ONE of the region’s best-known food and beverage businesses, Burra Brewing Co in Korumburra, has taken out the prestigious ‘Food and Wine (and Beer) Producers’ category at the annual Federation University Gippsland Business Awards held virtually last Friday night.

The judges liked the way they go about it.

“The Korumburra-based Burra Brewing Co implemented a well-considered, thoughtful and practical strategy to beat COVID-19 restrictions. Its focus was identifying a profitable market segment and adhering to it.”

Locals have seen that for themselves, the way they’ve been able to ride the bumps and potholes of multiple lockdowns and restrictions to keep coming back with great hospitality, a fine array of beers and tasty food options time and time again, while developing their brewing business behind the scenes.

It’s a credit to General Manager Phill Dempster, the other co-owners and members of the team that they’ve been able to survive and thrive under adversity and their considerable efforts have been acknowledged with a major regional business award.

The other award winner locally was The Cape Kitchen, Newhaven which took out the key visitor economy award as the Best Hospitality venue.

The judges were impressed:

“The Cape Kitchen at Newhaven, Phillip Island, defines its market segments, identifying new opportunities such as introducing innovative experiences during COVID-19 lockdown. It is currently establishing a hot springs/wellness centre development.”

A big well done to them as well.

And the overall winner is…

Moe’s TM&H Mitre 10 won the top honour, the Federation University Gippsland ‘Business of the Year’.

Awards Chair, Graeme Sennett, congratulated the business owners, James Hitchens and Laura Town who he said took out the award from a strong field of contenders.

The awards were held virtually for the first time with 51 businesses from throughout Gippsland joining the event which also named winners in 11 industry and specialist categories as well as the new Business Agility Award.

Mr Sennett congratulated all entrants who he said showcased the great resilience and innovation displayed by Gippsland businesses.

“With the biggest number of entries for some time, the depth and diversity of this year’s entries demonstrates the dedication and commitment of our business people, who have overcome a whole new range of challenges through determination and hard work,” he said.

“I want to thank all our sponsors, especially Federation University, who make it possible for us to acknowledge and pay tribute to the region’s business sector.”

Operating for more than 30 years, TM&H Mitre 10 has continually evolved in response to both changing customer needs and developments within the hardware sector, while also demonstrating its generosity as a staunch supporter of the community.

O’Connors Transport from Morwell joined an impressive list of Gippsland businesses to be inducted into the GBA Hall of Fame. Each GBA finalist is assessed and independently rated by five different judges across 10 judging criteria.

The other winners

The category winners came from across the region and are listed below, together with a precis of judges’ comments:

* Accommodation – Mansi on Raymond, Sale Through the development of a strategy in social media marketing, print, OTA distribution and website channels, Mansi on Raymond has taken the next leap into a highly competitive market. It now competes and succeeds in this market segment, both locally and intrastate.

* Beauty and Personal Care – Amity Alice, Warragul Amity Alice Skin and Laser Clinic in Warragul dedicated a significant period of downtime during COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 to re-investment in the business. Amity redesigned and developed an e-commerce website and launched DIY facial kits. A new marketing plan was a strong platform to ensure clients were not forgotten.

* Business and Professional Services – FGM Consultants, Warragul FGM Consultants was established in 1996 to provide a specialist Training and Consultancy service to the Meat and Food Processing Industry. It has now developed a LMS system that incorporates video footage, PowerPoint presentations, audio recordings and interactive questions and answers to improve user experience and interaction.

* Health and Well Being – Olivia’s Place, Warragul Accreditation has been a major achievement for Olivia’s Place in the past 12 months. Its programs, including client management, relationship management, fundraising campaigns, donation drives and all related outcomes and impacts, are managed through cloud-based program Salesforce.

* Manufacturing / Export – Elite Pack, Drouin Long established Drouin family business, Elite Pack, is a fast-growing innovative business that has expanded year on year since its inception over 25 years ago. It has developed innovative solutions to meet ever changing customer needs in a niche market.

* Mechanical Trades and Construction – Gippsland Land Services (GLS), Moe Gippsland Land Services is a specialist in vegetation management, residential, commercial and industrial site maintenance and landscaping works. Located in Moe, the family business has serviced customers in Gippsland and Melbourne’s eastern suburbs for more than 30 years.

