Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cafe Weymouth enriches town’s catering menu

Excellent service, consistent quality, and a passion for the environment and local sourcing has been the recipe for success in The Channel Guesthouse on Weymouth seafront.

Having established themselves as entrepreneurial and forward-thinking, the Reays, who’ve run The Channel since 2008, now picked up the challenge of running a local cafe, which they renamed Cafe Weymouth.

Standing empty for months, including over the Olympics, the premises on Gloucester Street were in a sorry state. Chris and his mother Sandra decided the cafe needed an entirely fresh start, beginning with a new name.

“It’s a cafe and it’s in Weymouth,” explained Chris. The name also sits squarely with their approach to marketing their guesthouse. “We promote Weymouth,” said Chris. “That brings the guests to us, and also to our neighbours.”

Cafe Weymouth focuses on local trade

While their guesthouse business often draws in customers from overseas, the cafe’s target market is much closer to home. Despite having been open for only a few weeks, locals who work nearby have already become regular customers.

The appeal is easy to spot. The decor is fresh and bright, the furniture clean and simple. And environmentally friendly, Sandra is quick to point out. It’s made from rubberwood, trees that have already spent twenty years producing sap used in latex. With one commercial life over, they’ve been recycled into tables and chairs.

Being opposite the Park Street car park ensures a steady trickle of out of town customers. Others come because they have heard good things being said about what’s on offer.

A Dorset cafe serving Dorset fare

It’s the menu that often makes or breaks a cafe. At Cafe Weymouth, they seem to have cracked the challenge of serving food that’s produced very locally, while keeping prices extremely competitive.

Their Dorset breakfast, initially developed in the guesthouse, is a firm favourite. Eggs, bacon and sausages have all been carefully sourced from within the county. And they’ve made their selections carefully - Chris and Sandra are not afraid to call themselves foodies. If you want to add tomatoes and beans, that’s fine, but they’ll point out that neither of these come from Dorset.

For late risers, the Dorset Breakfast is served until 2pm. And for those who can’t be disconnected from the internet, the cafe offers free wifi.

This Dorset seaside town needs more businesses like The Channel Guesthouse and Cafe Weymouth. Businesses that are not afraid to promote affordable quality, and who are willing to link their own success closely to that of the town.

You can follow Cafe Weymouth on Twitter, where it's @Cafe_Wey.

Read more Dorset start-up and success stories

Monday, October 22, 2012

Open 4 Business Dorset is raising funds for RNLI

This year, the Open 4 Business Dorset Awards Ceremony and Dinner is raising funds for the RNLI. The dinner will be held on Thursday 25th October 2012 at Weymouth College and is sponsored by Albert Goodman Chartered Accountants. Tickets are available from [email protected], priced £60. 

Open 4 Business Dorset has raised over £5000 for local charities over the past 3 years at the annual Awards Ceremony and Dinner. Charities that have benefitted include Weldmar Hospicecare Trust, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and the Dorset County Hospital Mammography Appeal in 2011. 

This year Open 4 Business Dorset has chosen the RNLI – Weymouth Lifeboat - as the charity who will benefit.

Julie Cleaver, Managing Director of Open 4 Business Dorset said: “The Steering Group selected the RNLI as a charity which affects most people living and working in Dorset. In 2012 we have had two tragic events which took place in local Dorset waters, the loss of the Purbeck Isle fishing vessel and the powerboat tragedy. Both events brought the outstanding work of the RNLI into public view, and Open 4 Business Dorset recognise this as an essential charity to sponsor in 2012.”

A presentation will be made to the local lifeboat crew during November. Every pound raised during the Open 4 Business Awards Dinner will be matched by the Lloyds Bank Match Fund.

The Open 4 Business Dorset Awards Dinner and Ceremony promises to be an exciting evening where guests will enjoy a menu created by three local leading restaurants, HIX Oyster and Fish House, Yalbury Cottage and Sienna Dorchester. The chefs will work with the Weymouth College catering students to create and serve the dishes to over 180 guests.

A celebratory firework display will follow the dinner to mark the 10th anniversary of the Open 4 Business Festival. The Awards Ceremony will be opened by Liz Myles, the new principal of Weymouth College, the main sponsor of Open 4 Business Dorset 2012.

For more information please contact Julie Cleaver on [email protected]

Photo © Andrew Knowles.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bridport-based PR agency wins international business award

Stephen Banks, Emily Pykett and Sara Hudston
from Watershed PR at the Goldsmiths' Hall, London
  with the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin, worth $7.6m

Watershed PR in world business award win

A Pan-European campaign masterminded by Watershed PR has won one of the world’s top business awards. Watershed managed the UK launch of the 1933 Double Eagle tour on behalf of a client, the Samlerhuset Group, in March 2012.

