Sale and Maffra businesses have been named 2022 Gippsland Business Award finalists.

Sale companies Motel 24seven & Apartments, Summit Health and Performance, Elvas Hairdressing, Scarlet & Grace, Port of Sale Heritage Cruises and Siesta Central Apartments, and Designer Cabinetry from Maffra, were the finalists.

The Federation University Gippsland Business Awards are the leading business prizes in the region, highlighting the successful efforts of local Gippsland businesses.

Gippsland Business Awards committee chairperson, Graeme Sennett, said following the cancellation of the 2020 awards and virtual presentation of the 2021 awards, this year’s face-to-face awards would be an “extra special” occasion.

Mr Sennett said once again, Gippsland businesses had shown their ability to change and adapt in unprecedented times, with this year’s awards attracting a wide range of outstanding entries.

“Never before have we seen such a diverse range of finalists,” he said.

“Usually, a large portion of applicants are from the larger Gippsland hubs, like Bairnsdale and Traralgon. This year, we saw a significant increase of applicants from further away, from places on the outer rim of Gippsland.

“The fact there were entries from every part of Gippsland shows how our small to medium businesses continue to grow and develop despite recent challenges.”

Mr Sennett said it was fantastic to see small businesses persevere and succeed.

“It is wonderful to know that people still have dreams for the future despite all the hardships they have been through,” he said.

“This year, the judging process has again been extremely difficult, with many outstanding entries vying for finalist status. We have particularly been blown away by our New Business category, which attracted a huge field of entries, all of a high standard.”

Mr Sennett said the Gippsland Business Awards allowed businesses to reflect on what they had achieved and what they needed to do to continue growing.

“It is also an opportunity for businesses to recognise and appreciate their staff’s effort and, of course, promote tourism to the Gippsland region,” he said.

“Overall, I think it is so important that we celebrate success, especially when there is so much negativity and bad things happening in the world.”

With six local businesses, Sale has the second-highest number of finalists, behind Traralgon with eight.

The awards night is on Friday, August 26 at Federation University’s Gippsland campus.

The 43 finalists across 11 industry and specialist categories will attend the gala presentation, where the winners of each category will be announced.

The 2022 Gippsland Business Awards categories include Accommodation, Beauty and Personal Care, Business and Professional Services, Food & Wine Producers, Health and Wellbeing, Hospitality, Manufacturing/Export, Mechanical Trades and Construction, New Business, Retail, Tourism Activities and Attractions.

1. Port of Sale Heritage Cruises

Alan Lewis, Port of Sale Heritage Cruises founder and owner of the Rubeena, has been nominated for a tourism award in the Gippsland Business Awards.

REPRESENTING the city of Sale in the Tourism Activities and Attractions category is Port of Sale Heritage Cruises, run by 80-year-old Alan Lewis.

Mr Lewis moved to Sale in 1968, where he was city engineer, town planner and engineer for water supply at Wellington Shire Council until 1985.

After retiring, Mr Lewis was keen for something to do, so in 2013 he bought the Rubeena from a seller in Lake Tyers and, with the help of his daughter Rachel, established Port of Sale Heritage Cruises.

“I just wanted something to fill my time,” Mr Lewis chuckled.

“I wanted to do something that would put Sale on the map and draw in tourism. We have such an asset here in the river, wetlands, lakes, and history.”

Since establishing the Port of Sale Heritage Cruises, more than 32,000 passengers have climbed aboard the 112-year-old Rubeena to discover the bountiful natural wonders surrounding the City of Sale and learn of the region’s deep history.

With the number of patrons boarding the Rubeena down 60 per cent following COVID, Mr Lewis completed the application for the 2022 Gippsland Business Awards hoping to attract more tourists to the Port of Sale Heritage Cruises and the Sale region.

A first-time Gippsland Business Awards applicant, Port of Sale Heritage Cruises will join this year’s finalists at the gala presentation night.

Mr Lewis hopes to add a 2022 Gippsland Business Award to the Port of Sale Heritage Cruises collection, alongside the 2019 Central Gippsland Business Award.

2. Summit Health and Performance

Dr Eden Mogridge, Director of Summit Health and Performance Centre.

SUMMIT Health and Performance Centre was opened in August 2020 by locals Dr Eden Mogridge and Dr Mitchell Dowse.

The company is a finalist in the 2022 Gippsland Business Award New Business category.

Not long out of university and working at McMillian Chiropractic Centre, Dr Mogridge and Dr Dowse were eager to branch out and create a modern chiropractic practice that reflected their values, interests and passions.

“I was only at McMillan (Chiropractic Centre) for a year and a few months. Dr Dowse was there for a year on top of that,” Dr Mogridge said.

