Havering Small Business Awards winners crowned at evening event

Havering awards

Cllr Dilip Patel, Mr P's Cornershop owners Rahul Patel and his wife, Bhavini, and BID director, Julie Frost. - Credit: Top Pic Photography

Entrepreneurs gathered at Premiere Cinemas in Romford last night (March 16) in the hope of winning an award at the first Havering Small Business Awards 2021/22.  

Award winners

The Havering Small Business Awards winners. - Credit: Top Pic Photography

In total, Havering Council received more than 15,000 public votes. There were over 250 businesses nominated, but this number was brought down to 27 finalists, announced in February.  

Cllr Patel

Havering cabinet member for business recovery, Dilip Patel. - Credit: Top Pic Photography

The evening, which was hosted by Time 107.5’S Mark Dover, saw Havering cabinet member for business recovery Dilip Patel give an opening speech in place of council leader Damian White, who was unable to attend at short notice.  

Presenting the awards were representatives from the sponsors.   

Rahul and Julie

Mr P's Cornershop owner Rahul Patel proudly holds up his Havering small business of the year award next to sponsor Julie Frost from Romford BID. - Credit: Top Pic Photography

American confectionary store Mr P’s Cornershop was crowned Havering small business of the year, as well as winning the best small or independent business category.  

Owner Rahul Patel, 31, who is working to open his new dessert restaurant The Belly by the end of this month, said: “I feel very, very proud and the second award [Havering small business of the year] was a bit of a surprise.  

“It’s just such a proud moment and it seems like the hard work is finally paying off." 

Rahul said receiving the most votes of the night was a “real achievement” and he is looking forward to displaying his awards in the shop, where they will be placed in a trophy cabinet or “a special shelf”.  

Next year he hopes to participate in the awards as the best newcomer with The Belly.  

Ciao Bella

Best hospitality business award winners from Ciao Bella with Julie Frost (l). - Credit: Top Pic Photography

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Taking home the best hospitality award was Italian restaurant Ciao Bella, while the best takeaway award went to Nugs in Hornchurch.  

Nugs owners

Nugs owners, Reis Esiroglu and Charley Fairbrother were proud to have won in the best takeaway category. - Credit: Top Pic Photography

Nugs' owners Reis Esiroglu, 28, and Charley Fairbrother, 32, extended thanks to all their followers who voted.  

Reis said: “To win was incredible and it was a tough category.

"We’ve come from starting during the lockdown in my mum’s garden, to doing this, and it really feels like the hard work has paid off.”  

Vanilla Room

The Vanilla Room best beauty or service business winners. - Credit: Top Pic Photography

The best beauty or service business award went to independent hair salon The Vanilla Room in Hornchurch, with family-run Upminster Sports Massage and Pilates Studio taking home the best customer experience award.  

Upminster studio owners

Upminster Sports Massage and Pilates owners Charlene (l) and Neil Carpenter (r), with Cllr Patel presenting the best hospitality business award. - Credit: Top Pic Photography

Owners of the studio, Neil Carpenter, 51, and Charlene Carpenter, 48, said they were “chuffed” to be awarded.  

Charlene said: “It means so much to us because it’s the best customer experience award and to us that’s the best award there is, as it’s all about what the customer is feeling.”  

Throughout the pandemic Charlene and Neil said they provided additional classes and reached out to people in a bid to “keep their spirits up”.  

Havering’s best tradesperson award went to Wings Plastering, while the best newcomer was awarded to desserts takeaway Simply Wafflez.  

Simply Wafflez owners

Husband and wife, Dayo and Lara Oluwamuylwa were presented with the best newcomer award their Simply Wafflez dessert business by award sponsor, Janet Smyth, from Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry (r). - Credit: Top Pic Photography

Husband and wife owners of Simply Wafflez, Dayo Oluwamuylwa, 36, and Lara Oluwamuylwa, 38, from Hornchurch, said the win has made them feel they’re doing “something good”.  

Lara said: “We’re ecstatic and it is building our confidence that we do have a great company.  

“It’s great for us to come through this with a new business off the back of Covid when businesses were so damaged.”  

Best Sellers

Best Sellers owners Cassie Wootton and Robbie Wootton with Julie Frost from Romford BID. - Credit: Top Pic Photography

Hornchurch’s Best Sellers claimed the best shopfront award; the family-run business dates back to 1976 and is now run by siblings Robbie Wootton, 41, and Cassie Wootton, 39.  

The pair didn’t expect to win but said it was a “brilliant” feeling.  

Robbie said: “We’ve had great feedback from our customers saying we always go the extra mile with our displays.” 

Cassie shared that their niche is to dress the windows by picking a “theme, colourway or season” - which currently is Mother’s Day, with black and gold colours to represent Queen Bee in one window and in the other a mannequin dressed in flowers.   

Baby Bank

The Baby Bank HQ, founded by Kelly Rosvear and Claire Foster with a Marlborough Highways sponsor. - Credit: Top Pic Photography

The Baby Bank HQ, founded by Kelly Rosvear, 43, took home the best social enterprise or community interest company (CIC) award.  

Winners received a trophy, certificate and vinyl “winners” sticker for their business premises.  

They will also receive a free priority Business Growth Workshop session with East London Business Place, while, as winner of the Havering small business of the year, Mr P’s Cornershop will receive a free marketing package from Aysgarth Print Services, courtesy of key sponsor Romford BID.