Investing in the future and in staff is the recipe for success for this year’s Skegness Business of the Year - Kirks Quality Foods.
The family butchers has been in the town for more than 40 years and took the crown at a glittering ceremony at the Seaview Park Hotel on Friday.
It was a double celebration for the High Street butchers as earlier in the evening they also won Retailer of the Year.
John Kirk, owner of the business, said: “We are overwhelmed to have won. It’s more than 40 years since mum and dad started the business.
“We believe in investing in the future and during this time we have had three refits costing £260,000. But we also believe in investing in our staff. They are the face of the business and without good staff you having nothing.”
There were 10 categories in the third annual Skegness Business Awards, organised by Skegness Partnership and sponsored by Hodgkinsons Solicitors.
Among the special guests was Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman, who said it was great to be back for a third year and see the vibrancy of the town - not just from big investors but also small businesses.
He referred to recent reports about struggling resorts and said: “It is clear that Skegness is not a faded seaside town.
“It has never burned brighter.”
Paul Dixon, chairman of Skegness Partnership, said: “Since we started the awards three years ago the business support has been fantastic.
“It’s grown from 100 people, now there are 220 here for this celebration.
“We want to thank the business community in Skegness who adapt, train and employ people to make a resort that we can be proud of. It’s all about working together.”
Melvyn Prior, of BBC Radio Lincolnshire, compered the evening and announced the finalists, including some new categories - Health and Beauty, Chef of the Year and Learning Achiever. Media partners Skegness Standard launched an online vote for Best Place to Eat to help judges after receiving numerous nominations. The winner was San Rufo’s.
Other winners were:
BEST NEW BUSINESS
(Hodgkinsons) - NK Photo Booth and Events
This new family business builds their photo booths from scratch and hires them out as party entertainment packages. Stretching themselves to provide the start-up finance, the business is now benefiting from their hard work and with a focus on quality of service they have trade coming in from a wide area.
HEALTH AND BEAUTY AWARD (LVA) - Beautique
Beautique offers a range of skincare, beauty and holistic therapies with a small team of qualified and dedicated women who collaborate their talents. Recently established, the business demonstrated clearly why it is succeeding.
ACCOMMODATION OF THE YEAR (Rest assured/ SECHWA) - Savoy Hotel.
The yellow sign of the Savoy is a Skegness landmark; like a warm smile on Grand Parade. Beautifully decorated they do all of the things that matter to their guests extremely well. The team are aiming for a Visit England Silver award but the judges thought that they truly offer a gold standard.
BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR (Skegness and district Chamber of Trade and Commerce) - Taj Bola
Taj Bola – is passionate about Skegness and together with his brother TK (tee kay) has created two new businesses just this year. The opening of Trawlers Catch and Busters have added a significant new dynamic to the food and drink offer. Beyond the threshold of the business their support through Jolly on Tour and other marketing initiatives demonstrates their commitment to businesses working together. Taj and TK are both very credible candidates for Business Person of the Year, but as this award is for a single person its Taj that has been proposed.
RETAILER OF THE YEAR (Fix Auto) - Kirks Quality Foods
Long established but very progressive, Kirks meets the retail challenges head on. With a commercial catering arm, a new value range and products with added value created in store, they have a large behind the scenes workforce. This is the friendly local butcher that’s made a successful
transition into the 21 century.
CHEF OF THE YEAR (Booker) - Mario Cantelmi
Clearly Mario has a passion for the Italian food served at Marios. Attention to detail, a desire for customer satisfaction and constant reviewing and improving underpin Mario’s kitchen. Preparation of fresh pasta and pizza dough of course, but Mario constantly strives for greater perfection and to bring the enjoyment of his food to more people.
CUSTOMER CARE AWARD (Stagecoach) - People First Mobility
The judges said that this is a business that goes “the extra 2 miles”. The team at People First are not just selling a commodity they are genuinely concerned to assess the clients’ needs. With a concern for safety, Karen has established some driver training with the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership – all at her own expense.
LEARNING ACHIEVER OF THE YEAR (First College) - Paula Swain
Paula said that she thought her age would prevent her being accepted onto a college course. Not so, she enrolled on Health and Social Care level 2 and 3, took GCSE maths and English, she overcame substantial challenges of family life and is now at University in her own words“ achieving her dreams”.
BEST ENTERTAINMENT (Duncan and Toplis) - Grosvenor House Hotel Events
This iconic hotel organises a most impressive range of Weekender and weekday dance events throughout the year. Typically attracting 750 visitors other accommodation providers welcome the boost to their trade too. The judges were impressed with the Grosvenor’s lead on green tourism with trips to Gibraltar Point, Snipe Dales etc; clearly a proactive team.
BEST PLACE TO EAT (The Royal Hotel) - San Rufo’s
This was the first time there was a Best Place to Eat category and San Rufo’s topped the public vote.