By Mark Stevens
Tony Rowe praised his ‘hard working’ Sandy Park team after the Exeter venue was named Business of the Year at the Express & Echo 2017 Business Awards.
Exeter Rugby Club’s chairman and chief executive was on hand to pick up the night’s main award at a glittering ceremony held at Exeter’s premier Conferencing & Banqueting Centre, Sandy Park.
In what has been another fantastic year both on and off the field, Sandy Park’s success was confirmed by the awards judging panel who were clearly impressed by the attention to detail put in by the company across the board.
The black-tie event, attended by 300 people, was hosted by Bill Martin, Trinity Mirror’s group editor for Devon and Cornwall, along with television journalist Alexis Bowater.
Before the ceremony got under way, the audience heard from Brian Lodge, of headline partner South West Communications, who spoke about how 21st century connectivity allowed businesses to operate from any part of the country, and Patrick Phelvin, the editor of Devon Live, Trinity Mirror’s new news website for the county which is based in the centre of Exeter.
It was, however, a night to remember for Sandy Park, who also picked up the prestigious Excellence in Customer Service Award.
Mr Rowe said: “It has been another fantastic 12 months for Sandy Park, on and off the field, and these two awards are recognition for the hard work that has been put in by our outstanding staff over that period.
“Like with any business there are often challenging times that you have to get through, but what these awards underline is that the team here not only provide a first-class service, but that they are willing to go above and beyond to help all of our customers.”
Never one to stand still in terms of developing Sandy Park and Exeter Rugby Club, Mr Rowe recently unveiled plans for a new 250-bed luxury hotel to be built close to the existing site
The proposed four-star plus grade hotel would form part of the wider Sandy Park complex and ‘complement and enhance’ existing conference and other facilities already provided.
It will also have leisure space on the lower floors, guest accommodation on the four floors above, while a restaurant would be located on the top floor.
“These are exciting times for Sandy Park,” added Mr Rowe. “The future looks very bright and we believe building the hotel will only serve to enhance the complex as a whole. Our aim is to be the jewel in the crown when it comes to providing a premier facility within the South West.
“Awards like those we have picked up show that we are clearly heading in the right direction and long may that continue.”
Exeter Media Sales Director, Michelle Pugh, said: “The awards were really special this year, there was a huge amount of passion and pride in the room – and companies large and small with some incredible tales to tell.
“I’d like to thank all our partners and sponsors for supporting the scheme and helping us celebrate the best of business once again.”
As well as picking up the Business of the Year award, Sandy Park also won a prize of £10,000 to spend on marketing across the Trinity Mirror network of newspapers and websites.
Other award winners on the night included:
Corporate Social Responsibility Award: Clear Property Limited
Employer of the Year: Tyler Grange
Digital Business of the Year: Custodian Solutions
Innovation Award: Bitpod
Small Business of the Year: Awcock Ward Partnership
Excellence in Customer Service: Exeter Rugby Club
Entrepreneur of the Year: DanSci Dance Studio
The City Centre Award: Bunyip Craft
Excellence in Manufacturing: Amtek Plastics
Apprentice Employer of the Year: Life Dental & Wellbeing
Tourism & Hospitality Business of the Year: The Salutation Inn
Business of the Year: Sandy Park