Surprise marriage proposal takes centre stage at 2021 Love Chesterfield Awards
Love really was in the air at last night’s 2021 Love Chesterfield Awards. Taking centre stage at the sell-out award ceremony was a marriage proposal by Giuseppe Barone, co-owner of Sicily Restaurant which won Best New Hospitality Business.
Walking up on stage to collect the award, Giuseppe dropped to one knee and proposed to his business partner Monica Sardisco in front of a shocked and delighted crowd.
Giuseppe explained: “The proposal was all planned for if we won but if we didn’t win it wasn’t going to happen. I am very happy – for the award and for Monica saying ‘yes’.”
Sicily Restaurant was just one of 16 businesses and individuals celebrated at the Love Chesterfield Awards – the first in-person event held in 19 months by Destination Chesterfield.
Almost 50 businesses, individuals and projects were shortlisted across 16 categories, but it was Adorn Jewellers, Chesters Restaurant & Takeaway and CarMats.co.uk that clinched the three headline awards – Retailer of the Year, Restaurant of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year respectively.
Recent Strictly star and breakfast TV presenter Mike Bushell announced the winners of the awards at a sell-out black tie event held at the Winding Wheel on Wednesday 20 October.
More than 250 people attended the celebration. Dom Stevens, Destination Chesterfield Manager said: “This year the awards were a celebration on so many levels – recognising entrepreneurial and community spirit, achievement, survival and a marriage proposal – the first in our awards history. I am delighted that the business community was once again able to come together in person, connect with each other and share in each other’s success. It was a brilliant event.”
New business CarMats.co.uk, owned by Ash Young, is the first ever recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year award. The Chesterfield-based ecommerce business, which sells car mats, was founded during the first lockdown in 2020 and achieved £1 million in revenue in just nine months. Capitalising on his success, he has since established a second digital business selling car seat covers this year.
Delighted to win the award, Ash said: “During lockdown I wanted to set up a business to support local jobs. Car mats is a bit of a strange business, but everyone uses car mats and they wear out. We are now looking to expand across Europe going into Ireland first and then onto France and all from Chesterfield.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve done with Carmats.co.uk and it’s really nice to get the recognition locally.”
CarMats.co.uk was just one of 761 new businesses registered in Chesterfield during 2020 – an increase of 20% compared to the previous year.
Long established businesses, town centre-based Adorn Jewellers, and Chesters based on Sheffield Road are previous multiple award winners in the Chesterfield High Street and Food and Drink awards.
Chesters is investing £1 million opening a second restaurant at Markham Vale. Chris Ioanides, Owner of Chesters, which next year celebrates its 10th anniversary, said: “It means so much to us to be recognised locally. Even though we’ve been in the top 10 in the UK this award means more to us because it’s Chesterfield people that have got us where we are today. It fills our hearts to know that we are up there with the top restaurants in the town.”
Capitalising on the success of Adorn, which opened in The Shambles in 2010, owners Laura-Jo and Adam Owen opened a second shop, Acorn Jewellers, in Bakewell in 2017. An emotional Laura Jo said: “We’re thrilled to win this award. Our success is our customers – 100%. We have a wonderful community of customers and this award is for them.”
The Love Chesterfield Awards replace and combine the town’s popular Food and Drink and High Street Awards. Three new categories have also been added to the Love Chesterfield awards line-up – Sustainability, Community Contribution and Entrepreneur of the Year.
Organised by Destination Chesterfield and sponsored by EntireFM, categories in the new Love Chesterfield Awards reflect the challenges which local businesses, people and projects have faced over the last 18 months as well as the business landscape post pandemic.
Speaking at the awards, Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council and Vice Chair of Destination Chesterfield said: “The last 19 months have been a turbulent time for all of us. But our local businesses have shown such resilience; adapting and supporting each other to keep moving forward. They have all achieved so much and inspired others to follow in their footsteps. It is an honour to be able to recognise so many at the Love Chesterfield Awards.”