“One day, we were talking when our paths happened to cross, and we resonated with what each other wanted to do, what we thought was holding us back and what we were lacking, so we thought ‘why not do it while we’re young?’

“It was big; I didn’t expect to open somewhere when I was 24, and Mitch is only four years older than me, so he was 28,” Dr Mogridge added.

Opening a new business at the pandemic’s peak wasn’t an easy start for the young doctors.

“Lockdown was challenging .. me and Mitch were able to continue working, looking after urgent-care patients only, but we couldn’t staff anyone else, and that was tough,” Dr Mogridge said.

“It is so devastating to see some of the places which had to close their doors. I think we were very lucky because we are in health care, and that’s probably what it came down to at the end of the day.”

Through the challenges and hardships, Dr Mogridge and Dr Dowse prevailed, and today, six members make up the team at Summit Health and Performance Centre.

Dr Mogridge and Dr Dowse are chiropractors, and Summit Health and Performance Centre’s directors, who work alongside remedial massage therapist Jordan Frend, exercise and rehabilitation specialist Sarah Vranek, and occupational therapist Lucy Dowse. Amie Howard works in administration.

“There are so many new businesses out there, so we are pretty stoked to even make it as a finalist,” Dr Mogridge said.

“In our category, there is such an array of different types of businesses, so it’s not even like we are going up against other health care places.”

3. Elva’s Hairdressing

Elva’s Hairdressing staff Bree Shields, Estelle Carroll, Tegan Smith, (front) Ella Forsyth, Keeley van Ekeren and Sophie Green will be gunning to win the Beauty and Personal Care category at the Gippsland Business Awards.
Photos: Zoe Askew

ELVA’S Hairdressing is representing Sale in the Beauty and Personal Care category.

In 1966, Elva Gannon established Elva’s Hairdressing on Foster Street.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Estelle Carroll began her career in hairdressing at Elva’s in 1997.

Working through the era of baby bangs, butterfly clips, chunky highlights and pompadours, Mrs Carroll bought the salon from her mother in 2003.

Elva’s Hairdressing is one of the longest-standing and operating hair salons in Sale. Highly rated across various internet platforms, including Google, Facebook and Word of Mouth, it does not surprise that this Sale business is a Gippsland Business Award finalist.

Saloon owner Estelle Carroll and manager Bree Shields, the leaders of Elva’s close-knit team of six, feel being finalists acknowledges their ambitions and achievements.

“Our business is acknowledged in the business industry, not just in Sale or the hair and beauty industry,” Mrs Carroll said.

Elva’s administration specialist Tegan Smith chimed in from across the room “We were also (Gippsland Business Award) finalists in 2018 as well,” pointing to the certificate on the wall.

While Mrs Carroll and Miss Shields have high hopes to win this year’s Gippsland Business Awards, their focus remains making an impact in the hairdressing industry, particularly in training, development and creating more stylists.

“We have a huge emphasis on employing apprentices, which we focus on nurturing and helping them grow throughout their training,” Mrs Carroll said.

“In a broader sense, in our industry, there has been a skills shortage.

“That is because there hasn’t been continuous training of new team members coming through, which is why we are really focused on implementing individual training plans and team training plans so that there is a clear training focus.

“We are excited about having apprentices come through with their new enthusiasm, and to help them grow and develop in their career.”

The lovely ladies from Elva’s will attend this year’s Gippsland Business Awards gala presentation night, looking fabulous no doubt.

4. Scarlet & Grace

James Clancy, one of the founders of Sale business Scarlett and Grace.

IS the third time a charm for Scarlet & Grace?

After two years of being named a Gippsland Business Awards finalist, falling short each time, will 2022 finally see Sale’s best-smelling business take home a win?

Local brothers James and Ryan Clancy founded the home fragrance and body care business in 2016.

Scarlett O’Hara and Grace Kelly inspired the name Scarlet & Grace as James Clancy says they were two beautiful, encapsulating women, who led fascinating lives.

Ryan and James Clancy grew up in a house abundant with beautiful, tantalising smells.

Six years ago, upon returning home from a family holiday, the Clancy brothers had made an unexpected life trajectory. They would leave their current jobs and create a range of products using 100 per cent Australian ingredients, designed to delight the senses and take you on a real sensory experience.

Just weeks before Christmas 2018, the first Scarlet & Grace products hit retail shelves.

Fast forward four years, the Clancy brothers have moved out of their shed into a factory and opened a chic storefront, selling products to more than 150 retailers across Australia and New Zealand.

But wait, there’s more!

“Expansion to the UK is happening as we speak,” James Clancy said.

“We’re expecting around October this year for products to hit the shelves in the UK and Ireland.”