* New Business – Regional Migration Australia, Traralgon A decision to move the business to a remote working model was hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Business partners transitioned to work from home-based offices, consequently moving to a paperless system. A cloud-based app was adopted to manage all business processes.

* Retail – TM&H Mitre 10, Moe This 30-year business in Moe has continually pivoted to respond to changing customer needs and developments within the hardware sector. TM&H Mitre 10 also has a generous reputation as a staunch supporter of many community events.

* Tourism Activities and Attractions – Wyncity Morwell, Morwell Wyncity has transformed the Morwell business, offering tenpin bowling, arcade games, bumper cars, laser tag, mini golf, a café and a birthday party venue. It prides itself on creating memories by bringing families and communities together.

* Business Agility Award – Big Bears Donuts, Lakes Entrance Based in Lakes Entrance and now earning well deserved plaudits from a wide geographical community, the COVID-19 lockdowns saw Big Bears Donuts take their donuts to customers through deliveries. The business built a loyal customer base, ensuring repeat business when restrictions lifted. Attached is a full list of winners and finalists. For further information refer to the Federation University Gippsland Business Awards website at www.gba.org.au

2021 Finalists and Winners

* Accommodation: Beachcomber Holiday Units Lakes Entrance, Bridges on Argyle Motel Traralgon, Erica Caravan Park Erica, Mansi on Raymond Sale (winner), Rosemont House Luxury B&B Noojee.

* Beauty and Personal Care: Amity Alice Warragul (winner), Cosmetic Clinic Gippsland Sale, Embrace Fitness and Wellbeing (EFW) Morwell, Laser Clinics Australia Traralgon.

* Business and Professional Services: Brinnie T Design Cowes, FGM Consultants Warragul (winner), Pro Draft Pty Ltd Morwell RGM Drouin, Moe, Traralgon, Sale Signtorque Sale.

* Food & Wine Producers: Big Bears Donuts Lakes Entrance, Burra Brewing Co Korumburra (winner), Hallston Valley Farm Hallston, Snowy River Black Garlic Orbost.

* Health and Wellbeing: Baw Baw Physio and Fitness Drouin, Baw Baw Radiology Drouin, Trafalgar, Warragul; Blossom Ultrasound for Women Drouin, Dani McLennan Occupational Therapy Traralgon, Natural Health Balance Paynesville, Olivia’s Place Warragul (winner).

* Hospitality: Aroma @ Eastwood Bairnsdale, Moos at Meeniyan, Stellinas Traralgon, The Cape Kitchen Newhaven (winner), Trulli Meeniyan.

* Manufacturing/Export: Elite Pack Drouin (winner), Gippsland Jersey Lakes Entrance, Scarlet and Grace Sale.

* Mechanical Trades and Construction: CPK McLaren MotorBody Leongatha, Gaffkes Gardens and Landscaping Yarragon, Gippsland Land Services (GLS) Moe (winner), Hydraulink Warragul.

* New Business: Liz Fleming The Efficiency Coach Traralgon, Long John Pickles Fish Creek, Overcoming Obstacles Stratford, Pathfinder Law Warragul, Regional Migration Australia Traralgon (winner).

Retail: Geek Heaven Traralgon, Jak’s Music Warragul, Loch Sport Supermarket Loch Sport, TM&H Mitre 10 Moe Trafalgar (winner), True Value Trafalgar, Twelve South Bridal Yarragon.

* Tourism Activities and Attractions: Clip ‘n Climb Phillip Island Cowes, Salty Seas Surf School Inverloch, Trafalgar Holden Museum Trafalgar, Wyncity Morwell Morwell (winner).

* Business Agility Award: Amity Alice Warragul, Big Bears Donuts Lakes Entrance (winner), Embrace Fitness and Wellbeing (EFW) Morwell, FGM Consultants Warragul, Scarlet and Grace Sale, The Cape Kitchen Newhaven.

* Hall of Fame: O’Connors Transport Morwell.

* Certificate of Merit: Denis Walter.