Hobsons Bay Business Excellence Awards finalists announced

Benjamin Millar

Following more than 18 months of adversity and challenges forced by the lengthy COVID-19 lockdowns, Hobsons Bay’s best businesses are being recognised in the 2021 Hobsons Bay Business Excellence Awards.

Nineteen finalists have been announced across the five key categories of Customer Experience, Creating Social Change, Sustainability, Pivoting during COVID-19 and New Start Up Business.

Winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony from 7pm Thursday, November 11.

Excellence in Customer Experience finalists

• Cat Napping Suburban Retreat: a unique indoor boarding cattery in Spotswood. The cattery offers a variety of ‘retreats’ as well as brushing, playtime, medicating cats, and photo updates;

• Inver Engineering: an Australian owned business with over 30 years servicing the Australian rail, ports, and industrial industries;

• LC Electrical Services: a family owned and operated business providing residential and commercial electrical services including air conditioning installation and maintenance;

• Pelvic Health Melbourne: a physiotherapy clinic specialising in pelvic health issues such as continence, gynaecological, bowel, pelvic and sexual pain.

Creating Social Change finalists

• Community Bank Laverton and Altona: In just over two decades, the bank has put $5.3 million back into the community through their Community Partnership Program, providing financial support to local clubs for various projects in fields such as sport and recreation, health and education, culture, and infrastructure;

• Wamarra: A highly respected majority-owned Aboriginal civil construction company based in Spotswood, building quality projects while strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation, engagement, and employment outcomes;

• Laverton Community Integrated Services: provides co-located services reflecting social, educational and community needs through high quality, responsive service delivery including crisis intervention, emergency relief, and early childhood education care, among others;

• Self Defence Hub: focuses on creating a safe space to learn self defence for women and children of all ages, helping them to grow confidence, build strength and regain control.

Excellence in Sustainability finalists

• Eco Laundry Room: Created eight years ago with the goal of allowing the local community to access extra-large washers and dryers in a clean and welcoming environment that would leave a positive footprint on our planet;

• Positive Feeds: A sustainable curated gifting service with a store in Newport and e-commerce site. The business is completely carbon neutral and partners with Trace, a start up helping individuals and businesses go net zero;

• The Rumours are True: A boutique hairdressing salon where waste is recycled and reused through Sustainable Salons, dramatically reducing their contribution to landfill, while also providing food for the needy, wigs for charities, and many other worthy causes and projects;

• Dogue Williamstown: Sustainability is a key focus of Dogue’s day-to-day operations, with dog cleaning methods designed to reduce waste and the utilisation of online forms and tablets.

New Start Up Business finalists

• Mama Movement: started in July 2020 and has a mission to start a body positivity movement with its colourful high performance activewear and swimwear. The business prides itself on being a sustainable label, with its premium high-performance activewear fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and tanks, tees and kids wear made from organic cotton;

• Grazeland: opened in March 2021 and offers a brand-new weekend dining experience reminiscent of a permanent street party or laneway festival with multiple seating options and delicious dining choices within an affordable and family-friendly environment;

• Treehab Tiny Houses Pty Ltd: started in 2019 and focuses on providing tailored housing solutions for tourism and alternative living, offering opportunities for specialised local tradespeople and businesses ;

• Positive Feeds: A sustainable curated gifting service which trades both online and through its shop in Newport, searched the inner-west for suppliers and supporting chefs, local producers and event-based businesses who have been drastically affected by COVID-19.

Pivoting during COVID-19 finalists

• Birdcage Altona Café: The café has changed their takeaway offering by introducing many local products from around Victoria, from dairy to dog food, show bags to pottery, they are now hosting products from over 20 local small businesses, helping them to survive the pandemic while bringing a unique offering to the community;

• Pier St IGA: The store has undergone a series of renovations designed to better suit the post-COVID needs of customers and offers an even wider range of products including toys, plants, hardware and general merchandise to give customers access to products that may not be accessible elsewhere due to restrictions;

• Seaworks Foundation: To help tenants recover income, Seaworks extended leases to tenants from the arts and the licenced area for The Pirates Tavern to bring in live music and food trucks, working with the Sun Theatre to create an outdoor cinema along the edge of the pier;

• Sabre Collective (CITE): offering boutique marketing consultancy services across niche industries including tourism, food and wine, events and hospitality, developing CITE360 – a bespoke 3D digital model of a business with an embedded 360-degree immersive experience to keep the customer journey at the forefront of the experience.