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THE finalists of the 2021 Clare Business Excellence & Resilience Awards have been announced.

After a year’s absence due to the pandemic, the awards coordinated by Ennis Chamber of Commerce have returned with gusto in 2021 with a new title to reflect the variety of businesses which have not only survived the economic turmoil of the pandemic, but continue to pivot and prosper.

There are 13 categories this year and overall 40 businesses have been shortlisted for the finals, with all attempting to win the overall category which is sponsored by the event’s main sponsor Clare County Council.

Two new categories have been introduced to this year’s awards list to reflect the changing business landscape. The ‘Resilience Award’, sponsored by Cup Print, recognises a business that pivoted in order to adapt to changed conditions and demands. Finalists in this category include glór, Western Herd (McHugh’s Bar), Julie Kilmartin Educational Services and Palm Free Soap.

The ‘Commitment to Training Award’, sponsored by Regional Skills Mid-West, celebrate businesses that leveraged training opportunities to ramp up management and employee skills. Finalists here are Bridget Haren Hair & Beauty, County Boutique, and Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience.

Independent adjudicators Spotcheck Northern Ireland completed mystery visits for categories involving retail, hospitality, tourism and customer service. The judging panel stated of the finalists, “Award competitions like Clare Business Excellence & Resilience Awards are only just coming back after a forced hiatus and we congratulate Ennis Chamber and County Clare for being amongst the first to put their annual business awards back in the calendar. Our mystery shoppers were particularly impressed by the excellent level of customer service on display, whether amongst retailers who had remained open throughout Covid lockdowns or those more recently re-opened. It cannot be easy for any business to change their business model so significantly and yet retain a high level of service and outward friendliness which we witnessed consistently across County Clare.”

Organisers of the Awards Ennis Chamber commented, “We were delighted with the volume and most importantly the quality of entries received this year. We didn’t know what to expect when we launched the awards last June, everyone was so fatigued by Covid, but the response has been fantastic.”

Margaret O’Brien, CEO, Ennis Chamber said, “We would like to thank all of the business who entered this year’s awards, we only wish we had an award for each and every one, they deserve it for surviving such unprecedented times. More than any other year we salute our finalists, the competition was red hot this year. Being named a finalist is a great achievement.”

The winners will be revealed on Thursday October 28 at the awards ceremony to be held at glór, Ennis. MC on the night is comedian and author Colm O’Regan.

Ms O’Brien added, “We could not have run the awards this year without the support of our category sponsors and we wish to thank them all sincerely. We also wish to acknowledge and thank Clare County Council for its continued support as the overall sponsor of Clare Business Excellence Awards and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the team at Clare Echo for being such great media sponsors.”

Finalists Clare Business Excellence & Resilience Awards 2021

Business Supporting Community – sponsored by Essilor

  • Clare FM
  • EI Electronics
  • Top Industrial

Best Green and Sustainable Practises – Sponsored by Rengen

  • Palm Free Soap
  • Falls hotel
  • Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience
  • Burren Ecotourism Network

 Best Micro Business – Sponsored by LEO Clare

  • Wix and Wax
  • Palm Free Soap
  • Top Industrial
  • CSGL Electrical Wholesalers

Best Tourism Experience

  • Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience
  • Ollie’s Tours
  • Aillwee Cave & Birds of Prey Centre
  • Doolin Ferry Company

Clare Professional Services Excellence Award – Sponsored by AIB

  • Sherry FitzGerald McMahon
  • Cashin Clancy Solicitors
  • Cahir Environmental Services

Best Hospitality – Sponsored by Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau

  • Lahinch Coast Hotel
  • Mondo Coffee Shop (Ennis)
  • Shannon Springs Hotel

Commitment to Training – sponsored by Regional Skills Mid-West

  • Bridget Haren Hair & Beauty
  • County Boutique
  • Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience

Customer Service Excellence – sponsored by McKeogh Gallagher Ryan

  • Bridget Haren Hair & Beauty
  • Lahinch Coast Hotel
  • O’Connor’s Bakery, Ennis Shopping Centre
  • Seoidin

Resilience Award

  • Glór
  • Western Herd (McHugh’s Bar)
  • Julie Kilmartin Educational Services
  • Palm Free Soap

Best use of Digital Marketing and Social Media – sponsored by Clare Echo

  • Ollie’s Tours
  • Hotel Woodstock
  • Lyon’s Garages (Miltown Malbay)
  • Doolin Ferry Company

 Retailer of the Year – sponsored by Ability IT Solutions

  • Gleeson Goldsmiths
  • County Boutique
  • Torpey Wood Products
  • O’Connor’s Bakery, Shannon

We have a winner…….

Best Voluntary & Community Group – sponsored by St Francis Credit Union

Ennis Tidy Towns

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