The duo behind Barrhead Travel walked from their table to the stage at last night’s black-tie Glasgow Business Awards -- and picked up the title of Glasgow’s Favourite Business.
Voted for exclusively by readers of the Evening Times, Barrhead’s win also prompted one of the biggest cheers of the evening, at the Thistle Hotel. Barrhead, established by Bill 35 years ago, thus joins a distinguished list of winners -- Auchentoshan Distillery, Slaters Menswear, the Q Club, Bradfords Bakers, Internationale/Au Naturale, 5pm.co.uk, Tennent Caledonian Breweries and the Pavilion Theatre.
Just for good measure, father and daughter won another award, for Excellence in Customer Service.
“Absolutely delighted,” they said in unison when asked for their reaction after the Evening Times award was presented to them by editor, Tony Carlin.
Bill, 65, said: “It’s especially great for the staff, who work so, so hard. It’s just a terrific honour.”
Sharon, who led a management buy-out, purchasing the business from her father three years ago, said: “What makes it all the better is that our customers took the time to vote for us.
“We are absolutely over the moon.”
As for the hand-crafted glass trophy, newly engraved with the company’s name, it will, they said, be taking “pride of place” in the office.
Barrhead Travel is one of the top names in its field, with some 150,000 people booking their holidays through the firm.
The company started with a staff of just three in Barrhead, and its first steps were tentative and low-key, but it eventually began to grow, and also helped change the public face of the industry in Scotland.
Bill is now chairman -- “and semi-retired” -- but still takes a daily interest in the business he started.
Editor Tony Carlin said: “Evening Times readers consider Barrhead Travel to be one of the most innovative, friendly and receptive companies in Glasgow.
“The company has built up a huge rapport with readers over the years, and it is just terrific that this has been reflected in tonight’s award.”
This year’s contest attracted a substantial postbag from Evening Times readers, who chose Barrhead over the other contenders -- Greaves Sports, Fratelli Sarti, the Fopp music store, the St Enoch Centre, and Dumbreck Decorators of Govan. The award was just one of 15 that attracted a record-breaking audience to the annual showcase event, which is staged by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. The Bank of Scotland was the lead sponsor.
The compere was comedian and radio presenter Fred MacAulay, who kept the audience entertained with anecdotes and one-liners.
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of the Chamber, said: “The high quality entries we received to this year’s awards is reflected in the calibre of winners and reflects the vibrancy and continued success of the city’s business community.”
In the other categories, there were two triumphs for Diageo and three for Clyde Union Pumps.
The Buchanan Galleries, the Magners International Comedy Festival and the Glasgow Marriott Hotel also collected trophies.
Steve Inch, 57, who has recently retired as Glasgow’s executive director of development and regeneration, won a lifetime achievement award from the Chamber of Commerce.
He was widely seen as the driving force behind the regeneration of the city, the transformation of the city centre, the International Financial Services District and the breathing of new life into the Clyde.
THE ROLL OF HONOUR
Evening Times Award for Glasgow’s Favourite Business: Barrhead Travel Group
Bank of Scotland Award for Most Outstanding Business: Diageo, Shieldhall
Glasgow Business Award for Best Performing Business, 25 employees or under (sponsored by Radio Clyde): M Squared Lasers
Glasgow Business Award for Best Performing Business, over 25 employees (sponsored by Glasgow City Council): Clydeunion
Glasgow Business Award for Best Use of Social Media (sponsored by Dunning): Find Me Glasgow
Glasgow Business Award for Sustainable Development (sponsored by Scottish Water): Diagio, Shieldhall
Glasgow Business Award for Creative Marketing (sponsored by bmj architects): Buchanan Galleries
Glasgow Business Award for Equality and Diversity (sponsored by Glasgow Works): Glasgow Marriott Hotel
Glasgow Business Award for Apprentice Employer of the Year (sponsored by GTG Training): Clydeunion
Glasgow Business Award for Excellence in Skills and Learning (sponsored by Cardonald Training Solutions): Clydeunion
Glasgow Business Award for Excellence in Customer Service (sponsored by Thistle Glasgow Hotel): Barrhead Travel Group
Glasgow Business Award for Young Business Person of the Year (sponsored by ScottishPower): Colin McMurray, Clyde Marine Training
Glasgow Business Award for Tourism Event of the Year (sponsored by Glasgow Airport): Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival
Glasgow Business Award for Happiest Healthiest Workplace (sponsored by Health at Work), Scottish Qualifications Authority
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Award for Lifetime Achievement: Steve Inch