Who Are H &F's Most Brilliant Businesses?

Local entrepreneurs shine in first ever business awards

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Hammersmith and Fulham's brightest and best businesses have been recognised and rewarded at the first ever H&F Brilliant Business Awards.

43 local firms, ranging from dance studios to dog groomers and from computer specialists to our local credit union, were shortlisted for the awards which were handed out at a ceremony held at Brasa restaurant, in Fulham Broadway, to see who took away the top prizes.

The awards were split into five categories, with each being sponsored by a local business - our four biggest shopping centres, Fulham Broadway, Kings Mall, Westfield and West12 plus the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle.

The panel of five judges was from Westfield, the Federation of Small Businesses, HammersmithLondon BID, the Chronicle and the Fulham Society.

Here are the big winners on the night, who each received a trophy and a prize from the sponsor.

My Favourite Business
Winner - Karen Hardy Studios, at Imperial Wharf in Fulham
Runner Up - Computer Nerds, based in the Coda Centre in Fulham's Munster Road

Strictly Come Dancing winner and former five times world number one Latin American Dance Champion Karen Hardy set up her dance studio in Imperial Wharf three years ago. The studio has more than 1,000 members.
Karen's husband and business partner, Conrad Murray, said: "Karen's off teaching dancing to the great and good in China but wants to thank the team for doing an awesome job. It's a tough time to run a business out there but a lot of hard work has gone into this. We're extremely proud of this award and will be back next year."

Best Customer Service
Winner - Darlings of Chelsea, Fulham Palace Road
Runner Up - Computer Angels, Munster Road

A sofa store in Fulham High Street, Darlings of Chelsea won praise for its excellent customer service with many customers feeling that staff go above and beyond the call of duty. Judges were impressed by the fact that each customer is assigned an individual account manager, who regularly updates them about their order, delivery status and any future purchases.

Founder John Darling said: "It feels great to get recognised for our staff going that extra mile. We did not expect it; we've not won an award before."

Best New Business 

Winner - Bishops Bark, Fulham Palace Road
Runner Up - Ole Kids, Rosaline Road, Fulham

Bishops Bark in Fulham Palace Road is a pet grooming shop where staff have spent the past two years forging strong relationships with their clients.

Owner Ryan Gottsche, said: "We were so happy to even be nominated and then when they said we were best new business it felt great. It was above and beyond our expectations.”

Best Business Supporter of the Community
Winner - H&F Credit Union, North End Road
Runner Up - Kick It, free stop smoking advice service with sessions throughout the borough

H&F Credit Union delivers a range of financial services to the community such as affordable loans and Christmas saving schemes. The community bank helps its members with financial services, offers apprenticeships to local youngsters and helps volunteers back into work.

Chair of the board of directors, Vincent Thomas, said: "It's wonderful, we're really pleased that we've been recognised for the work that we've been doing since 2008. We're really pleased that so many people voted for us and recognise us as something valued in the community.”

Best Young Entrepreneur (aged 35 or under)
Winner - Clear Books, Hammersmith Road
Runner Up - Young Honeys, family hair salon in Goldhawk Road

Tim Fouracre started online accounting system Clear Books in 2007 with the simple idea of making it easier for small businesses to go through day to day accounting and book-keeping tasks. Having just qualified as a chartered accountant, he left his comfortable city job, determined to turn his revolutionary idea into a successful business.
Mr Fouracre said: "When they said my name it was a huge shock but it rewards the hard work that's been put in over the last four years. We've created a business that is going from success to success. Receiving the award was a massive surprise."

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Council leader Cllr Nick Botterill: "We value our businesses and I'm delighted to see so many diverse businesses here tonight. Without successful businesses we can't have a successful civic society, we couldn't manage without them."

July 18, 2012

July 17, 2012