The achievements, resilience and success of businesses of all shapes and sizes were celebrated at the 2017 Hunter Region Business Excellence Awards.
An initiative of the Hunter Region Business Hub, the awards were presented at a gala dinner at Cessnock Leagues Club on Friday night.
Muswellbrook’s Remington Motor Inn took out the overall business of the year award, with Conveyancing Services, Genea Newcastle and Jezweb rounding out the top four finalists.
Remington Motor Inn manager Tamara Petersen and her team were thrilled to receive the top gong as well as the award for the hospitality and tourism category.
“It goes to show what a really good team can provide,” Ms Peterson said.
The motor inn entered the awards for the first time last year and picked up a highly commended trophy.
The awards began in 1993 as the Cessnock Kurri Kurri Small Business Awards, and grew to encompass Maitland and Dungog, and eventually the whole Hunter region by 2007.
More than 100 nominations were received for the 2017 awards, and 60 finalists were selected across 18 categories.
Business hub manager Kerry Hallett said this year’s entries were exceptional, and the judges faced a tough task, presenting highly commended awards in six categories due to the close scores.
Ms Hallett said the awards provide a great opportunity for businesses to showcase and reflect upon their achievements, and plan for the future.
Entrants were required to demonstrate a high level of business excellence and customer experience in their application.
Cessnock businessman Luke Ahearn took home two trophies, with his store Thread and Ink winning the retail category and Mr Ahearn receiving the young entrepreneur of the year award.
Other multiple trophy winners included Conveyancing Services (winning the professional services category and business woman of the year award for its co-owner Natalie Mason), and Merchant Business Brokers (which won the financial and real estate services award, and its director Shane Fox was named business leader of the year).
See the full list of winners and highly commended recipients below.
HUNTER REGION BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2017
- Hospitality and Tourism – highly commended, Beyond Ballooning; winner, Remington Motor Inn, Muswellbrook.
- Internet-Based Business – winner, Jezweb.
- Hairdressing, Beauticians and Barbers – winner, Total Beauty and Health, Boolaroo.
- Retail – Thread and Ink, Cessnock.
- Professional Services – highly commended, Palfreyman Chartered Accountant; winner, Conveyancing Services.
- Health Services – highly commended, Body and Mind 2000; winner, Genea Newcastle.
- Trades and Industry – MV Solar.
- Financial and Real Estate Services – Merchant Business Brokers.
- Not-for-Profit Organisations – highly commended, Survivors R Us; winner, Towns With Heart, Kurri Kurri.
- Home-Based Business – highly commended, Body and Mind 2000; winner, Newcastle Heritage and Ghost Tours.
- General Business – highly commended, Hunter Interior Design, and Always Clear Pools N Spas; winner, Newcastle Security.
- New Start Business – The Mine Shaft Restaurant.
- NEIS Business of the Year – Gymnastics 21.
- Customer Service (individual) – Lisa Petersen, LJ Hooker Cessnock and Kurri Kurri.
- Customer Service (whole business) – Hunter Pet Motel, Elderslie.
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Luke Ahearn, Thread and Ink Cessnock.
- Business Woman of the Year – Natalie Mason, Conveyancing Services.
- Business Leader of the Year – Shane Fox, Merchant Business Brokers.
- Business of the Year – Remington Motor Inn, Muswellbrook.