Recognition of the best in businesses at glittering event

A glittering awards evening celebrating the top businesses in the south took place on Friday at the Hilton Brighton Metropole.

The Southern Business awards, now in their third year, are a showcase of the south’s finest firms, retailers and businesses.

Organised by JP South events, the evening was a great success, hosted by entertaining presenter Fred Dinenage.

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All those shortlisted were previous winners of local heats held across Sussex and Hampshire, and there were 19 awards over which the panel of judges debated long and hard.

Karl Dimmock, managing director of Sussex Newspapers, said: “In such difficult economic times, it is wonderful to see so many businesses doing so well and I am proud to be here this evening to celebrate their success.”

Alan Seyfi and his wife, Pat, from Elm Grove Newsagents in Worthing, were the winners of Customer Service at the awards. Alan said: “We can’t believe it, it is wonderful and we’re so proud. It really is one up for the independent shops, it is the community that is the most important thing and we’ve shown that people in the community really do respond to a good service. All my customers will be pleased!”

Unique business, Paint with light from Rustington, was very pleased to win the innovation category.

Anthony Robins from Paint with Light, said: “I’m absolutely delighted for everyone involved. It has been a real battle to make it in a business, but it is great that we have got the support that I have got from my family, friends, and of course, my company director.”

Express Food Service, wholesaling distributor of pizza and fast food products, was the winner of the best medium-sized business. Ian Bayley, from Express Food Service, Littlehampton, said: “We are delighted to have won and that all of our hard work has paid off. We started 25 years ago and have grown substantially in the last few years. We have been extremely busy and hands-on and pride ourselves on our good customer service.”

The Winner of Retailer of the Year was awarded to the Wool Bar, Worthing. The community shop has been described as a little haven where customers can sit, knit, relax, crotchet and have a chat. Caroline Wilbor said: “I think in this current climate retail is very difficult so I want to say a huge thank you to my customers who keep me going. You have to be more than just a retailer, you need the support of the community.”

Winner of Business personality of the year was awarded to James Stoner from JSPC Computer Services based in Sompting. James said: “In a 10 year period only one of my employees has left me so I must be doing something right. It would be nothing without the support of the work force, and my wife.”

Winner of the overall business of the Year was awarded to Electronic Temperature Instruments, a world leader in the manufacture and supplier of temperature measurement instrumentation and sensors, from Worthing.

Peter Webb, owner, said: “This award is a recognition of the staff and the efforts of the staff which we really appreciate. It is an award which recognises and celebrates everyone’s hard work this year. We are so pleased.”