Celebrating the pick of our business bunch

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It’s been two years since the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce last held its Business Excellence Awards. This time round there are more categories and more finalists – all vying for Overall Supreme Business of the Year. The finalists are:

Alpine Health & Fitness
Category: Small to Medium Business
Opening just three years ago, Alpine Health & Fitness has grown to be a leading sports facility for the Queens­town community.
Situated at Queenstown Events Centre and run by council’s Lakes Leisure, Alpine Health & Fitness is funded entirely through its revenue-generating activities.
During the 2011-12 financial year, the fitness centre had 1500 members, who along with its concession and casual users, visited it 177,000 times.
All financial surpluses produced by Alpine Health & Fitness are reinvested into the facility and the delivery of subsidised programmes for the community. 

APL Property
Categories: Small to Medium Business, Professional Services
APL Property’s journey to growth and success starts with defining its people and their values, director Joanne Conroy says.
Quality employees and building a strong culture that workers are proud of are key factors in the property management business.
“Our staff have a passion for property and the people who are involved with it,” Conroy says.
“They strive to give the very best service to our customers and to continually improve their knowledge.”
Established in Queenstown as Lakes Property Services in 2004, APL Property now employs 13 staff locally, 2.5 full-time equivalents in Alexandra and one in Wanaka. 

Artisan Catering
Category: Small Enterprise Hospitality and Accommodation
Husband-and-wife team John and Debbie Pickens founded Artisan Catering in 2010 after years of experience working with high-end international clients.
The couple served up food for discerning palates and celebrities in private villas, aboard luxury yachts throughout the South of France, the Greek Isles, the Caribbean Islands and from Manhattan to Miami.
Specialising in corporate events and weddings, John works as head chef, creating customised menus, while Debbie works as catering manager. 

Crowne Plaza
Category: Large Enterprise Hospitality and Accommodation
Being named as a business awards finalist is a testament to the daily hard work of Crowne Plaza’s staff, general manager Reinier Eulink says.
“We have an amazing team with a great focus on our guest experience – this is reflected in our monthly guest satisfaction scores which are the highest in Australasia,” he says.
Employees strive to ensure the four-star hotel, Threesixty restaurant and dedicated conference floor offers exceptional service, he adds. 

Eforea Spa
Category: New and Emerging Business
Since opening in June 2011, Eforea Spa at Hilton Queenstown has strived to become a leader within the competitive local beauty therapy market.
The luxury spa complex now attracts a loyal clientele of Queenstown residents as well as impressing international clients staying at the Hilton, Hilton general manager Andrew Nisbet says.
“I am proud of what the spa team has accomplished since opening and look forward to watching the business continue to flourish. It is great to be recognised by the local business community, as their continued support has been integral to our success.” 

Eichardt’s Private Hotel
Category: Small Enterprise Hospitality and Accommodation
Eichardt’s Private Hotel has been basking in accolades for the past couple of years.
The luxury boutique hotel in downtown Queenstown is the only Australasian property to be named in this year’s Top Ten Honeymoon destinations in the world.
It featured in the Tatler Travel Guide’s “Top 8 Forever Fabulous” hotels in the world in January, was named in The Times, London, as one of the “Top ten bars in the world with a view” in 2010 and has been nominated Hotel of the Year in the World Luxury Hotel Awards. It is also listed among the top three hotels in Queenstown on TripAdvisor.
“We’re continually recognised by our guests for our dedication to delivering excellent customer service,” general manager Chris McIntosh says. 

Fluid
Categories: Small to Medium Business, Professional Services
Inspired by the local landscape and people, Fluid Visual Communications aims to deliver creative services with honesty, integrity and trust.
“We consider design and production capabilities to be a given and treat them as secondary to our ability to understand our clients’ long-term needs,” founder and creative director Tim Buckley explains.
Beginning in 1999, the company has broadened its range of services and employs a team of eight.
The Memorial Street business has established a unique community gallery called the Front Room. Fluid also contributes time on a pro bono basis to several local organisations including Wakatipu Youth Trust and Coastguard Queenstown. 

Heartland Technology
Category: New and Emerging Business
Created in 2011, Heartland Technology was formed to provide a service to regional areas neglected by large corporate vendors.
The new company is the result of a merger between Central Otago Copiers and Timaru Copiers.
Since starting as separate entities in 2005 with six staff servicing 79 machines, the company now has 21 full-time staff and 2210 machines under contract in the field.
Heartland’s Central Otago-based director Laurie Martin says: “We had the audacious goal to become the dominant player in our chosen markets and have succeeded in this and continue to grow post-merger.
“We have built a sustainable, profitable company at a time when growth has been stagnant.” 

Impact
Category: Small to Medium Business
Understanding specific needs of Queens­town businesses has been critical to the success of printing, embroidery and promotional company Impact.
“Often we find ourselves up against big competition from big cities,” co-owner Brigit van der Kaag says.
“But in the end, our clients know that our knowledge of Queenstown will deliver an efficient and ultimately more rewarding outcome, including fast turnaround times and quality products that are affordable.”
Dedicated to customer retention, sustainability and adapting to the marketplace, the company has seen consistent growth in market share over 23 years of business. 

