The Larne Business Awards 2014 saw local businesses from all sectors battle it out for top spot across 14 awards categories.
However, as Larne Borough Council chief executive Geraldine McGahey stated at the outset of the evening, there werre no losers in the majestic ballroom at the Ballygally Castle Hotel last Thursday.
“You are all winners here,” she told all the nominees. “To be nominated or shortlisted in the first place is an achivement in itself.”
Compere Jamie Delargy, UTV business editor, announced the awards as follows:
Best Community Engagement Award: Sponsored by Lagan Construction Group and presented by Seamus Devlin (Regional Director for Ireland)
Nominees: Specsavers, LEDCOM, Mulhollands of Larne and Acceptable Enterprises Larne (AEL).
Winner: Acceptable Enterprises Ltd (AEL)
Excellence in Tourism: Sponsored by Port of Larne and P&O Ferries and presented by Keith Millar (Managing Director, Port of Larne & Head of Operations Irish Sea)
Nominees: Carnfunnock Country Park and Glenarm Castle
Winner: Carnfunnock Country Park
Larne Times Readers’ Favourite Restaurant/Cafe: Voted for by readers and presented by Stephen Kernohan (Content Editor, Larne, Carrick and Newtownabbey Times)
Nominees: The Little Cafe, The Prom Cafe and Blue Chicago Grill.
Winner: The Little Cafe
Best Rural Business
Sponsored by NFU Mutual and presented by William Cross (Group Manager)
Nominees: Green Roofs Direct, SPR McGowan Tree Services and Laird Grass Machinery.
Winner: Green Roofs Direct
Excellence in People Development: Sponsored by Actavis (Warner Chilcott) and presented by Emma Boyd (Formulation Scientist)
Nominees: Kilwaughter Chemical Company, Staff Nursing Ltd, LEDCOM and McGee’s Butchers.
Winner: Kilwaughter Chemical Company Limited
Best Customer Service (voted for by Larne Times readers): Sponsored by Power NI and presented by Julie Ann Carson (Business Energy Power NI)
Nominees: Haze at No. 10, Sounds Good Music and The Little Cafe.
Winner: Haze at No. 10
Best Environmental Business: Sponsored by Gaelectric and presented by Patrick McClughan (Head of Corporate Affairs)
Nominees: Wind NI and ACJ Trading.
Winner: ACJ Trading
Excellence in Marketing Award: Presented by Roy Sharpe (Advertising Manager, Johnston Press)
Nominees: Larne Traders Forum, Funky Monkeys and Old Mill Saddlery
Winner: Larne Traders’ Forum
Best Digital Initiative and Use of Social Media: Sponsored by Specsavers and presented by Darren Caulfield (Optometrist Director)
Nominees: The Old Mill Saddlery and Caroline Smyth Photography
Winner: Caroline Smyth Photography
Excellence in Innovation:
Sponsored by Wind NI and presented by Rob McMillan (General Manager)
Nominees: Raptor Photonics Ltd, Actavis (Warner Chilcott), and Green Roofs Direct.
Winner: Raptor Photonics Ltd
Best Export Business:
Sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland and presented by Moira Loughran (Regional Business Manager, Eastern Region Invest NI)
Nominees: Stealth Translations and Raptor Photonics Ltd.
Winner: Raptor Photonics Ltd
Presented by Valerie Martin (Group Editor, Johnston Press NI)
Nominees: Inver Garden Centre and Funky Monkeys.
Winner: Inver Garden Centre
Young Business Person of the Year:
Sponsored by Forever Living and presented by Bill Crymble (Head of Finance & Operations)
Nominees: Stephen McGowan, Ben Ferris, Rachael Garrett and Liz Hanvey
Winner: Rachael Garrett
Business Person of the Year:
Sponsored by LEDCOM and presented by Henry Fletcher (Chairman Ledcom)
Nominees: Stephen Weir, Catrina Baxter, David Hill and Linzi Conway
Winner: Stephen Weir
Lifetime Achievement Award:
Sponsored by Larne Borough Council and presented by Mayor of Larne Cllr Martin Wilson
Winner: James McKelvey.