By Sarah Scully
Stawell businesses named as finalists include Stawell Sportspower, Waack’s Bakery, Frews, Clarks Furniture and Krause Bricks, while Ararat’s AME Systems and G.J. Gardner Homes also made the cut.
Stawell Sportspower co-owner Shane Young said the awards were validation for a job well done.
“You enter these awards to see how you’re going,” he said.
“You always try to do your best with your store, so you get personal satisfaction from being named as a finalist because it means that you’re doing the right thing.
“It’s always nice to win, but if you don’t win it doesn’t matter.”
Stawell-based Waack’s Bakery won top honours at the 2011 awards ceremony and will vie for honours again this year.
Owner Chris Waack was thrilled his business, which also has bakeries in Ararat and Horsham, made the grade.
“It’s great for business, but what’s really good is it recognises the hard work of our staff,” he said.
Mr Waack said it was pleasing to see Wimmera businesses well represented among this year’s finalists.
“We’ve got a lot of fantastic businesses in the region,” he said.
“I’d really like to encourage businesses to enter the next time these awards roll around.
“It’s not hard and it’s very rewarding if you are named a finalist or manage to win an award.
“You have to sit down and have a good look at your business when you do your application, which helps your business. It’s also good to get your staff involved.”
G.J. Gardner Homes Ararat co-owner Sally Heard said it was an exciting time for the business.
“This is the first time we’ve ever entered awards like this,” she said. “There are three areas we’re hoping to do well in, but we’re really just pleased to have made the finals.
“All the staff are going along and we’re looking forward to it. Winning would be a nice bonus.”
Pyrenees Shire Council economic development and tourism manager Ray Davies said the businesses were looking forward to a great night of entertainment at the gala dinner.
“This is always an exciting stage within the awards campaign,” he said.
“Businesses are recognised for their efforts and can celebrate this time with their staff and peers.”
He said an independent panel of judges spent many hours poring over the applications.
“I would like to congratulate each and every finalist,” he said.
“They have obviously shown a high level of distinction within their respective categories and deserve the opportunity to celebrate their achievements.”
The awards have attracted a wide array of businesses across a number of industries.
Other finalists include Beaufort’s Three Troupers Pantry, Cave Hill Creek and Eurambeen Homestead, Waubra’s Quoin Hill Vineyard, Lake Bolac’s Westlake Fertilisers, Avoca Hotel and Pyrenees Hay Processors Co-op.
Mr Davies said the gala dinner would be at Avoca Shire Turf Club.
He said people could email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pyrenees Shire Council on 5349 1153 to book or for more information