Everything you need to know about the Port Stephens Examiner's Annual Business Awards for 2021

Click here to vote in the 2021 Annual Business Awards

The Examiner is inviting the community to shine a light on the Port Stephens businesses that have gone above and beyond during what has been one of the area's toughest years by nominating them in the Annual Business Awards.

Following a hiatus in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Examiner's Annual Business Awards will return with a refreshed format this year.

Customers will have from July 1 to 30 to vote for their favourite businesses and will have 26 categories, down from 39, to select from (category explanations below).

"While we couldn't celebrate our outstanding businesses in 2020 it gave us a chance to reflect on how the Port Stephens business community has changed and gave us an opportunity to refresh the award categories to reflect those changes," Port Stephens Examiner sales representative and awards coordinator Tracey Bennett said.

"The changes we have made to the voting this year are aimed at making it easier for customers to pick the right category to vote their favourite businesses in."

2019 Building, Construction and Renovation category winners: Jim and Nat Robertson from East Coast Timber Floors & More. The business is a sponsor of the Examiner's 2021 awards, alongside Port Stephens Council and Forever Hair and Beauty.

2019 Building, Construction and Renovation category winners: Jim and Nat Robertson from East Coast Timber Floors & More. The business is a sponsor of the Examiner's 2021 awards, alongside Port Stephens Council and Forever Hair and Beauty.

A number of categories such as restaurant, real estate, fashion and footwear have been combined this year while others have a new name to reflect the services they offer.

The Health Improvement category now takes in chemists, doctors, dentists and other medical services that customers wish to vote for. The Performing Arts category covers dance schools, gymnastics classes, music schools and art.

All new categories in the 2021 awards include Innovative Business for best innovation during COVID-19 and Young Achiever for a business owner or employee under 25 who is deserving of special recognition.

A voting form will be available in each edition of the Examiner from July 1.

A form is also available for download at the bottom of this article.

Voting in the 2021 awards will be online or by post only.

All voting forms must be posted to the Port Stephens Examiner by Friday, July 30 in order to be counted. Send the forms to PO Box 63 Raymond Terrace, NSW 2324.

The five finalists in each category will be contacted the first week of August, which will be followed by the judging process.

Category finalists will be offered tickets to attend the Annual Business Awards gala night which will be held at the Shoal Bay Convention Centre on Wednesday, October 13. Doors will open at 6pm for a 6.30pm start.

Award winners in all 26 categories will be announced at the awards night plus the Overall Winner - the business that achieved the highest score during judging. The Overall Winner will receive an advertising package with the Examiner.

Thank you to the Port Stephens businesses who are sponsoring the 2021 awards: Forever Hair and Beauty, East Coast Timber Floors and More, Port Stephens Council, Nelson Bay Golf Club, Nelson Bay Bowling Club, Muree Golf Club, Style Chapter, Greeny's Garage Doors.

2019 Health and Medical category winners and overall award winners: Nurses Now Raymond Terrace. Josh Osborn, Rose Osborn, Laurinda Pericleous and Nick Pericleous.

2019 Health and Medical category winners and overall award winners: Nurses Now Raymond Terrace. Josh Osborn, Rose Osborn, Laurinda Pericleous and Nick Pericleous.

The new look award categories

  1. Arts Crafts & Gifts - Change of name, was previously gift store
  2. Automotive Services
  3. Bakery & Cake Shop - Change of name
  4. Beauty Therapy
  5. Butcher
  6. Cafe & Takeaway - Change of name, includes cafes, takeaway, fast food etc
  7. Club, Pub, Bottle Shop - Change of name
  8. Early Childhood - Change of name
  9. Fashion & Footwear - A new combined category, includes men's, women's and children's fashion and footwear
  10. Fitness - Change of name, includes gyms, personal trainers etc
  11. Florist
  12. Hairdresser - Change of name
  13. Health Improvement - Change of name, combines health services and pharmacy categories, includes chemists, doctors, dentists, physio chiro, podiatry etc
  14. New Business
  15. Performing Arts - Change of name, combines dance studio and dance schools and includes gymnastics, music schools, art etc
  16. Pet Care - Change of name, includes all animal services
  17. Professional Services - Change of name, combines accountants, finance, learning training recruitment, now covers accountants, finance, learning training, recruitment, legal (the services a business needs)
  18. Real Estate - Change of name, combines the previous two real estate categories or sales and property management
  19. Restaurant - Change of name, combines the previous two restaurant categories or Australian and international cuisine
  20. Service & Trade - New category, includes building, construction, renovations, trades and services etc
  21. Shopping Centre - Change of name
  22. Specialised Retail - Change of name, now combines fresh fruit and markets, boating and camping, hardware, furniture, newsagents etc
  23. Specialised Services - Combines specialised services and technology categories, includes - technology, events, photographers, celebrants etc
  24. Tourism - Change of name, combines accommodation and tourist attractions
  25. Innovative Business - New category for best innovation during COVID-19
  26. Young Achiever - New category for a young achiever (25 years old or under)
  27. Overall Winner - determined through the judging process
2019 Shopping Complex category winners: MarketPlace Raymond Terrace. Joe Ruiz, Jacki Owen, Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz, Laura Carroll and Stewart Murrell.

2019 Shopping Complex category winners: MarketPlace Raymond Terrace. Joe Ruiz, Jacki Owen, Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz, Laura Carroll and Stewart Murrell.

I am a business owner, what do I do for the Annual Business Awards?

If you are a Port Stephens business owner, manager or employee and want to put yourself in the running for the Examiner's awards you need to let your customers know that they can vote for you.

Businesses do not nominate themselves in the awards. It is up to customers to vote for their favourite businesses, thereby selecting them to go in the running for a category award. Businesses are welcome to encourage their customers to vote for them.

Hang up a 'vote for us' sign in your store, put some voting forms on the counter and/or personally ask customers to vote for you. Let them know which category they can vote for you in.

Yes, you can pre-fill voting forms with your business name and category selected and photocopy them to make it easier for your customers to vote. Photocopies of the voting form will be accepted.

You can also collect votes on behalf of your customers but you MUST post them to the the Examiner no later than Friday, July 30 to be counted. Send the forms to PO Box 63 Raymond Terrace, NSW 2324.

Just remember - only one vote per person, per category will be counted. So, you need to encourage as many customers as possible to vote for your business.

Finalists in each of the 26 categories are determined by the amount of votes the business receives. The five businesses that receive the most amount of votes in their category become finalists.

2019 Beauty Therapy category winners: Barley Sugar Day Spa and Beauty. Casey Wallace, Holly Walters, Vicki Barley, Arielle Barley and Yvonne Wilkinson.

2019 Beauty Therapy category winners: Barley Sugar Day Spa and Beauty. Casey Wallace, Holly Walters, Vicki Barley, Arielle Barley and Yvonne Wilkinson.

I am a voter, what do I do?

To vote for a business in the awards all you need to do fill out an official voting, either online or a physical voting form, and submit it to the Examiner by Friday, July 30.

Forms will be available in the Examiner newspaper throughout July. Businesses may also have some forms on the counter for you to fill out.

Photocopies of the form will be accepted. A handy tip: check to see if a business is asking customers to vote in a certain category.

The more votes a business receives in the one category the higher its chances of becoming a finalist.

Just remember though, only one vote per person, per category will be counted. So, encourage your friends and family to vote, too.

Terms and Conditions: Your details on the voting form (paper or online) must be completed in full for your vote to be valid. Voting opens Thursday, July 1, 2021 and closes 5pm on Friday, July 30, 2021. Postal votes must be received by close of business on July 30.