Hundreds were dressed up in their best attire for the Johnston Press South Business Awards in Brighton last night (September 30).
The annual award ceremony, held this year at The Grand Hotel, in Kings Road, Brighton, celebrates the best in business within the Sussex Coast.
Now in its sixth year, the awards ceremony, organised by JP South Events, was presented by BBC One Show presenter, Nick Wallis, who said it was ‘fantastic how much support the awards get and shows just how important it is to support the business community in the area, even when times are tough’.
The evening kicked off at 6.30pm with a drinks reception and three course meal.
The 19 awards were handed out from 9.30pm.
The first award of the night was for customer service and went to Fin and Farm, who deliver fresh Sussex produce to home and commercial kitchens in Brighton, Hove and Lewes.
Mr Wallis said: “Fin and Farm bring together farmers and those who love good food, making it fresh, accessible and easy.
“They offer a good price and service and its values are based on honesty and integrity.”
The category sponsor was Richard John Hair and Beauty Salon and was presented by Richard John.
The best start-up business award went to The Nature Shop.
Mr Wallis said of the company: “The owners are passionate about their products.
“It is good to see marketing is at the forefront of their business plans, which has already demonstrated good return.”
The category sponsor was MASS Productions Events Ltd. Kieran Stanley and Roman Ladd from the company presented the award.
The innovation award, which was sponsored by the Nigel Greaves Gallery and presented by Nigel Greaves, went to ETI, the largest manufacturer of digital thermometers in the UK, based in Worthing.
Mr Wallis said: “The development of new products is just part of the company’s continual investment in innovation, which it believes is essential in maintaining commercial advantage.
“Peter and Miriam Webb developed this business from a start up in their home kitchen in 1983 and it is now a multimillion pound organisation employing 187 people.”
The winner of the Small Business of the Year was Luv Carpets.
Mr Wallis said: “Judges said it was good to see two young men grow a small business with such passion and drive for local, national and international market.
“They have also shown they have good ambitions for the future.”
The award, open to firms with up to nine employees, was presented by Stefan Buss from Storm.
The Green Business award went to The Big Lemon, presented by Mike Walker from Country Clean.
Mr Wallis said: “The Big Lemon shows real commitment to the environment and green innovations across its whole company approach. “It has very exciting future plans for green technology, with the aim to become 100 per cent fossil free.”
The Training and Development award, presented by Denise Greaves from etc Magazine, went to Richard John Academy, a hair salon which has 14 apprentices.
Mr Wallis said: “Richard John Academy offers an unparalled degree of customer service and it has proved an undoubted success.”
The Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure award went to the Hilton London Gatwick.
Simon Wallace presented the award sponsored by Gusto.
Mr Wallis said: “The hotel’s mission is simple: to delight its guests by promising a great night’s sleep and an unforgettable dinning and meeting experience.”
The winner of the medium sized business award was Bexhill Electrical.
Mr Wallis said: “Bexhill Electrical is a family business that was set up in 2001.
“The company has grown rapidly over the years tuning over up to £1 million a year and employing 16 members of staff.”
The award, for businesses with between 10 and 49 employees, was presented by Zelda Reeves, Divisional Events & Sponsorship Co-ordinator for JP South Events.
The Outstanding Contribution To The Community award went to Auntie Vals Community Interest Kitchen.
Zelda Reeves collected the award of their behalf, presented by Gerry Hussein from Best of Brighton & Hove.
Mr Wallis said: “Auntie Vals is a unique not for profit business – genuinely committed to and passionate about giving people with disabilities jobs, training and work experience, when they would perhaps not get work elsewhere.”
The Employer of the Year award went to Dynamite Recruitment.
It was presented by Alex Jenkins, Social Media Editor for Sussex newspapers.
Mr Wallis said: “Dynamite Recruitment won due to its testimonials and the family feel and approach as an employer.
“Children’s Christmas parties, time off for sports days and their support of part-time staff were commendable.”
The winner of the Best Employee or Best Team category was the Marriott Hotel.
Mr Wallis said: “The hotel is a real example of team work.
“The employees are involved in profile raising events, charity days and took part in the Great South Run – all good examples of team work.”
The award was presented by Paul Windsor, from P A Windsor.
The Place to Eat Award, presented by Jane from Special Creations, went to Indian Summer.
Mr Wallis said: “Indian Summer just pipped the post due to their absolute passion for the food they produce and their restaurant.”
Darren Hunter from Express Printing presented the Young Achiever award,
The Young Achiever award went to Rachel Blair from WCHP.
Mr Wallis said: “Judges said that Rachel Blair is an amazing individual with true dedication and commitment to the charity she works for.”
The Manufacturing And Construction award, presented by Simon Wallace from Gusto Wines, went to Supersigns.
“Judges said Supersigns has good repeat business and encouraging three year business objectives,” Mr Wallis said.
The Large Business Of The Year award, presented by Mark Waldron JP South Editorial Director, was awarded to 1st Central.
“This insurance management company launched in 2008 and now has more than 325,000 customers and 624 employees,” said Mr Wallis.
The Retailer of the Year award went to Creatiques Bridal Boutique.
The award was presented by David Wilde from Regis Removals.
Mr Wallis said: “This bridal boutique celebrated its 25th trading year and provides a unique and personalised service to each and every person.”
The winner of the Business Personality award was Clive Collins from Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm.
“Clive is the founder of Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm which has been supplying Christmas Trees for 25 years and operates with one simple philosophy – to provide the best quality trees in Sussex at the best possible prices,” said Mr Wallis.
The award was sponsored by JSPC.
The Lifetime Achievement award, sponsored by JSPC, was awarded to David Oliver from Verisona Law.
“David Oliver’s his charitable efforts speak for themselves and to set up something as important as the British Transplant Games, alongside his business commitments is extraordinary,” said Mr Wallis.
The Overall Business Of The Year award, presented by Dianne Gill Events & Exhibitions Manager for Johnston Press, went to Luv Carpets.
The award ceremony was followed by a disco.
The night was sponsored by JSPC Computer Services, which provides ICT technical support to small businesses and schools and sells computers from its Sompting repair centre.
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