Top entertainment venue scoops first prize.

Top entertainment venue scoops first prize.

Gravesham showed off its best businesses at the glitzy Gravesham Business Awards gala night at Woodville Halls on 20 April.

This is the first year of the new awards resulting in very competitive entries giving the judges a hard task. The diversity was also apparent.

Chair of judges Keith Mason of Barnes Roffe said: “The judges were very impressed with the quality of the applicants in this, the first year of the Gravesham Business Awards.

“The level of knowledge and commitment displayed by the owners was truly extraordinary and talking to them about their businesses was an absolute pleasure.”

Taking the overall prize was one of the UK’s most popular entertainment venues The Panic Room.

If you’ve ever wanted to take part in your own nerve-wracking detective film, or unravel puzzles with the clock ticking against you, then The Panic Room is the right venue.

In 60 minutes you have to work out clues, challenges and brainteasers situated around you so you can get out. It’s great teamwork for a staff or family outing

Established two years ago and with no funding, the company has taken off with amazing popularity and now employs a manager and 30 staff.

The owners say their business is different from so many others in that they never stop, never settle for less and are always looking for the next great opportunity.

Runner up was Austen Allen Homecare. Based in Northfleet and owned by Nina Allen, the company provides social care for Gravesham residents using experienced and highly trained health care professionals. Ongoing training is a key component of this successful business ensuring staff understands the minefield of government regulations.

The company is also developing a reablement service which will assist people who require intense support after being discharged from hospital after experiencing a stroke, fall or bone fracture breakages.

Third place went to the Revitalize Health and Fitness Clinic which offers osteopathic care for injuries and pain, personal training and sports massage therapy as well as supporting the public by providing free health and fitness advice.

The business has such a successful track record it outgrew its base and moved to premises at The Trocadero at 168 Windmill Street. This enabled an expansion to take place into boxing and employment of a new physiotherapist, yoga teacher and osteopath. Many of the clients are strongmen and women, athletes and well-known boxers.

A special People’s Choice Award went to Forget-me-not Vintage & Crafts. Owner Sarah Cheshire has become more than an entrepreneur. For the past three years her business has become a local community hub enjoying a regular customer base.

People love to browse through an array of items from a different era and Susan says the business is unique to Gravesend offering an amazing variety of vintage collectables and homewares as well as a leaning towards specialising in nautical and local history. Everything in the shop is very nostalgic which in turn keeps memories alive for all generations

Apprentice of the Year went to Elleese Mason of Orange Property Services.

Other finalists included; Evergreen Healthcare The Hollies, Gravesend Trophy Centre, Nick Building Contractors, Orange Property Services, Sealeys Estate Agent, Safia’s Beauty Bar, The Windmill Tavern and UCargo.

A raffle was held for the mayor’s charities comprising The Salvation Army, House of Mercy, We Are Beans and Ellenor Hospice raising £445.