The 2017 awards took place at The BarnYard on 22nd September, where guests enjoyed a delectable three-course meal prior to the announcement of this year’s winners, which was in turn followed by drinks and dancing. The awards themselves were presided over by compere by Paul Andrews, and there was a charity raffle that raised a grand total of £1,022 for the Swale Youth Development Fund.
2017 was described by the judges as “the most competitive year ever for the Swale Business Awards”, and the seventeen businesses named as finalists should all be proud of this achievement.
The finalists were:
After much deliberation, the judges had selected the following winners:
Gallery Direct, who have grown to become one of the leading, if not the leading British based designer, manufacturer and worldwide distributor of home furnishings, were in the opinion of the Judges a genuine jewel in Swale’s Crown. They have evolved since last year, embedding their operational and logistical services within their warehousing facility in Sittingbourne. The Judges were impressed with the plans that the company have adopted in terms of the expansion of the marketing team / distribution team and the use and promotion of apprentices.
The Judges were again impressed with Alex’s drive and determination in growing his business for the 4th consecutive year which has meant that expansion plans and business development are becoming something that the business is considering. The Director, Alex, has become involved with his industry bodies and is now chair of the local area association, again driving his name and that of the business into the forefront of people’s consciousness.
The Great Outdoor Gym Company is based at Brogdale in Faversham designing and supplying innovative outdoor gym equipment that caters for all, irrespective of age, sex, abilities and has the unique advantage of storing and using the energy created by the activity to charge lighting and mobile phones. The company exports around the World and has lots of ambitious plans to expand their offerings to more areas both within the UK and worldwide and the Judges were impressed with the drive and determination of the owners and staff alike.
Kent Catering Service Limited provide exceptional service to various industries in the maintenance and service in all aspects of commercial catering equipment. They proved to the judges their determination to be seen as leaders and the “go to” business in their field. Their team of engineers have helped to create the client facing interaction that has allowed the company to put service at the top of their agenda which is helping to cement the company’s position within the Industry.
Bennett Opie, creators, producers and distributors of high quality pickles under the Opies brand, have been one of Sittingbourne’s longest serving businesses operating from their Chalkwell Road site. There expansion onto Eurolink has enabled the company to develop its product range and with chosen brand partners have enabled the company and workforce to expand. The Judges were impressed that this family owned company has stayed loyal to its originators routes and kept a wealth of long standing employees gainfully employed in the area.
This is a new award this year. The judges were impressed with the drive and enthusiasm shown by Angela in taking her company, which predominantly delivers hair extension products and developing it into a business not only supplying said hair extensions but also offering training and business support. Angela is a particularly engaging and personable individual who manages to develop her business whilst maintaining an enjoyable work life balance. Angela started her business from scratch in 2013/2014 and has developed it through her passion to become one of a few ’go to’ people in her industry.
Burden Bros Agri have been chosen as the Employer of Year for the way they have managed various staffing matters over the year including the amalgamation of different businesses into their own. Most businesses will be aware of the clash of cultures that may arise on such business amalgamations but by the method that the company adopted to manage staff’s expectations and aspirations they overcame a particularly perilous situation with minimal fuss and disruption, leading to an expanded successful business going forward.
The Harmony Therapy Trust offers support and therapeutic treatments via its many therapists to a multitude of NHS referred patients living with Cancer and other serious chronic life altering illnesses. Patients and family members are supported through extremely traumatic periods of their life and with the collaboration of local businesses, schools and other organisations within Swale, they help to alleviate worry, concern and stress. The judges felt that, this year, with the expansion in numbers of individuals touched by the service provided by the Trust, they had stayed true to their initial roots, of every patient mattering and delivered an exceptional service throughout.
D-Dee’s Day Nursery and the proprietor in particular, Debbie Ann Gunn, mesmerised the judges with her passion and commitment to not just the little people (D-Dee’s words for children) under her control but also the wider community of little people. She attended with her team of staff, and Debbie acknowledges she cannot do some of the things she does without their support. Debbie and D-Dee’s Day Nursery have come to the forefront of nursery provision recently with various media companies wanting interviews about her, her thoughts and her nursery, including Sky News, BBC News and the like. Debbie is extremely committed to her industry offering support and advice to fellow nursery providers in the area.