Winners of the 16 2021 Love Chesterfield Awards categories include:
Restaurant of the Year – Sponsored by Entire FM
“It means so much to us to be recognised locally. Even though we’ve been in the top 10 in the UK this award means more to us because it’s Chesterfield people that have got us where we are today. It fills our hearts to know that we are up there with the top restaurants in the town.” Chris Ioanides, owner, Chesters
Café of the Year – sponsored by CMP Legal
The Café at Libby’s
“We’re absolutely thrilled to bits to win. We make what people want to eat and our customers keep coming back. It’s a pleasure to come to work and keep serving them.” Ann Truscott and Julie Legdon, The Café at Libbys
Pub/Bar of the Year – sponsored by Addooco IT
The Tickled Trout
“It’s been a really difficult 18 months at The Tickled Trout and the team have been brilliant. Pulling together throughout the pandemic and adapting the business and supporting the community.” Rachel Cutting, The Tickled Trout
Best New Hospitality Business – sponsored by Shorts Chartered Accountants
“Sicily Restaurant is a family business and when people visit us, we want them to feel welcome and like they are in our home. We are not standing still; there is still room for improvement. We now plan to do fresh pasta to add to all our home made, authentic Sicilian menu.” Giuseppe Barone, Sicily Restaurant
Accessibility Award – sponsored by Spirecross Ltd
Monkey Park Café
“It feels amazing to win the award. It’s important to us to ensure people are connected and that involved delivering new services during the pandemic, like providing take away services from the café and supplying tablets and mobile phones to members of the community to help them get online and develop new skills. It means such a lot to us that Monkey Park and our services are accessible to everybody and this award is recognition of that.” Sarah Clarke, Monkey Park Community Hub
Retailer of the Year – sponsored by East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire)
Adorn Jewellers of Chesterfield
“We’re thrilled to win this award. Our success is our customers – 100%. We have a wonderful community of customers and this award is for them.” – Laura Jo Owen, owner of Adorn Jewellers
Best New High Street Business – sponsored by Chesterfield College Group
Lottie’s Sandwich Bar
“We weren’t expecting to win the award. We came to the Love Chesterfield Awards thinking that it would be an amazing experience so to win is absolutely amazing. Without our customers and community, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We work so hard for them so to get something back is just amazing. We’ll keep listening to our customers and do our best for them.”
Independent High Street Business – sponsored by Evoluted
“It feels fantastic to win the award. Fred’s is an institution in Chesterfield and we feel proud to have developed the business further using technology. We have really enjoyed being on Twitter during The Great British Sewing Bee. It’s really made a difference to the business as more people are getting into dressmaking and coming into the shop for fabric and patterns.” Emily Lord, Fred’s Haberdashery
Sustainability Award – sponsored by Chesterfield Borough Council
“We are absolutely delighted to have won this inaugural award. Sustainability is high on the agenda at Superior Wellness and it became even more important when we moved into our new 130,000 square foot warehouse and office in March.
“Within the last few months, we have reviewed our waste strategy, purchased electric forklift trucks, installed solar panels and have electric charging points.
“This is just the start as we seek to become more sustainable as a business. Our ten-year vision is to become carbon neutral.” Mark Needham, Head of Operations, Superior Wellness
Community Contribution – sponsored by Van Dyk by Wildes
“It’s really exciting to win the award. It’s been great to help Chesterfield get back to normal by delivering 30,000 vaccinations. It’s been a real team and family effort and we’re all so proud.” Tara Brown, Peak Pharmacy
Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Banner Jones Solicitors
“During lockdown I wanted to set up a business to support local jobs. Car mats is a bit of a strange business, but everyone uses car mats and they wear out. We are now looking to expand across Europe going into Ireland first and then onto France, and all from Chesterfield.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve done with Carmats.co.uk and it’s really nice to get the recognition locally.” Ash Young, CarMats.co.uk
Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by DBC Training
Ellie Gibson – Heathcotes Group
“I am so shocked to win the award. I love working at Heathcotes and loved doing my apprenticeship. I would say to anyone who wants to do an apprenticeship just do it. I’ve really enjoyed it.” Ellie Gibson
Food Producer of the Year (within 10 miles) – sponsored by MSE Hiller
Crooked Pickle Co
Excellence in Customer Service – sponsored by Peak Pharmacy
The Therapy Lounge
Market Trader of the Year – sponsored by Chesterfield Borough Council
Ibbotson’s Fresh Quality Produce
Regeneration Award – sponsored by BHP Accountants
The Glass Yard
The 2021 Love Chesterfield Awards were supported and made possible by a number of sponsors and partners, including: Addooco IT, Banner Jones Solicitors, BHP Accountants, CMP Legal, Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield Digital High Street, The Chesterfield College Group, DBC Training, Derbyshire Times, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), EntireFM – Complete Facilities Management, Evoluted, Greatest Hits Radio South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, JP Fire Safety Solutions, MSE Hiller, Peak Pharmacy, Shorts Chartered Accountants, Spirecross Ltd and Van Dyk by Wildes.