THE Wingham business community was well represented at last Friday's gala evening of the Manning Great Lakes Business Awards.
Once again small local businesses proved they are up there with the best of them by winning some of the most coveted awards of the night.
The Golf Club Motor Inn Wingham won both Excellence in Tourism and Excellence in Hospitality.
Linga Longa Farm won Excellence in Primary Industry and Bent on Food and Bent on Life proprietor Donna Carrier was inducted into the Hall of Fame and was the proud recipient of the Bruce Cowan Award. This award is in recognition of individual excellence and contribution to the community/business of the Manning Valley.
Paula Schultz of Golf Club Motor Inn Wingham said a win was so unexpected.
"We were really hoping to be finalists, that was the goal," said Paula who didn't realise until the day submissions closed that you could even enter two categories.
A last minute rush to enter into the tourism category alongside hospitality left Paula unsure if her application even made it. "No one is more surprised than me," she said.
Paula and Dennis left Cairns 16 months ago to start their new life in Wingham.
They have worked tirelessly to transform their business and Paula said they are starting to see results. They credit the support of local businesses with helping them to get their business on the map; new signs from Wingham Signs and new a website from DXN Solutions. Paula is also grateful to her "wonderful staff" who meet her high standards.
Lauren Newell of Linga Longa Farm was unable to attend the awards night and so Paula accepted her award on her behalf.
"It was such a shame she couldn't make it," she said but admits they plan to have a celebratory dinner where she can present Lauren with her award.
Donna Carrier was equally surprised by her win. She had not submitted any applications for Bent on Food or Bent on Life and it wasn't until the recent Wingham Chamber of Commerce AGM that she got wind of a nomination. "I had no idea what award they had nominated me for," she said of the chamber executive who put forward Donna's name for the Bruce Cowan Award.
As for being inducted into the hall of fame, Donna didn't see that one coming at all. "I was in shock," she said.
A committed supporter of her chamber members, Donna was simply happy to be at the awards to see how members and friends fared.