Gatwards are over the moon to pick up two new awards this September. Here's what was said about our wins:
Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards: Family Business of the Year 2021
Historic family jewellers scoops Family Business of the Year title at ‘magical’ Chamber of Commerce ceremony
The UK’s oldest family jewellers is celebrating after picking up a top accolade at Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce’s business awards ceremony.
Gatwards of Hitchin – established in 1760 – was the winner in the Family Business of the Year category at the 10th Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards, which took place this year at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden – the home of Harry Potter.
Held to celebrate the achievements and contribution of the county’s businesses and charitable organisations, the glittering awards ceremony celebrated the winners of 21 categories, which included Most Promising New Business, The Green Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, and Best Use of Technology.
Charlotte Gatward, Managing Director from Gatwards of Hitchin, said: We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic team who have helped us steer the business through the huge challenges of the pandemic and our loyal customers without whom we would not still be here today.
Briege Leahy, CEO of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Local businesses, large and small, are at the heart of the growth of our county and our annual awards ceremony is an opportunity to recognise business leaders’ hard work, innovation and contribution to Hertfordshire.
“This is an outstanding family business, demonstrating new and innovative ideas to continue the growth and prosperity of one of the UK’s oldest family-run jewellery businesses, whilst keeping their customers at the heart of what they do. A well-deserved winner!”
Accolades were handed out to companies of varying sizes, while the challenges faced by the business community over the last year were recognised with the Hertfordshire Heroes awards. These were given to a business, an individual or a charity which went above and beyond during the pandemic.
The ceremony, which took place on September 9th, was attended by a number of local dignitaries, including the Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE CStJ, the Mayor of Watford, the Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and prominent business leaders.
Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, recently named the fastest growing Chamber in the UK by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), has continued to support its members as businesses navigated the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Lloyds Bank Small Business of 2021 Awards: Winner
Celebrating 260 Years’ of sparkle: Historic Hertfordshire firm takes national award
A Hertfordshire jeweller that has been run by the same family for eight generations has been handed a national business award after its moves to modernise helped it power through the pandemic.
Gatwards Of Hitchin first opened its doors in the town in 1760 and has been supplying the sparkle at special occasions ever since.
Currently led by director Charlotte Gatward, the business was originally a watch and clock maker and is today recognised as the oldest family jewellers in the UK.
That was a responsibility felt heavily by Charlotte during the pandemic, who was determined the firm would continue to survive and thrive.
That meant ramping up their online offer, marketing the business through social media, offering virtual consultations via video call and recruiting a goldsmith to offer in-house jewellery repairs for the first time.
Charlotte says that lockdown has accelerated the modernisation of the business, which has eight staff, though it will continue to provide the traditional in-store experience that its customers have enjoyed for centuries.
Now Gatwards of Hitchin has been named a winner in the Lloyds Bank Small Business of 2021 awards, which celebrate small businesses across the UK, in recognition of how creatively and quickly it adapted to the challenges of the last year, and how it went over and above expectations.
Charlotte said: “I’m very proud of the business, but I also feel a great sense of duty.
“I am the custodian of the family firm for the next generation and the onus is on me to make sure it remains a success for many more years to come.
“Many of our customers have been coming to us for generations too.
“During lockdown we have really grown as a business and we are now seeing lots of pent-up demand returning.
“We’ve had to be nimble to respond to all the challenges and now we are a business with a great history, that’s also fit for the future too.”
The prize is a mentoring session with Tamara Lohan MBE, co-founder of the boutique hotel travel specialists Mr & Mrs Smith, who will help Charlotte find new growth opportunities.
Gareth Oakley, managing director of business banking at Lloyds Bank, said: “Not many businesses can boast a pedigree like Gatwards of Hitchin.
“But faced with an unprecedented event like the pandemic, Charlotte was quick to realise that the business couldn’t just rely on its reputation.
“She has taken some brave decisions, showing ambition and tenacity to secure a bright future for this historic family firm.”