More than 250 nominations have been received for this year's Te Puke Business Excellence Awards.
When the deadline for submissions passed, there were 253 in total, including nominations across the different categories for 177 individual businesses. There were 31 nominations for the employee of the year award.
A Te Puke Economic Development initiative, awards organiser Sabrina Harms says the nomination period went really well.
''Going through the nominations, one thing that is really exciting is that we have quite a few businesses that haven't been nominated in the past and who haven't been part of the awards before, so it seems like we are getting a bit more of a wider pool than we have in the past.
''It's exciting to bring new businesses into the fold and bring attention to them as well.''
She says it took a little while for momentum to build.
Last held in 2018, the biennial event was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
''People were asking about them as they hadn't been run for two years now, so there has been a bit of a lull. But once people realised it's on again, people have got really excited.''
Sabrina has been out and about visiting local businesses to promote the initiative and says she has had plenty of warm greetings.
The awards now have their own mascot and plans for the awards evening on July 9 are taking shape.
''We have finished the vision for what we are doing and it's going to have a mid-winter masquerade theme with lots of cocktails, a roast dinner, something nice and warm, live musicians and we are booking a speaker plus other entertainment. It's going to be something really different and special for people.''
There are five awards' categories - retail, food and beverage, service, hort and ag and employee of the year - and a supreme winner.