The 1933 Double Eagle is the world’s most expensive gold coin and a legend in coin collecting circles. This famous object left its home at the Smithsonian Institution in America to take its first ever exhibition tour of Europe, visiting Samlerhuset companies in the UK, Eire, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Norway and Finland.

The 1933 Double Eagle has a face value of $20 dollars but is worth at least $7.6 million, and had to be chained to a security guard when it was not kept under lock and key in a bank vault. Watershed arranged for the coin to be securely escorted to TV studios in London where it appeared on prime-time programmes such as The One Show and BBC Breakfast.

Watershed’s press conference, held in the Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, sparked media frenzy. The tour generated a massive amount of media coverage in all seven countries and the USA, excited thousands to go and see this fabulous US national treasure and demonstrated how innovative international partnerships between corporate and cultural sectors bring value to the world. Watershed built the 1933 Double Eagle website and set the template for the group’s social media strategy, which was rolled out across all its European offices.

In a related project, the Bridport-based PR agency also made the Samlerhuset Group’s corporate video, which is shown to employees at all its international headquarters.

The success of the 1933 Double Eagle tour resulted in the campaign winning a bronze Stevie® Award in the 9th Annual International Business Awards.

The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards programme. The 2012 IBAs received entries from more than 50 nations and territories. Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word for ‘crowned,’ the awards were presented to winners at a gala awards banquet at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Seoul, South Korea on 15 October.

More than 3,200 nominations from organisations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year. The Samlerhuset Group won bronze in the Communications or PR Campaign/Programme of the Year – Reputation/Brand Management category for the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin tour.

Sara Hudston, Principal of Watershed PR, said: ‘Watershed has a reputation for punching above its weight and this award is another confirmation of our ability to provide top results. It’s great to be a small agency based in Dorset and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with big international firms.’

Peter Swanston, CEO of the Samlerhuset Group, said: ‘Samlerhuset aims to bring the joy of coin collecting to everyone. The 1933 Double Eagle tour was a unique event organized for a unique coin. Throughout Europe, those who knew about it before were amazed to see it; those who learnt about it for the first time were even more impressed. We are proud to have that achievement recognised with a Stevie Award.’

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Open 4 Business 2012 Conference in Weymouth

Platforms for Growth in Dorset is the 2012 Open 4 Business Conference and Exhibition, held at the Riviera Hotel, Weymouth, on 18th October.

The event is open to all, free of charge (if pre-registered), and businesses can attend either as a delegate or exhibitor. It starts at 9.30am and wraps up shortly before 5pm.

During the day keynote speakers will be sharing information and news relating to initiatives which will contribute to the future growth of the Dorset economy. New Jobs and Weymouth town centre regeneration plans will also be discussed.

The timetable for the conference is:

09h30        Registration and Refreshments

10h00        Exhibition opens 

10h15        Ian Doyle, Economic Regeneration Manager: Introduction to Platforms for Growth

10h45        Q&A and break

11h15        Peter Scott, Dorset LEP: Update and plans for future growth in  Dorset

11h45        Q&A and break

12h15        Rob Jones, Weymouth College: Apprenticeships and Work based learning

12h45        Q&A and break

13h15        Matthew Butcher, WSX Enterprises: Business Development in Dorset

13h45        Q&A and break

14h15        Nigel Reed, Chair of Weymouth BID: Dorset BID’s programme

14h45        Q&A and break

15h15        Nigel Jump, Senior Economist: Economic Impact and review 2012 and forecast

15h45        Q&A and break

16h15        Chris Hook, DCC: Cost Saving Transport Solutions

16h40        Close

For more information, visit the Open 4 Business website. Booking as a delegate or exhibitor is by email to [email protected]

Monday, October 8, 2012

The search begins for the best businesses in Dorset and the UK

The Federation of Small Businesses and Streamline launch new UK Business Awards

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Streamline have launched a new UK-wide business awards programme to promote and celebrate innovation and success in small businesses across the UK. The FSB Streamline UK Business Awards will run across 12 geographical areas around the UK, with area finalists selected to go through to a national final in April 2013.

Local businesses from across Wessex, Surrey, West Sussex, and Thames Valley are being invited to nominate themselves in four categories:

 · Business Innovation
 · Online Business of the Year
 · Micro Business of the Year
 · Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Four businesses (one for each category) from Wessex, Surrey, West Sussex, and Thames Valley will be selected by a panel of independent judges to go through to the national final. One of the four finalists will also be selected as winner and receive a cash prize of £500.

