HOTEL operator Auchrannie Leisure was a double winner at The Herald’s inaugural Scottish Family Business Awards last night.  The Arran company triumphed in the rural family business and customer service excellence categories at the black tie event, which attracted around 200 people to the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.

The judges were impressed at how the island company retains a large workforce all year round in order to provide the best experience for guests to the hotels, self-catering lodges, restaurants, leisure facilities and spa.

Another firm to catch the judges’ eye in more than one area was Kelso country clothing specialist A Hume (Outfitters).

The retailer – which stocks brands Barbour, Loake and Peter Scott – picked up fastest-growing family business and the small/medium family business of the year, showing how a strong focus can help a firm thrive even in a tough sector.

Funeral director Anderson Maguire, which has several sites across Glasgow, received a commendation from the judges in the small/medium category.

Edinburgh based Apex Hotels, founded by Norman Springford, was named large family business of the year. Since starting with one property in Edinburgh in 1996, it has expanded steadily and now has four sites across the Scottish capital, three in London and one in Dundee.

Education specialist TeeJay Publishers, which has its headquarters in Glasgow, took the business innovation prize, and laminated material manufacturer Rearo was commended by the judges.

Law firm Macdonald Henderson was named leading adviser to family businesses.

The international growth award was won by Ayrshire engineering business Booth Welsh, which judges praised for its ambitious export strategy.

Coatbridge’s Patersons Quarries won the commitment to the community category, with the Ardardan Estate receiving a commendation from the judges.

The event – run in association with Business Gateway and supported by the Scottish Family Business Association, RBS, Craig Corporate and the Grand Central Hotel – also saw Donald Munro, partner at law firm Harper Macleod, given a special chairman’s award for his contribution to advising family-owned firms.

The judging panel comprised Tom Craig, chairman of Craig Corporate, Hugh Lightbody, chief officer at Business Gateway, Danny Bulloch, a Glasgow-based area director of business banking at RBS, plus The Herald’s business editor Ian McConnell and group business correspondent Mark Williamson.

Mr Lightbody said: “Family businesses play a vital role in the Scottish economy and I am delighted their achievements have been recognised in the inaugural Herald Family Business Awards.

“The participating companies, which represented a number of industry sectors, were of the highest calibre and my congratulations go to all the winners.”

Mr McConnell said: “I would like to congratulate all the winners, and those who were commended and shortlisted, and thank all those family businesses which entered.

“Many of the categories were hotly contested, and I was delighted to judge entries from so many high-quality companies in the first year of the Scottish Family Business Awards.”