IT WAS a chance to celebrate the achievements of businesses across Port Stephens – and celebrate they did.
Close to 500 people packed into the auditorium of Wests Nelson Bay Diggers for the Examiner’s 2016 Annual Business Awards on Wednesday, October 12, which carried an Arabian Nights theme.
They were small business owners and employees ranging from mechanics and butchers to florists and childcare centres, who for much of the year, had worked tirelessly to provide vital services across Port Stephens.
The Examiner’s Sales Manager Sue Prescott said the event was a true reflection of the dedication business had shown during the past 12 months.
“The Port Stephens Examiner Business Awards is a wonderful opportunity to recognise and reward our local businesses for their contribution to the Port Stephens Community,” she said.
“I really admire how these businesses were supporting and encouraging each other’s success. There was a great feeling of pride throughout the room.”
Television personality Mike Rabbit returned to MC the event which was officially opened by Port Stephens Mayor Bruce MacKenzie. Cr MacKenzie paid tribute to the the resilience and fortitude of small business owners and employees who have traded through another tough year.
More than 4500 votes were counted in this year’s awards and from those, 200 finalists were selected across 40 categories.
Following a judging process spanning five weeks, 40 winners were determined plus the Port's overall business of the year.
Telstra Salamander Bay took out the Technology Industry award while Stephen T Parrot won the category of Legal services. Spinning Wheel Hotel, Raymond Terrace once again won best Hotel or Bottle Shop however it was DJ Cooper Accounting that took the top gong for the night taking the Overall Winner crown.
Check out live updates from reporter Sam Norris below, and images from the event as they arrive.