Pizza shop and barber shop take out 2017's top awards
IT WAS Gladstone's business night of nights, a time to raise our glasses to the best of the best and yesterday morning, it was Angela Norman and her son Brendan Norman (below left) who were still feeling overwhelmed, having taken home the 2017 trophy for overall Best in Business winner.
Their Toolooa Street pizza shop, The Mix, was chosen from more than 8000 individual nominations and announced at Saturday night's gala event.
"Brendan kept saying 'we're going to win' and I said 'don't be ridiculous, we're just a pizza takeaway'," Mrs Norman said.
But to the judges, The Mix is more than "just a pizza takeaway".
It's a business with commitment to excellence and a plan for growth.
The mother and son team bought the business, then known as Amici's Pizza, three years ago.
It was their first time in the pizza business but after many years in hospitality, Mrs Norman says she is stringent about product quality and customer service.
"We're a family business, we're both perfectionists, everything we do is tested," she said.
"Whenever we get new staff I make sure they understand that when they answer the phone, they have a smile on their face.
"I don't care how bad your day is, when a customer walks in you're having a fantastic day. We pride ourselves on that kind of service."
Winning the overall Best in Business Award showed the Normans they were "doing something right".
"I say congratulations to everyone who has the guts to stay in business in this climate, because it's tough," Mrs Norman said.
"We've had our hard times. It's tough at the moment to stay afloat and there's been a couple of times I could have walked away.
"Winning this award gives us a lift though ... it's our customers who voted for us, I'm still a little overwhelmed to be honest."
In the light of Sunday morning, Brendan Norman also said he was still in awe.
"It's very exciting. We work hard and it's long hours every day but it's definitely paying off," he said.
"This shows our customers like our product."
It's back to business at The Mix, which is now open for lunch and plans for further expansion developing.
Renovations to the adjoining shop will allow the kitchen to expand to service a restaurant opening early in 2018.
When it was the people's turn to choose, for the second year in a row, you chose The Garage Barber by Silver (below) as the 2017 People's Choice winner.
Rex Silver is recognised by the hairdressing industry as a national leader in his field.
This year he expanded into Bundaberg with plans to open another barber shop in Rockhampton early next year.
The business has grown by an additional two staff in the past 12 months and introduced a loyalty card for their customers.
The Garage is a unique and themed environment, image driven and image focused with communication built around more than 7000 followers on social media.
With that many votes from their customers, it's a plan that's clearly working.