and Sale, both in Owen Sound, and the Market at the Business Enterprise Center in Gray County. Diaz is a past participant in the Summer Company Program, which provides grants, training, and mentorship to students starting and managing businesses.

Diaz said he enjoys being an entrepreneur.

“I can work pretty much on my own schedule, so if there’s a football game or something I need to attend, I don’t have to worry about having to go to work or whatever,” Diaz said. rice field. “I think it’s wonderful.”

Diaz also has a strong online presence on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and will soon be adding her first YouTube video. He has a website jaxwoodworx.ca and his work is shipped as far as Quebec.

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Diaz, the son of Mark and Julie Diaz, said his family and friends are his biggest supporters and appreciates all of their support.

His father Mark said his son has had tools in his hands since he was just a few years old.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Mark said.

About 125 people attended this year’s Business Excellence Awards ceremony. The ceremony was Mardi Gras-themed and was hosted by comedian Steve Morrell.

This year’s Business Excellence Awards included more than 130 nominations across 13 categories, with winners chosen by peer and community votes.

This year’s other winners are:

  • Community Service Awards presented by The Gray Gallery, Sound Life Solutions.
  • Hospitality Awards presented by European Bakery Café Foodland Owen Sound.
  • New Business of the Year presented by Miske Paralegal Services, SuiteSpots Flexible Business Space.
  • Schooley Mitchell’s Miguel Cardenas is Entrepreneur of the Year (35+) sponsored by TC Transcontinental.
  • Service Excellence Awards presented by Owen Sound IDA Pharmacy and Owen Sound Travel.
  • J. Peat Roofing and Sheet Metal, Skilled Trade Award sponsored by Benedict Electric Contracts (6+ employees).
  • Pioneer Masonry, Skill Award (1-5 employees), sponsored by GSS Engineering Consultants.
  • Billy Bishop Museum, Community Service Awards (Non-Profit), Sponsored by Marylon Hall RE/MAX Gray Bruce Realty.
  • Ashley Cunningham, Mortgage Architects, Small Office/Home Office Awards, sponsored by Staples
  • Total Recovery Massage Therapy and Wellness, Business of the Year (1-24 employees), sponsored by BDO.

JD MacArthur Tire Service, Business of the Year (25+ employees), sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada.

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