The Wessex, Surrey, West Sussex, and Thames Valley winner along with the three remaining category finalists will automatically be entered into the national final for their category, with £4,500 up for grabs for each national category winner. The judges will then select one overall business as winner of the FSB Streamline UK Business of the Year Award. The winner of this award will receive an additional £5,000, and a business consultancy package worth a further £5,000 to help them to grow their business.

The Business Innovation and Online Business of the Year awards are open to any UK registered businesses employing 250 people or less, whilst the Micro Business of the Year is open to any business that employs 10 employees or less. The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award is open to anyone aged 30 or under on 31st December 2012. Full details of the entry criteria and how to enter are available at www.fsbstreamlineawards.co.uk. The closing date for entries is 31st December 2012.

The Awards have been designed by the FSB and Streamline to raise the profile of small businesses across the UK and to highlight the crucial role that they are playing in kick-starting and supporting the UK economy in the current economic crisis.

Darren Wilson, Managing Director, Streamline said: “We know from our work with tens of thousands of small businesses around the UK that there are so many incredible, innovative and ambitious small businesses out there, making a massive contribution to their local economies. We want these awards to highlight these businesses, and to recognise and reward excellence and innovation within businesses and individuals.”

Neil Eames, Development Manager for the FSB Wessex Region, said: “As with everything that we do, these awards are designed to promote the interests of small businesses and entrepreneurs all over the UK. We are really looking forward to using this awards programme as an opportunity to identify and engage with some of the most innovative and successful small businesses in the UK.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Free car parking in Weymouth

Shoppers and visitors will be able to park cars for free in Weymouth every Sunday from 1 November 2012.

Overnight parking, from 6pm to 8am, will also be free.

Local businesses have been lobbying hard for this change, which was announced at the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on 2 October.

The news was broken by Chris Greaves of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, where it was greeted with a spontaneous round of applause from the 60 or so members and guests present.

It's hoped that the offer of free town centre parking will encourage more visitors to the town, bringing a welcome boost to local trade.

Privately owned car parks may still charge on Sundays and overnight, as will car parks controlled by the Crown Estates. This includes the Portland car parks at Chesil Beach, Portland Bill and Castletown. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Open 4 Business Dorset finalists line up

The judges outside Weymouth College
The finalists of the Open 4 Business Dorset Awards have been chosen at a closely contested judging session, held on Thursday 27th September at the Ocean Room, Weymouth Pavilion.

Entries for the awards were up 45% on 2011 and over three quarters of those entering were doing so for the very first time.

For the first time the awards are open to all firms in Dorset more than half the entries came from outside of the Weymouth & Portland area

The Open 4 Business Dorset Finalists

Small & Medium Business Award sponsored by Lloyds TSB
- Dorwest Herbs, Shipton Gorge
- Swift Signs, Weymouth

Best Large Business Award sponsored by Old Mill Financial
- New Look, Weymouth
- Daniel’s Fish and Chips, Weymouth

Best Community Engagement Project Award sponsored by Battens Solicitors
- Blondz, Weymouth
- The Marketing Bureau (TMB), Poole

Best New Business sponsored by Dorset LEP
- Food Lynx Ltd, Shaftesbury
- The Dining Room, Weymouth

The Best New Innovation or Service Award sponsored by SALT
- Odeoflare, Weymouth
- Innovative Vehicle Systems, Bere Regis

Best Marketing Campaign Award sponsored by Resort Marketing
- Marketing West, Beaminster
- Tandem Marketing, Dorchester

Best Employer Award sponsored by Wessex FM
- Createful, Bournemouth
- Dorchester Beauty Therapy and Skin Care Centre, Dorchester

Best Customer Focus Award sponsored by Puragen
- Chalbury Food & Wines, Weymouth
- Blondz, Dorchester

Best of Dorset Food and Drink Award sponsored by DJ Property
- The Dining Room, Weymouth
- Beaminster Brasserie at the Bridgehouse

Inspirational Young Person sponsored by Equation Accounting
- Elysia Munday, Weymouth
- Matthew Cornick, Weymouth
Business of the Year 2012  sponsored by Weymouth College
- Winner will be announced on 25 October at Award Ceremony

Outstanding Contribution to Business Award sponsored by Porter Dodson
- Winner will be announced on 25 October at Award Ceremony

Julie Cleaver, Managing Director of Open 4 Business, said “I would like to thank our main Sponsor Weymouth College and all of our Award Sponsors who made up the judging panel . The panel had to make extremely hard decisions when choosing between the record numbers of entries from all over Dorset.”

All the winners will be announced on 25 October.