Ten businesses crowned winners at inaugural Ilford South Business Awards

Winners of the inaugural Ilford South Business Awards

Winners of the inaugural Ilford South Business Awards - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

Winners of the inaugural Ilford South Business Awards have been announced. 

At a ceremony on Small Business Saturday 2021 (December 4), 10 businesses were recognised for their success in their community.

Weininger Irwin, the first champion of ITV's hit show Gladiators, hosted the event at City Gates Church on Clements Road, after thousands of people made nominations

Weininger Irwin

Weininger Irwin, the first champion of ITV's hit show Gladiators, hosted the event - Credit: Paul Leo Shears

The awards were set up by Ilford South MP Sam Tarry in collaboration with Ilford Business Improvement District (BID) and the Recorder in order to back small businesses impacted by the Covid pandemic.

The winner in Valentines ward was Tight Fit jeans, which has been serving the community for 43 years. 

Co-founders Atul and Max Shah said it was the first award the business has won.

Tight Fit jeans

Atul and Max Shah of Tight Fit jeans have been trading in Ilford for more than 40 years. - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

Atul said: "I feel absolutely fantastic, superb. So many people here, through the years, have come to us from the beginning. And it's the loyalty that we build up from that time that has kept us going here and now."

Max added: "It's nice to feel the support of people, to feel recognised after that many years."

Barney Bear's Nursery, which was set up about 20 years ago, also received a plaque for winning in Loxford ward. 

Director Leah Clarke said the team, including manager Jade Steele, "work really hard" and the Ilford community is "smashing": "I feel so grateful, especially with what we've been through, through the pandemic."

Sam Tarry with Barney Bear's Nursery's Leah Clarke and Jade Steele.

Sam Tarry with Barney Bear's Nursery's Leah Clarke and Jade Steele. - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

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Owner of Golden Barbers, Saleh Bin Silim, who was crowned winner in Goodmayes, told the Recorder he has been running the business for only a few years. 

He said: "I feel very glad, very happy. I never expected it.

"We try our best to give the best service that we can in our area, we give a high-end service and the customers  - they're very proud of us because the price we charge is nowhere near what we give and the standard of haircut."

Golden Barbers' owner Saleh Bin Silim with MP Sam Tarry

Golden Barbers' owner Saleh Bin Silim (middle) was crowned winner in Goodmayes - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

Chadwell's winner was Hair by Liane Firmin, Clementswood's was Manjaros and Cranbrook's was Kanchans.

Sheraz Ahmed, owner of Manjaros, described the dishes it serves as a "fusion of flavours, from the plains of Africa, islands of the Caribbean, and heart of Asia".

He thanked all the customers and his staff - the "Manjaros family".

"We take a lot of pride in the quality of our food, our chefs are fantastic - they work really hard and make sure that nothing leaves the kitchen unless it's perfect," he added.

Sheraz and Saadet Ahmed of Manjaros, Ilford

Sheraz and Saadet Ahmed of Manjaros - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

The owners of restaurant and banqueting hall Kanchans are Peter Baxi and his father Sam Baxi, who said after 21 years in Gants Hill, they "have never let anybody down".

"We always make sure, if somebody has to remember us, it has to be for a good reason," said Sam.

Sam and Peter Baxi of Kanchans

Sam and Peter Baxi of Kanchans, with Sam Tarry and Franki Berry, editor of the Ilford Recorder - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

Meanwhile, Digipix won in Ilford Town, Massi’s Kitchen in Mayfield, Tom Fresh in Newbury and Satkeer Catering in Seven Kings.

Tal Bhogal, owner of Digipix, said: "It feels really good actually, it's nice to get some recognition. It's been a very tough two years now and it's nice to get some positive vibes, positive energy and to keep us going, because it's been difficult."

Digipix wins Ilford South Business Award

Tal Bhogal (left middle) and Bal Singh (right middle) from Digipix, with Sam Tarry (right) and Alan Maree (left), a representative from sponsor HSBC. - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

Bal Singh and Tal Bhogal from Digipix

L-R: Bal Singh and Tal Bhogal from Digipix - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

Massi’s is a vegetarian family business run by Meena Sanghera, Kashmir Kaur and Gurdish Kaur.

Meena said: "I'm overwhelmed, still shaking. I can't believe it, we didn't expect it. 

"We are a family-run, traditional business, all the dishes that we make are as if you would get them from India, back home."

Massi’s Kitchen's Meena Sanghera and Gurdish Kaur with Sam Tarry

Massi’s Kitchen won in Mayfield ward - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

Rashpal Nandhray, who runs Satkeer Catering with Polly Nandhray, said the company can boast previous clients such as Theresa May and Charlie Sheen.  

"It's quite an honour to be recognised as an established business in the Seven Kings area - there are loads of companies out there, so to be nominated and receive the award - it's a great honour."

Sam Tarry with representatives from Satkeer Catering, the winners in Seven Kings.

Sam Tarry with representatives from Satkeer Catering, the winners in Seven Kings. - Credit: Paul Fox Photography

Mr Tarry said the evening was a "resounding success": "The whole idea of tonight was about shining a torch onto some of the very best local businesses and look, tonight wasn't comprehensive or exclusive, there are a lot more businesses that are equally fantastic.

"This was about the first stepping stone to helping people recover after the pandemic and helping small businesses as part of Small Business Saturday get the recognition they deserve so I couldn't hope for more."

Ilford South MP Sam Tarry at the first Ilford South Business Awards

Ilford South MP Sam Tarry at the first Ilford South Business Awards - Credit: Paul Leo Shears

The awards sponsors also included Costa Coffee, Faroz Restaurant, Nusound Radio, East London Radio, Salma’s Hair Studio, Goldex Essex, Kenson Civils & Highways, Paul Fox Photography, HSBC, Metro Bank, Digipix Ilford, Exchange Ilford, Weiningers, and UK Protek. 

Cyril Bekoe, manager of Ilford BID, said there is an opportunity to "go larger" for next year, with more categories.