Carrickfergus Business Awards 2024: everyone is a worthy winner

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The winners of the 2024 Carrickfergus Business Excellence Awards have been announced.

Hosted by the Carrick Times, the awards will be presented at a special lunch event on April 25 in Carrickfergus Golf Club.

Best retail business:

Eurospar Fortfield has had an incredibly successful year going from strength to strength whilst still remaining at the heart of the community.

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Carrickfergus castle. Picture: National WorldCarrickfergus castle. Picture: National World
Carrickfergus castle. Picture: National World

It has had the most successful year of business ever and with sales at an all time high, new jobs have been able to be created.

It prides itself on being able to deliver a unique shopping experience to customers and delivers great value across all departments and a wide range of locally produced food whilst still delivering on a 'customer first' ethos.

The store experienced a challenging few months whilst upgrading the forecourt. This affected the shop but the staff ensured the store still maintained amazing standards and availability for all customers.

The store has also been able to introduce Fergus Butchery as a new local supplier.

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Eurospar Fortfield is always striving to make a difference to the local community and raises money for various local charities.

Business in the Community / Sustainable Business / Best New Business Start Up:

Carrick Greengrocers emerged from a collective desire to address the lack of access to fresh, locally sourced produce in the community.

Since it began, Carrick Greengrocers has made significant strides in achieving the aim of providing access to fresh, locally sourced produce while fostering community engagement and sustainability.

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Carrick Greengrocers was successfully established as a community-owned enterprise, with local residents investing in and actively participating in the business. This model not only ensures accountability and transparency but also strengthens community ties and empowers residents to have a direct stake in local food production and distribution.

Strong partnerships have been forged with local farmers and producers, sourcing the majority of products directly from them.

Despite operating in a competitive market, Carrick Greengrocers has achieved financial sustainability within its first six months of operation and aims to further expand impact and reach within the community while staying true to the core values of sustainability, inclusivity, and local empowerment.

Health and Wellbeing:

Heel Within Holistic Therapy has now been open for three years, set up with the vision and heart to help women and men with a range of issues. The proprietor has more than 20 years of experience in the beauty industry and six years of offering holistic treatments.

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Despite a rocky first year as the business opened in the midst of the Covid pandemic, it has since gone from strength to strength.

In January 2022 the business moved to premises at the Fitness Hub Gym on Belfast Road, offering a wide variety of treatments in a safe, warm, calming and welcoming environment for clients where they can take the opportunity to off-load issues, problems, worries or stresses.

Many clients find that as well as the treatments being highly enjoyable and relaxing, they can also help with physical and emotional health difficulties. In a relaxed and confidential environment, many people find the opportunity to talk about all kinds of issues a wonderful way through difficult situations.

Just recently the salon has started to offer meditation and deep breathing techniques with the hope of running classes soon.

Hospitality Business of the Year:

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Papa Browns Grill is a popular dining choice for many in the Carrickfergus area and much further afield with its unique, purpose built, family restaurant in a superb location. It comes with the simple belief that good food, well delivered in a stylish environment is a true recipe for success.

The diverse range of customers who dine in Papa Browns enjoy a relaxed, friendly and fun atmosphere. It is the perfect spot for any social gathering, from family celebrations to a romantic meal for two or a coffee with friends.

For the past 18 years, Papa Browns has gone over and above to ensure customers are fully satisfied at each and every visit. It is open seven days a week, providing an extensive menu of delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Despite tough times like Covid, Papa Browns has managed to maintain its high level of sales and annually increased in economic growth.

Special recognition award:

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Since moving to Northern Ireland, Artur Cufaj of Castello Italia has found a place he calls home in Greenisland.

He began by opening car washes all across the borough and after enough time had been successful enough that it allowed him to open his first restaurant in Carrickfergus. Since then Artur has tried to provide the people of Carrick with the best Italian cuisine people can buy.

The Scotch Quarter restaurant offers classic flavoursome dishes synonymous with Italy in a relaxed café and restaurant environment set across two floors and overlooking Belfast Lough.

It has consistantly earned high praise and claimed various awards, including a top digital review award from online travel giant Tripadvisor.

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During lockdown Artur recognised the needs of others and donated hundreds of meals of free meals to people in need on Christmas Day and continues to give back to the people of Carrickfergus as often as he can.

Best SME:

Mount 10 Gallery has evolved over a period of time to become a well recognised, popular gallery offering local artists as well as high class photography, particularly landscape images.

Initially offering a personal photo studio, the business has been constantly recognisant of market changes and adapted to suit, ensuring success and popularity. Mount 10 offers outstanding quality and craftsmanship in photographic imagery, as well as a bespoke framing business unmatched locally and recognised as the 'go to' for such work.

Owner Gary McCabe is passionate about every aspect of the business, with a personal touch in everything that passes through - from photography to framing. Gary is locally popular, supporting all businesses in the West Street are of the town, which only two years ago was near derelict.