Four wins for trio of firms in regional awards

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A trio of local firms were recognised at a regional business awards ceremony last week.

Fairies ’n’ Frogs, The Embankment and Bedfordshire Business Women were among the 14 firms to pick up prizes at The East of England Business Champions awards.

And Fairies ’n’ Frogs, which is based in Ampthill, was the only company to receive double recognition, by being named winner of the Best New Business category and runner-up for Service Excellence.

Store owner Luan Hall, a married mother-of-two, said: “I was a mum at home for ten years, and when my daughter started school other parents would talk about how they had to drive to Bedford or Luton or Milton Keynes for children’s toys. Even if it was for a party and they only wanted to spend £5 they still had to go all the way there.

“We sell mainly British toys, and a lot are wooden toys, and toys where children use their imagination. With battery-powered toys children just have to press a button and watch it - my emphasis is on learning through play.”

Luan puts her store’s success down to her customers, but she admits that this reflects her emphasis on customer service.

That service includes a Christmas wrapping service, a children’s wishlist facility for parties, and her charging below RRP on many of her products.

And the store will be open on the two Sundays before Christmas as well as on Christmas Eve, plus it will host a Santa’s grotto, with a booking system, on December 16.

Bedfordshire Business Women was runner-up in the Networking Group Of The Year category. The group was founded in 1988 as a not-for-profit network, and meets every month.

The Embankment pub was winner in the Service Excellence category.

The popular pub-restaurant has been transformed since it was taken over by the Peach Pub Company in 2008.