Lodge makes clean sweep of awards
Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre in the Queen Charlotte Sound has won three titles at the Westpac Marlborough Chamber of Commerce 2012 Business Excellence Awards, including the supreme award.
Lochmara also received the environment award and the award for best medium-sized business.
This year, 12 businesses entered the region's premiere event for honouring business excellence. Almost 300 people attended the annual awards dinner at the Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim on Friday night.
In accepting the supreme award, Lochmara co-owner Shayne Olsen acknowledged they were lucky to work in such a beautiful environment.
"But luck comes with a lot of hard work - you've got to work for it, don't you."
Co-owner Louise Bright said it was a big surprise to win the supreme award.
"Lochmara usually flies under the radar - we're busy doing our own thing, so this is a real surprise," she said.
She also talked about their commitment during the early years to developing the lodge, such as putting priority on a new sewerage system ahead of a new car.
Best small business award winners Linda and Christian Fletcher-Firks, of Clearview Cleaning, said they entered this year after mistakenly being congratulated as last year's category winners when they appeared in the social pages of the Marlborough Express.
"A few days after everyone congratulated us we thought that this year we better enter," Mr Fletcher-Firks said.
Beyond the Fringe owner Rochelle Stevenson accepted the award for best workplace.
The accolade was an honour, but the people she worked and dealt with every day made it all the more rewarding, she said.
Training eager young hairdressers was also a real satisfaction.
"We like those rough little diamonds, bringing them through and seeing how far they've come at the other end."
The awards sponsors talked during the night about the drive and commitment all business owners put into their operation and the importance of having well trained staff.
The judges for the awards were Marlborough Chamber of Commerce vice-president and Saint Clair Family Estate chief financial officer Nikki de Reeper, Blenheim-based Westpac New Zealand commercial manager Dean Lawrence and Blenheim business mentor David Taylor, of Positive Potential. Marlborough Express Emerging Business Award (operating for less than two years): Watery Mouth Cafe.
Marlborough Lines' Powerhouse of New Zealand Business Award (turnover up to $500,000): Clearview Cleaning.
Wallace Diack Chartered Accountants Medium Business Award (turnover of $500,000 to $1.5 million): Lochmara Lodge 1; Picton Village Bakkerij 2.
Crombie Lockwood Large Business Award (turnover in excess of $1.5m): Blenheim Early Childhood Centres.
Trustpower Customer Service Award: Chateau Marlborough 1; The Sewing Store 2.
Fanselow Bell Marlborough Best Workplace Award: Beyond the Fringe 1; Southern Water Engineering 2.
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Investing in People and Skills Award: Picton Village Bakkerij 1; Johnson's Barge Service 2.
Marlborough District Council Environment Award: Lochmara Lodge 1; N-Viro Group 2.
pcMedia Technologies Innovation Award: N-Viro Group 1; Johnson's Barge Service 2.
Westpac Supreme Award: Lochmara Lodge 1; Picton Village Bakkerij 2; Johnson's Barge Service and Pirtek Marlborough equal 3.
- The Marlborough Express
What is the best time for the Santa Parade in Blenheim?Related story: Blenheim 'buzzing' with festive cheer