MedRecruit
Categories: Medium to Large Business, Professional Services
Queenstown-based MedRecruit is Australasia’s fastest growing recruitment company year-on-year over the past six years.
With offices locally and in Australia, its 26 staff provide medical recruitment services throughout Australasia. This in turn fulfils dreams for doctors and creates certainty and confidence for hospitals in their staffing needs.
Founder Dr Sam Hazledine – also the 2012 New Zealand Young Entrepreneur of the Year – says MedRecruit has achieved its rapid growth by being market-led and by constantly innovating to be the change leader in the medical recruitment industry. 

Nomad Safaris
Category: Tourism, Activities and Events
The owners of Nomad Safaris pride themselves on developing a sustainable business.
David and Amanda Gatward-Ferguson have concentrated on growth, product development and innovation in their 18 years of owning the tour business.
Besides the Queenstown Business Awards, Nomad Safaris has also recently been nominated for four out of six categories at the Sustainable 360 Awards.
“That is quite an achievement in itself as we are the only medium-sized business finalist to do so,” David says.
“We are deeply proud of, and committed to, the environment and community in which we operate.” 

Novotel
Category: Large Enterprise Hospitality and Accommodation
Despite tough economic conditions, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside continues to be a leader in the four-star accommodation market, general manager Jim Moore says.
“Novotel has overcome the challenging conditions by focusing on strengthening our products, staff and tailoring our service to emerging markets, allowing us to excel.”
The 273-room hotel celebrates its 25th year of operation in 2013 and its 10th year as a Novotel.
“It is wonderful to have become a finalist and to have our efforts and the dedication of our staff recognised by the local business community,” Moore adds. 

Pepper’s Beacon
Category: Small Enterprise Hospitality and Accommodation
Peppers Beacon Queenstown is run by a “small team of ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things”, general manager Donna Stewart says.
“We are delighted to be selected as a finalist.”
The lakeside accommodation complex recently underwent a million-dollar refurbishment.
The local hotel is one of seven Peppers retreats and resorts in New Zealand. 

Queenstown Resort College
Categories: Medium to Large Business, Professional Services
Queenstown Resort College continually looks for ways to improve educationally and commercially, chief executive Charlie Phillips says.
“QRC is not static. We are focused on creating economic growth and skill development.”
Established in 2006 to provide tourism and hospitality management diploma programmes, the college focuses on professionalism and quality.
“Quality outcomes do not occur by accident – they are a product of organ­­isational culture, clear philosophies, personnel development, robust systems and excellent resources,” Phillips says. 

Queenstown Motor Group
Category: New and Emerging Business
Responding to the needs of the region has been the key to success for Queens­­town’s newest motor vehicle dealership.
In the nine months since opening near Remarkables Park, Queenstown Motor Group’s dealership has consistently achieved sales targets and seen positive performance in its parts and services division.
QMG principal Duncan Wright says delivering brands that are relevant to the region had been one reason for success.
“Our experience and passion is reflected in our results, and customers couldn’t be happier.” 

Rilean Construction
Category: Trade and Construction
Providing commercial, residential and civic construction services in Queens­town for 18 years, Rilean also focuses on sustainability.
Last year the award-winning company launched its eco-friendly “evolution” homes, incorporating a build-and-design service that delivers healthy, affordable and energy-efficient houses.
One of Rilean’s evolution homes achieved the first six-star Homestar rating in the Queenstown Lakes District.
Rilean is also based in Christchurch where it is working on major re-build projects following the Canterbury earthquakes. 

SG Design
Category: Trade and Construction
SG Design owner Sian Gillanders believes listening to clients is the key to creating “a kitchen with soul”.
Gillanders is an independent award-winning kitchen designer and holds a diploma in interior design. She first lived in the resort in the early 1990s and has recently returned after living and working in Christchurch.
“I believe the kitchen is truly the heart and soul of the home,” she says. 

SkyCity Casino
Categories: Tourism, Activities and Events, Large Enterprise and Accommodation
SkyCity Casino has prided itself on supporting the community during the past 12 years.
The casino trust has donated almost $1.1 million to 330 community groups and supported many community events, general manager Michelle Baillie says.
“We are successful due to our broad-based entertainment approach, quality products, consistently good service and leading host responsibility programmes. But, most of all our success is due to our fantastic team of over 60 staff.” 

Wilson Contractors
Category: Trade and Construction
A hands-on approach to business with an emphasis on quality service is a winning formula for Wilson Contractors.
The civil construction company started out 10 years ago to service the local farming community with just three staff.
By 2003 it had completed projects at The Hills golf course, Queensberry and Bendigo subdivisions and has experienced rapid expansion since then.
It now employs 25 staff, undertaking civil works like roading, earthworks, reti­culation services and trail construction.
Director Tony Wilson says: “I believe by providing an excellent service whilst still offering good value, we will develop strong business relationships with our clients and secure repeat work in the future.” 

Ziptrek Ecotours
Categories: Medium to Large Business, Tourism, Activities and Events
In just three years of business, adventure tourism operator Ziptrek has experienced an incredible journey.
The company has grown to employ 35 staff over summer and 25 in winter.
It holds sustainable practice at the forefront of its business ethos.
Ziptrek has been recognised with Qualmark Enviro Gold accreditation in 2001, the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Award in 2010 and won the Fairfax Sustainable 60 Awards’ marketplace category in 2011.
Director Trent Yeo says commitment from staff has helped achieve growth in what has been a tough tourism environment.