The business community of Carrick and district flocked to a fantastic evening which celebrated the best of local commerce and enterprise at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel.
The Carrickfergus Business Awards 2017, organised by the Carrick Times with prinicipal sponsorship from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, proved to be a success story on all levels.
Around 150 guests enjoyed a drinks reception, dinner and an exciting multi-media awards ceremony, compered by Stephen Clements of Q Radio Network.
“It was superb to see so many people who play their part in the local business community truly enjoying themselves,” said Carrick Times Content Edtor, Des Blackadder. “I would personally like to thank all our sponsors for their support and congratulate the staff at the Loughshore Hotel for their very fine hospitality.”
On an evening of celebration, there can be little doubt that the highlight of the ceremonies was the presentation of the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award, sponsored by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, to veteran retailer, Robin Stewart of Robinson’s Shoes.
Robinson’s also secured the ‘Best Digital Initiative’ award.
Speaking afterwards, Mr. Stewart, who was clearly moved by the warmth of the reception he received, said he was humbled by the award and, as a proud Carrick man congratulated all the other award winners and the shortlisted entries.
The Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Cllr. Audrey Wales MBE said the awards had been an ideal opportunity for business people to meet in a social environment and make new contacts.
“The promotion of business is of vital importance to the council so we were very happy to play our part in the awards process,” she said.
Kelli Bagchus of associate sponsors, Carrickfergus Enterprise Centre, was also thrilled to see such a wonderful turnout on the evening.
She reminded guests that the Centre had its roots in much darker days for Carrick when closure of local industries had brought gloom to the town.
Since then, the organisation has worked tirelessly on behalf of the local business community and she was delighted to see so many friends and colleagues from that commercial fraternity present for the awards.
Look out for a full supplement on the awards ceremony in next week’s Times.
Readers’ favourite eating establishment (voted by Carrick Times readers) - sponsored by Cannon Hyundai, Carrickfergus - Papa Brown’s Grill.
Best artisan company - SeaSugar Handmade Confectionery.
Best environmental business - sponsored by Gaelectric - Aulino Wann & Associates.
Best digital initiative and use of social media - Robinson’s Shoes.
Best customer service (voted for by Carrick Times readers) - sponsored by AES UK & Ireland - About Face Beauty.
Best craft company of the year - My Painted Bear.
Best start-up business award - sponsored by Carrickfergus Enterprise - LEAD inclusive counselling.
Best retailer - The Bank House.
Excellence in tourism - Fools Haven Thatched Cottage
Young business person of the year - sponsored by Forever - Daryl Crothers of Flipping Crepes.
Business person of the year - sponsored by Ulster Bank - Andrea Darrah of Andrea Darrah Hair Design.
Lifetime Achievement Award - sponsored by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council - Robin Stewart.