Scarlet & Grace has gone from a backyard business to an international supplier in just six short years.

When the Clancy clan created Scarlet & Grace, today’s successes were merely dreams.

“You always dream that (international markets and business success) would happen,” James said.

“But when you start off in a small little town, you definitely don’t expect it to happen.

“Especially not so quickly.

“It is very exciting.”

Being a family man with small children and a rapidly growing business, there is not always time for James Clancy to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. But, like all worthwhile goals in life, running the successful Sarclet & Grace poses its challenges.

“It is hard to balance things at times,” he said.

“When we are busy, it can be very difficult; long hours, little children.

“But being a family-run business, with my wife April, my brother, his wife Kaitlyn and mum and dad, we all chip in where we can.”

The Clancy clan are thrilled to be a 2022 Gippsland Business Awards manufacturing and export finalist.

“Being a Gippsland Business Awards finalist is great!” James Clancy said.

“We’ve actually been finalists three years in a row now.

“There are so many great businesses out there, and not just in manufacturing and exporting, that are doing amazing things, so to win would be excellent.”

5. Siesta Central Apartments

The tight-knit team at Siesta Central Apartments Nicole Ronan, Luiz Ribeino, Tom Moulton, Chellce-Alice Ward, Sueann Black, Zaine Shiels Baker, Matt Munn, (front) Lyn Rigney, Tracey Geard and Rochelle Kluytmans.

IN 2016, Sale brothers Tom and Richard Moulton played Russian Roulette with their professions, jumping ship from property managers to proprietors, purchasing Siesta Central Apartments on York Street.

“As property evaluators, we saw the place had potential,” Tom said.

“So we took the risk and have since completely refurbished what was an old, outdated motel into modern accommodation, leaning more towards service apartments.”

Despite no prior experience in accommodation, leaving Catholic College and heading straight into their career in property management, Tom and Richard have indeed established themselves as one of Sale’s most outstanding local businesses.

The Siesta Central Apartments are one of the 2022 Gippsland Business Awards Accommodation finalists.

The first-time Gippsland Business Awards finalists are up against Sale accommodation business Motel24seven & Apartments, South Gippsland’s Chapter Barn & Studio, Yarram Holiday Park, Beachcomber Holiday Units and Sandbar Motel – Lakes Entrance.

Tom Moulton is overjoyed to be a 2022 Gippsland Business Awards finalist.

“It is fantastic,” he said.

“We are just so fortunate to have such a great team here, especially after COVID, and for us being a finalist highlights, acknowledges and rewards the effort everyone has put in.”

The care and dedication the Moulton brothers have exercised to building their Siesta team is bleedingly obvious as the group radiates connection and contentment.

And for Tom and Richard, their efforts in providing the best working environment for their staff has paid off, with online reviews raving about Siesta’s wonderful staff and, of course, being named a 2022 Gippsland Business Awards finalist.

6. Motel24seven & Apartments

John Seton, owner of Motel24seven & Apartments, and a 2022 Gippsland Business Awards Accommodation finalist.

THE walls of Motel24seven & Apartments are replete with awards: 2019 Central Gippsland Tourism Business Award Winner, 2018 Loved by Guests Award, 2020 Traveller Review Award. All that’s missing is a 2022 Gippsland Business Award.

With a 9.2/10 rating on, spacious modern rooms fitted with large flat-screen TVs, a 24hr automated check-in kiosk, Netflix, free wi-fi and boasting a beautiful garden landscape, it’s no surprise that Motel24seven & Apartments are 2022 Gippsland Business Awards Accommodation finalists.

John Seton bought the business in February 2016, and it came with a bad reputation.

“It was known as the worst spot in town,” he said.

“But I saw the potential, it is on a great bit of land, and the gardens are beautiful, plus it is right on the highway. You know what they say – buy the worst house in the best street.”

Putting his handyman skills to work, with some outside help, Mr Seton transformed the once dilapidated highway motel into modern, comfortable, affordable accommodation.

“We are always striving for new and better things,” Mr Seton said.

“Since 2016, we have completely changed the place. New paint, carpets; we completely gutted all the bathrooms and started over; new beds, furniture, everything.

“You have to stay updated, that is why we installed the 24hr automated check-in kiosk. We were the first place in town to offer free wi-fi and Netflix.

“We really strive to be different and offer guests a comfortable, affordable stay.”

Motel24seven & Apartments is a family-run business with John Seton at the head of the table next to his partner Anita Claridge and his parents, Colin and Helen Seton.

“I am really happy to be recognised for this award,” Mr Seton said.

“Being a Gippsland Business Awards finalist is a fantastic achievement for any business.”