The team behind Event Impressions attend hundreds of events like the 2018 Westpac Rotorua Business Awards every year.

But while setting up for the local event on Friday, little did they know they were only hours away from being named as Supreme Business of the year.

Managing director Jacqui Alexander, who set the company up with husband Jeff Alexander, spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post the next day, saying she felt overwhelmed and shocked to have taken out the Service Sector Excellence Award and then the Supreme Business of the year category.

"We were sitting at our table just crossing our fingers for our category, so when we found out we had won we were blown away, and feeling quite humbled," Alexander said.

She said the couple were spending the day sharing the news with friends, family and staff who were not at the event on Friday night.

"We are being quite reflective, thinking about the huge amount of hard work we are putting into our business. To see that paying off is really exciting," Alexander said.


Event Impressions was an event planning and styling business that the couple first set up in Rotorua in 2002.

The company also had a satellite branch set up in Auckland, however, Alexander said her family chose to live in Rotorua because they loved the lifestyle.

After 16 years in business, Alexander said the company would not be where it was today without the team who work for them.

"Our team are invaluable. They are the oil that keeps the wheels turning, we couldn't do it without them."

The awards were held at the Energy Events Centre and included six excellence award categories and six business award categories, plus three special awards.

This year new categories were introduced at the award launch in April. The theme, Uniquely Rotorua, was inspired to recognise and celebrate Rotorua's key industries.

The finalists were announced in August and a 24-member judging panel determined the winners.

The winners:
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Kacy Sander
- Employee of the Year: Daniel Ward – 4 Square Edmund Rd
- Social Licence Business Award: Crankworx
- Not For Profit Business Award: Te Taumata Ngāti Whakaue Iho-Ake Trust
- Innovation and Disruption Business Award: Kilwell Fibretube Ltd
- Bi-Lingual Business Award: Kahui Legal
- Business Person of the Year: Peter Clark – PF Olsen
- Small Business Excellence Award: Stolen Bike Catering
- Retail Excellence Award: 4 Square Edmund Rd
- Service Sector Excellence Award: Event Impressions
- Tourism & Hospitality Excellence Award: Kaitiaki Adventures
- Primary and Manufacturing Industries Excellence Award: Onuku Māori Lands Trust
- Judges Acknowledgement of Excellence Award: Kilwell Fibretube Ltd
- Property & Construction Excellence Award: The Glass Guys
- Outstanding Contribution to Rotorua Award: Red Stag Timber
- Supreme Business of the Year: Event Impressions