Scotland’s finest family firms in spotlight at Herald awards night

The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards 2021, The Crown Plaza Hotel, Glasgow.
Now in their ninth year, The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards 2021 in association with Business Gateway continue to celebrate the success of the diverse, dynamic, and innovative family business sector, and the contribution which these firms make to the communities in which they operate and to the wider economy.
Picture shows Wholesale Domestic Bathrooms  – Winners of Fastest Growing Family Business Award – Supported by Business Gateway.
Photo Credit : Kirsty Anderson

A LONG-established family business that has seen turnover grow rapidly and staff numbers exceed 100, despite the restrictions of the pandemic, has carried off two titles in The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards supported by Business Gateway.

Wholesale Domestic Bathrooms, which has showrooms in Hillington and Aberdeen, as well as a new showroom launched just two months ago in Edinburgh, last night received the Fastest Growing Business Award.

It also picked up the Next Generation Award for the work of chief executive Brian Toward in restructuring the business during the pandemic, transforming its digital presence, investing in customer support and staff development, and securing London as the company’s biggest market after Glasgow.

It was an impressive achievement by a Glasgow-based company that was one of the highlights of an awards ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow that saw the spotlight on excellence in leadership, performance, and results in companies across Scotland.

The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards attracted entries from a breadth of sectors and revealed the innovative processes being carried out by those companies that are taking the legacies built up by earlier generations and reshaping them to exceed the demands of 21st-century customers.

Among them was another double winner, Mackie’s of Scotland, which was named both Scottish Family Business of the Year (Medium) as well as Green Family Business of the Year for its “sky to scoop” process that uses solar and wind energy to produce the ice cream that it makes on its farm in Aberdeenshire.

Set up by Maitland Mackie in 1912, the company is now run by the fifth-generation members of the family who have transformed it into one of Scotland’s top 10 food brands, while at the same time reducing greatly its carbon footprint.

From the Scottish Family Business of the Year Award (Small) given to Brewster Bros, which makes high-quality recycled aggregates from construction waste, to the Customer Service Excellence Award received by Dornoch Caravan & Camping Park, for the way in which it has transformed its facilities and services to meet the demands of the huge rise in staycations, each of the winners demonstrated a dedication to innovation that impressed the judges.

Other winners included Stag Bakeries from Lewis, which won the Commitment to the Community title for its ongoing relationship with staff and customers in the Outer Hebrides – despite growing UK and international sales.

And there was another win for the Hebrides in the Rural Family Business of the Year category, supported by Family Business Solutions Ltd, which went to MacInnes Bros, a civil engineer and construction contractor based in Benbecula which has delivered large infrastructure projects across the Highlands and Islands.

The Business Innovation Award was won by whisky firm Douglas Laing & Co, which is investing heavily in its existing warehousing, bottling and production facilities as well as its new Clutha Distillery at Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

Other winners on the night were Connelly Security Systems, which was named Scottish Family Business of the Year (Large) in a category supported by Azets UK. Established in Ayr in 1989, CSS has bases across the central belt and is responsible for the safety and security systems of thousands of homes, offices and industrial premises across Scotland.

Glasgow-based Allied Vehicles, which specialises in adapted and special purpose vehicles, won the International Growth Award for the contracts it has built up across Europe.

And the final award of the night, for Outstanding Contribution, supported by Strathclyde Business School, went to Alastair Macphie, chairman of Macphie of Glenbervie, the Stonehaven-based ingredients supplier which has been serving the food manufacturing industry since the 1970s.

Hugh Lightbody, chief officer of the National Unit at Business Gateway, said: “These awards highlight the health of the family business community across Scotland and demonstrate that it really is the backbone of economic activity in this country.”

John Anderson, head of SME growth and board development at Strathclyde Business School, said: “Family businesses are the original responsible businesses.

“The level of innovation and investment demonstrated by the winners was hugely impressive.”

Graham Cunning, corporate finance partner at Azets, said: “It was an evening of celebration for family businesses across Scotland who have showcased ongoing commitment, ambition, and determination.

“Family businesses make a vital contribution to the Scottish economy.”

Billy Andrew, consultant at Family Business Solutions Ltd, said: “The experiences and insights shared here spotlights the potential and opportunity within family businesses, and the immense contribution they make to our economy and society.”