WINNERS of the 2019 Oldham Business Awards were unveiled at Oldham’s Queen Elizabeth Hall with the razzmatazz ceremony hosted this year by BBC presenter Louise Minchin and ITV’s Caroline Whitmore.
This year’s dinner was a sell-out with almost 600 guests and included an after-party disco hosted by radio station Revolution 96.2. There were also musical performances by youngsters from Mahdlo Youth Zone.
The major headline sponsor was Pearson Solicitors & Financial Advisers with other key sponsors including Oldham College, Innovative Technology, Seftons Accountants and the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub.
Business of the Year awards went to The Jordon Group, George Hill Timber, Precision Pallets and Cases, and Physio Matters. Business Person of the Year was Andy Hirst of Sudlows.
Physio Matters was also named Employer of the Year. (Full list of all award winners at end) Shopfitting, air conditioning and refrigeration specialist Jordon Group was named Business of the Year (over 10m turnover).
Paul Jordon, managing director, said: “This was the first time we entered the awards. We really enjoyed it and are so proud to win the award.
“The judges were interested to learn how important we are as a local employer. We have over 120 staff and 85 per cent of them live within three or four miles. We were founded in Chadderton in 1965 and have been in the borough for almost all that time, except for a couple of years in Manchester. We’ve been on our current site for 20 years. “We work all over the UK in shop fitting, air conditioning and refrigeration services. We work on large contracts along with smaller one-off contracts.”
Jordon customers include convenience stores such as Nisa, Londis and Simply Fresh, coffee shops such as Starbucks, pharmacies, petrol station forecourts including the new Euro Garages site in Hollinwood, Oldham; restaurants and local councils.
Paul added: “The judges were also interested to hear about our investment in the business. For example, we recently invested in a 20-tonne truck an may buy a second truck soon. We also told them about our plans to enhance our premises. So, it was a great opportunity to show judges around our business and to meet other businesses during the judging process and awards ceremony.”
Building merchant George Hill Timber received the Business of the Year (£5-10m turnover) accolade. The company is based in Oldham, run by William Hill, with other branches in Nelson, Bolton and Sale.
Laura Morgan, the company’s marketing manager, said: “We were delighted with the
award. We’re celebrating our 100th anniversary this November and our awards application highlighted the family-run company’s growth and development over the decades. “In the past 12 months, we’ve been making a lot of important investments and changes. This includes giving our online activities a big overhaul with the launch of a new website and e-commerce facilities. This is integrated with our stock systems and backroom admin systems, making everything across the business more efficient and accurate.
“We have also developed our stock ranges in-line with latest market trends, such as our ranges of ceramic tiles, composite decking and hardware. All our showrooms have also been improved to better-display ranges and cate for customer needs.”
Precision Pallets and Cases received the Business of the Year (£1m to £5m) award. Managing director Richard Leach said: “We were competing against many other excellent businesses and are delighted to have won this category. We won the Start-Up category of the 2015 Oldham Business Awards so this year’s success shows how far we’ve come. Our industry is perhaps seen as a bit obscure and unfashionable, but this is an excellent business and we’re really proud of our team who’ve contributed to this success.”
Physio Matters, based at Hollinwood Business Centre, received two awards of Business of the Year (turnover under £1m) and Employer of the Year. It provides specialist neurological physiotherapy for adults and children living with conditions such as strokes, brain injuries, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. Dr Jane Tonge, business development lead, said: “We were delighted with winning two
awards, which we understand may have been a first at the Oldham Business Awards? In our submission to the judges, we highlighted the different ways we support staff and our focus on employing local people where we can. “This includes supporting people at different levels and stages of their career development.
For example, one person came through an apprenticeship scheme and NVQs at college and was then offered a full-time role with us. We have others who have joined us from large organisations because they felt we, as a smaller business, could offer them better development, flexible working hours or a range of other benefits.
‘We have staff away-days and lots of team-building events to get the best from our smaller workforce. Staff also gave their own testimonials to business award judges and we also have videos on our website, featuring staff talking about their careers.
“Judges were also impressed with Physio Matters’ growth, expanding from a one-man operation started by Colin Green to a team 12 full-time and part-time staff. Our profits have doubled over the last five years and the number of client consultations has increased by 80 per to over 2,600 a year.”
Colin Green, founder and clinical director, added: “These two awards represent a fantastic achievement for our team and recognition for our dedicated staff. We hoped we might win one of the awards but winning two was unbelievable.”
Colin, from Greenfield, added: “The ceremony was a brilliant night. I couldn’t be more proud of our work and the amazing people we have at Physio Matters. I’m an Oldhamer born and bred, as are many of our team, so to win these awards in our hometown is pretty special.”
Among the new entrants this year was joinery, cabinet-making and metal fabrication company RED Manufacturing, based on Greenacres Road. RED was a finalist in the Employer of the Year award category, sponsored by Oldham-based Ultimate Products, which designs and sources branded homeware goods for major retailers such as Asda, Tesco and B&M.
RED managing director Matthew Wolfenden had a table with colleagues including account manager Richard Binks, painters Kevin McManus and Carl Iggulden, and engineering and powder-coating manager Chris Shaw.
Matthew said: ““Being shortlisted as a finalist for Employer of the Year category was an excellent achievement and shows independent recognition for the good things RED does as an employer. This was the first time we have entered the Oldham Business Awards and we really enjoyed it. “We entered for a number of reasons. We wanted to raise wider awareness of our joinery, cabinet-making, engineering and metal fabrication services to a range of businesses in different commercial and industrial sectors. We are expanding, investing in new facilities and taking on additional staff. “Skills are important and we place great emphasis on our staff gaining multiple skills.
However, we are flexible in our recruitment and can teach skills to the right recruits, if they have the right values.
“In addition, we are trying to make a difference to young people’s lives and careers, and to raise the profile of RED’s activities more generally across the community. As part of this community-focused drive, we have recently signed-up a youngster for a work experience placement this summer.”
Steve Kilroy, chairman of the volunteer steering committee behind the awards, said: “You do not realise just how diverse the Oldham business community is until nights like this. It was absolutely fantastic. “Businesses in the borough continue to go from strength-to-strength, and that’s not just throughout the UK, it’s worldwide too.”
He paid tribute to sponsors, saying: “I must say a big thank you to all our sponsors. Some of have been with us since our first year. Others are here for the first time. Without them and their support, the awards wouldn’t happen.”
A special recognition award went to Laura Smart of KPMG, recognising her work in supporting local business growth in the area
OLDHAM BUSINESS AWARD 2019 WINNERS
Supporting Young People
Business of the Year (turnover more than £10m)
The Jordon Group
Business of the Year (£5m – £10m)
George Hill Timber
Business of the Year (£1m – £5m)
Precision Pallets and Cases Ltd
Business of the Year (under £1m)
Business Person of the Year
Andy Hirst of Sudlows Ltd
Employer of the Year
Start-up Business of the Year
Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Connor Hall of Live and Now Group
Young Business of the Year
Defiance Spirits Ltd
Oldham Hulme Grammar School