Cordial relations at the glittering Herald Family Business of the Year Awards

Cordial relations at the glittering Herald Family Business of the Year Awards <i>(Image: Freelance)</i>
Cordial relations at the glittering Herald Family Business of the Year Awards (Image: Freelance)

A nursery and garden centre that next year celebrates 70 years in business, has been named ‘Rural Family Business of the Year’ in The Herald Family Business Awards in association with Business Gateway, which took place last night in the Raddison Blu Hotel in Glasgow.

Glendoick Gardens and Garden Centre near Perth, which was established in 1953 by plant hunter, Peter Cox, and is now run by his son, Ken Cox who has helped to establish the nursery’s world-wide reputation for  breeding new varieties of rhododendrons, was amongst the roll-call of outstanding companies that were recognised for their commitment to staff, customers and their local communities as well as for their business success.

Amongst a line-up of winners during the evening was The Paint Shed, a chain of decorating stores spread across Scotland and the North of England, which was named Fastest Growing Family Business, sponsored by Business Gateway, while Allied Vehicles, the UK’s leading supplier of adapted and special purpose vehicles, which is run by Gerry Facenna and his family, scooped the Business Innovation Award.

The unique level of care and compassion that they have been offering to clientele for more than 40 years earned Glasgow-based Anderson Maguire Funeral Directors the Customer Service Excellence award and Brewster Brothers, a resource management business specialising in recycling construction and demolition waste, was named Green Family Business of the Year, with a commendation for The Oak Tree Inn at Balmaha.

Father and daughter team, Tom and Karen Young, who together established Angels’ Share Glass, a firm that produces handmade whisky gifts, including hip flasks and water droppers, collected the International Growth Award, while brothers Jordan and Joshua Lynch, who as The Alba Explorers introduce children to the natural world  through outdoor learning, won the Commitment to the Community Award.

They shared that accolade with The Inn at Kippen, where Paul and Laura Smith have revitalised a traditional village inn through a determination to serve good food made with produce from the local area.

It was a night of triumph for horticulturists, with Neal Christie of long-established garden centre, Christies of Fochabers, winning the Next Generation Award, sponsored by Zonal; while Kirsty Imrie of Caulders Garden Centres was commended in the same category.

Meanwhile, The Power Within Trading and Development Ltd, a training consultancy firm run by husband-and-wife team James and Enas Fleming, was named Scottish Family Business of the Year (Micro), sponsored by Business Gateway.

Winner of Scottish Family Business of the Year (Small), sponsored by Virgin Money, was named as Spring Distribution (Scotland) Limited  from Bathgate, while Scottish Family Business of the Year (Medium), also sponsored by Virgin Money, was revealed to be A.Alexander & Son (Electrical) Ltd, whose current managing director, Stewart Alexander, is carrying on the work laid down by his father, James and grandfather, William who established the company in 1962.

UK-wide hospitality technology experts, Zonal, whose current CEO, Stuart McLean steers a company that was set up by his father Ralph in 1979, was named  Scottish Family Business of the Year (Large), sponsored by Azets UK, while the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels received a commendation in the same category.

There was a Recognition Award for Ed Monaghan, who joined the fourth-generation family firm, Mactaggart & Mickel as an apprentice in the 1980s and was CEO when he retired earlier this year; while the Outstanding Contribution award, sponsored by Strathclyde Business School, went to logistics rail and construction giants, The Malcolm Group.

Afterwards, Hugh Lightbody, Chief Officer at Business Gateway, said: “It was a memorable night for everyone involved, and to have everyone in one room to hear about the successes and shared challenges faced felt even more special.

“With this being the tenth year of the awards, and with so many familiar faces from previous years, the energy, enthusiasm and support for the finalists and winners makes it feel like a big family gathering. “Congratulations to all the worthy winners and shortlisted businesses, they have shown us the fantastic mindset of the Family Business Sector in the Scottish business landscape and we are looking forward to seeing them continue to thrive in the months and years to come.

“Business Gateway is a proud supporter of the Scottish Family Business Awards in recognition of the hard work of family-run businesses around the country.”

John Anderson, Director of Growth at Strathclyde Business School, said: “Family businesses are the original responsible businesses. The level of innovation and investment, commitment to employees and the environment and the scale of ambition demonstrated by all the finalists and winners was hugely impressive.  The Triple Bottom Line in action.”

Graham Cunning, Partner and family business expert at Azets said: “It was an evening of celebration for family businesses who have showcased ongoing commitment, innovation and determination.

“Family businesses play a vital role in the Scottish economy so it was wonderful to come together to celebrate achievements and their huge contributions, particularly after a year of uncertainty.”

David Henderson, Head of Strategic Finance, West of Scotland, Virgin Money, said: “The awards were a tremendous celebration of the achievements of some fantastic family businesses operating in Scotland today, and we congratulate the winners and all finalists who took part in this year's event. Virgin Money have been proud to play our part in highlighting the success of this important segment of the business community. “

And Stuart McLean, CEO, Zonal, said: “It felt incredibly special to be at the awards ceremony alongside the next generation of the McLean family. It was amazing to see such high calibre finalists and, as always, Zonal are proud to be counted amongst them. We are honoured to sponsor of these awards, and I would like to extend my personal congratulations to all the winners”