Stratford's Brilliant Business Success
Stratforward BID Director Joe Baconnet has congratulated Stratford-upon-Avon’s town centre businesses after they dominated at the Touch FM Pride of Stratford Awards. BID members swept the board at the glittering annual awards ceremony on Friday (February 9th) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, making up around half of the business-related nominations and walking away with eight gongs.
Speaking at the event, Mr Baconnet said: “To see so many of our members triumph in these awards, which saw stiff competition from across the area, is wonderful. Running a business at the best of times is hard, but against a backdrop of tough economic times, rapidly increasing operating costs, the massive growth of internet shopping and increased security issues, it is harder than ever. We know how hard our members work to create a thriving town for locals and visitors alike, so to see so many of them recognised for that is great.”
BID members who won included: Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen - The Artisan Award; The One Elm - Hospitality of the Year Award; Paul and Rhiain Foster, owners of Salt - Business Person of the Year; Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall - Team of the Year; and Escape Arts - the Educator Award.
Hoorays -Sara & Sasha Young with local MP Nadhim Zahawi
A special award went to David Beacham, owner of Coiffure by David, for his decades of dedication and service to business in the town. Another special award went to Dr Diana Owen, outgoing CEO of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, for her contribution to promoting Stratford worldwide.
Stratforward-sponsored category of Town Centre Business of the Year, went to long-established independent clothes and shoe retailer Gemini. Stratforward itself was a winner too with its ever popular River Festival voted Tourism Initiative of the Year, for the second time in three years. The festival is now in its tenth year, this two-day summer extravaganza attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the town each year.
Gemini - Clare Wright & team with Joseph Baconnet
Stratforward’s own Town Hosts were also shortlisted for the Customer Care of the Year Award, recognising the work they do to engage with visitors and local businesses on a daily basis.
Other BID businesses were among the finalists for the awards. Gemini was shortlisted for the Business of the Year Award, while A Fine Tattoo Establishment, The Fourteas Restaurant and Specsavers were finalists in the Town Centre Business of the Year Award. Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm and the MAD Museum both reached the final of the Team of the Year Award, while Salt was also a finalist in the Artisan Award.
One Elm Matt Faulkner & team with Crowne Plaza
The MAD Museum was shortlisted for the Arts Organisation Award alongside Escape Arts, which was also a finalist in the Community Impact Award and the Pride Award.
The Tourism Initiative Award was dominated by BID members and some of Stratforward’s partner organisations, with finalists including the Shakespeare’s England Explorer Pass, Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall, Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm.
River Festival organisers Ruth Wood, Tor Wilkes & Richard Lees with local celebrity Quentin Willson
The success for Stratford businesses came as a blueprint for future business in the town came up for discussion. Consultation on a third BID term from April 2019 was launched 24 hours before the awards were announced. Mr Baconnet said: "The massive success of Stratford town centre businesses, including our own, at these awards, just reminds us all what can be done if we all work together.Stratforward’s role is to support our business community in their day-to-day battle to succeed. together, and with the help of other bodies such as Shakespeare's England, Stratford Town Trust, Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council we are committed to continuing to fly the flag for our town. We’re dedicated to helping attract people here and encouraging them to stay longer, visit our impressive range of retailers, restaurants and bars and other services, and return again and again in the future.”
Photos from the Observer, many thanks. To read more in The Stratford Observer click here.