ANTICIPATION was heavy in the air as people waited to find out the winners of the Observer and Gazette business awards.
L Guess Jewellers, in Littlehampton High Street, scooped the training and development prize.
“It’s a real honour for us to win,” said Simon Guess.
“It’s a real privilege. Obviously, we invest heavily in training.”
He said he was ‘nervous and excited’ waiting for the winner to be announced on the night.
Meanwhile, Rustington businesswoman Jo Lecuyer won the hospitality, tourism and leisure prize.
“I’m absolutely blown away,” she said.
“I can’t put it into words. Just to have been in the shortlist, it’s amazing.”
She won the award for creating Kiddie Coupons – a book of discount vouchers which she negotiates with tourist destinations.
“It’s about getting families together and not just families that have spare cash,” she said.
Tracy Yelland, from Ford-based manufacturing firm Nicholas Coppin, won employee of the year.
“I will cherish it forever,” she said. “I was up against a team of people and I didn’t think I stood a chance.”
Fellow Ford company Newlife Paints also won, taking home the manufacturing and construction prize and getting a judges’ recognition for green business.
The firm recycles used paint and sells it on.
“We’re really pleased and proud to have the award and to be recognised as doing something worthwhile,” said Linda Harrison, finance director of the family-run firm.
Here are the remaining winners in full: Large business, Millstone Landscapes; small business, Applemoon Interiors; green business, The Woodhorn Group; retailer, Andrew McDowall; outstanding contribution to the community, Brad Ainsworth; place to eat, Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tea Room; innovation, Access by Design; lifetime achievement, Roger Elsmere from Woods Travel; employer of the year, Best Western Beachcroft Hotel; young achievers, Jack Keywood and Sam Shury from Luv Carpets; start-up, Office Flex; readers’ choice, Chichester College.