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The inaugural Oamaru Business Collective Awards were a wonderful celebration of the excellence, innovation, and success of businesses in Waitaki, Cara Tipping Smith says.

With Alert Level 2 restrictions in place, the Oamaru Business Collective chairwoman said it felt like a real privilege to be able to come together and celebrating at the Brydone Hotel on Saturday night.

“It was fun and really great to see the positivity in the room,” Ms Tipping Smith said.

Held in association with the Oamaru Mail, 69 businesses competed in the awards, across six categories, which were open to the public vote, one week per category, from August. Nearly 3500 votes were cast over the six weeks.

After winning best hospitality business of the year, Scotts Brewing Co was crowned overall business of the year. Hayley Casey Photography won best new/emerging business, Foley’s Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying was crowned best trade, TK Cleaning Services claimed best professional service, Preen secured the trophy for best shop and Mrs Hyde owner Becky Dennison was named best customer service personality.

“We were so pleased to see a full range of businesses voted as winners by the public,” Ms Tipping Smith said.

“There were some well-loved iconic local businesses as well as businesses that might fly a little more under the radar but clearly deliver superb quality and are equally well-loved by our community.”

Ms Tipping Smith said she had “a lot of thank-yous” to make, the biggest of all to the committee who “tirelessly invented and reinvented solutions that would allow us to have some form of celebration” and secretary Tanya Ribbens who achieved “herculean feats of organisational capability”.

She also thanked the Brydone Hotel for being “outstanding” hosts, Pearsons for helping to get everyone home, Acucut for donating the trophies and plaques and to everyone else who helped behind the scenes.

The Oamaru Business Collective hoped to make the awards an annual event.

“This year we just wanted to get it off the ground, and learn from that first experience and figure out how we build it bigger and better in the future.”

The business collective was launched in 2019 to provide a collective voice for the local business community and drive positive change in Waitaki.

Networking events were held regularly throughout the year, and new members were welcome to join. Ms Tipping Smith said it would be great to get some new voices on the committee to reflect “all the different types of people and personalities and businesses” in Waitaki.

“I’d really like to see some of those younger entrepreneurs have a voice,” she said.

Oamaru Business Collective Awards winners:

Best New/Emerging Business

Runner-up: Lover Lover Statement Earrings

Winner: Hayley Casey Photography

Best Hospitality Business

Runner-up: Riverstone Kitchen (and Larder)

Winner: Scotts Brewing Co

Best Trade

Runner-up: Laser Plumbing Oamaru

Winner: Foleys Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying

Best Professional Service

Runner-up: Snap Fitness

Winner: TK Cleaning Services

Best Shop

Runner-up: Design Federation

Winner: Preen

Best Customer Service Personality

Runner-up: Emiliana Seltzer, Scott’s Brewing Co

Winner: Becky Dennison, Mrs Hyde

Overall Business of the Year

Scotts Brewing Co