The prizegiving ceremony on Friday at Clandeboye Lodge attracted hundreds of expectant competitors. Compered by Bangor’s Colin Barkley, the evening opened with a speech from North Down Mayor Andrew Muir.
“North Down Borough Council are truly delighted to have been the Principal Sponsor for this years’ awards, the first year in a line of 13 annual events, which has encompassed the whole of North Down. “The council felt that it was imperative they supported such an important business event, especially in the 400th year of Bangor and North Down charters. “I would like to offer huge congratulations to all of the finalists here tonight – it is a fantastic achievement for all the businesses and we are just delighted and proud to have such excellent businesses in the borough “I would also like to offer congratulations to the organising partners; led by Bangor Chamber of Commerce working with Bangor & Holywood TCM and, this year, Holywood Chamber of Commerce; a winning combination right there!”
Mr Muir then went on to outline his vision for North Down, taking as his theme ‘Working as One’. This will prioritise community relations, sport and economy with focus on skills and creative industries. HE added, “Economists widely recognise that diverse, accepting, open and welcoming communities have successful economies and, as a result, my focus is on good relations and promoting an inclusive borough with a positive approach.
Next to speak was John Minnis of Holywood Chamber of Commerce who thanked all the sponsors and said that Holywood was ‘delighted’ to be part of the success of the awards. His Bangor counterpart, Ken Sharp, said that the entries for the awards had increased again with 200 replies from 80 industries and, with the addition of the other areas outside Bangor, made sure the night represented the best of the best from North Down. He also referred to the recent passing of former chamber member Pat Milliken and passed on the chamber’s sympathies to this family.
Throughout the speeches thanks were also offered to the organiser of the evening, Paula Kane. Ably managed by compere Colin Barkley, the awards revealed the finalists in each category before declaring the winner.
- Customer Service, Multiple Retailer Award - Goldsmiths
- Best Tourism/Activity Provider Award - joint winners: Pickie Fun Park and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
- Customer Service, Independent Retailer Award - Nicholas Graham Concept Salon & Spa
- Best Eatery Award (SUB Groups: Café / Eatery) - Café: Coffee Cure at the Museum ; Eatery: Enigma Holywood
- Most Progressive Licensee Award -Dirty Duck, Holywood
- Best 'food-to-go' Award - Sunflower Sandwich Company
- Best Accommodation Provider - Guesthouse: Rayanne House; Hotel: The Olde Inn
- Business Development Award (U10 employees) - Creative Commercial Interiors
- Business Development Award (Over 10 employees) - Little Bears Day Nursery
- Young Businessperson Award - Emma Gray, Bright Sparks Montessori
- New Business Award - The Specialist Dentist Clinic
- Marketing including Digital Media Award - Denman International
- Creative Business Award - Open House Festival
- Best Company to work for Award - Denman International
- Professional Services Award - DMS Ireland
- Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Award - Bryan Spence, Sonic Academy
- Commitment to HOLYWOOD Business Community Award - Rob van Duin (1949 to 2013), Camphill Holywood
- Commitment to BANGOR Business Community Award - Stephen Dumigan, Focus Menswear