So today is the "big reveal" in terms of our decisions about the local business which best embodied the qualities which show more than just doing a "great job" (to use the most often phrase of a certain President 'un-elect').
Before I get to that, I want to highlight a business which should have been on last week's list but, because of circumstances (Covid-19 + others), the business is in a building phase right now.
The Whanganui Memory Clinic is working through its start-up phase but, in my mind (no pun intended), is an essential service for young and old alike. Indeed, Junior Bell would argue that Dad would benefit significantly from their services which assist people with actual or perceived memory deficits (given that I set the house alarm while the boy as still in the house, sparking his becoming well versed in the processes and services of Alarm Watch).
Bobbie Bryce, who has a background in cognitive psychology and years of experience working at a Memory Clinic in Auckland, started the business from scratch and I was lucky enough to assist her with marketing and planning services during the lockdown and beyond.
For all readers this is the key point, Bobbie (despite the hit of the Covid-19 containment measures and other setbacks which would have made lesser people give in) has shown the most persistence and drive that I have seen in many years. If anyone "deserves" a measure of success it is her.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing challenges with memory, give her a call on (06) 348 9414 / (027) 255 4979 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, onwards to another business which deserves success and has shown great qualities in the exceptional circumstances of 2020. Last week we listed the 12 "finalists" – all businesses which in their own way have exceeded expectations and delivered great products and/or services.
Last year we had a tie but this year there is a clear winner because of the high quality of their services and their story. So, without further ado, here are the top 3:
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3 Citadel Café – The Bell kids finished school and we went out there last Friday night. It was pumping and the food was superb (as always). Like Vincent Vega said in Pulp Fiction it is the "little differences" that you notice and Malcolm's and Roxi's attention to every detail mean that they run a wonderful business in the Castlecliff hub.
2 Monaghans Barbershop – A service business which, throughout the uncertainty of the first quarter of the 2021 financial year, maintained its culture and quality ethos. Its doors opening in level 2 were a welcome sight to the town's males and their partners alike! Sam has also managed changes in the team with skill and dedication, and the crew continue to maintain high quality standards of customer care. Next week it is back to walk-ins before the team take a much-deserved break.
1 High Kut Bistro – A stunning menu and a business which looked the Covid-19 lockdown in the eye and went ahead with their plans to open in late July. This is also a shout out (as was Citadel) to the entire hospitality sector, which (along with tourism-based businesses) had to manage circumstance change the most and, at least from my observation, had more challenges than others.
For High Kut, there was a gap in the market and Kelvin Huang saw it and has created something that is truly special. I really hope that they have a bumper holiday season. If you want to book a table give them a call on 06-345 0147.
So, there it is, another year and another Business Zen awards. I close by highlighting again the importance of supporting our local businesses (especially the small ones). The conditions of lockdown, inadvertently, gave more power to larger businesses (with the resources to better weather a storm) and web-based businesses like Amazon. While some commentators are a cheer squad for a "new normal" and a coming e-business "revolution" they forget the importance of local businesses for employment, enjoyment, and community utility. Last week's finalists and today's top 3 (4 if you count the Memory Clinic) are examples of some exceptional locals taking on risk and creating something special right here in Whanganui.
•Zenith Solutions is a Whanganui Business Consulting practice, if you want to make plans for 2021 give Russell a call on 021 244 2421