Cowra Veterinary Centre, Cafe Ruze big winners at Cowra Business Awards

Cowra Veterinary Centre has taken out the top gong at the 2021 Cowra Business Awards after being named the winner of the Excellence in Small Business award.

The centre also took home the Excellence in Rural Services Award.

Veterinarian Kellie Launders accepted the award on behalf of the Cowra Veterinary Centre team.

"Thank you so much to everybody, thank you to our sponsors and the Business Chamber and to our town," she said.

"We are so very blessed."

Kellie, alongside husband Peter, opened Cowra Veterinary Centre more than a decade ago after moving from Queensland.

"We really love our business and we really love Cowra," she said.

"We've raised our family here and built an amazing business that we're really proud of and we really feel like we're part of the community now.

"We've got a great team. We really love our job."

Cafe Ruze, owned by Will and Kylie Rue, also took home two awards - Excellence in Micro Business and Excellent in Hospitality and Tourism.

Will said it had been a challenging 12 months in the sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Last year was a very grueling, tough year," he said.

"We had to make a lot of changes, like change the business plan overnight literally."

Kylie said they managed to adapt to the ever-changing situation.

"We've been in the business nearly 30 years as a partnership, we've probably never seen a year like we've had this past year but we just knew that we had to adapt," she said.

"I think we went okay, we've kept all our staff over the last 12 months and we did what we did to try and come out the other side and help as many people as we could at the same time. We were delivering meals to the elderly to try and keep them safe at home.

"The finalists that were in this category are all extremely worthy winners so congratulations to every single person in this room."

This year's inductee onto the Cowra Business Chamber Honours Roll was Bob Griffiths, who was unable to attend the awards.

Speaking on his behalf, Cowra Rotary President Ian Docker noted Bob's continued involvement in Rotary, the Chor Farmer choir, the Seikei Exchange and Cowra Japanese Garden.

"For anyone who knows Bob, his whole life revolves around Cowra," he said.

"He's very honoured to receive this award."

Cowra Business Chamber President, Jordan Core, said it was a tough decision for the judges.

"Our judges have had a trying couple of weeks... I'd hate to be in their shoes," he said.

"Congratulations to all finalists tonight."

Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West said the evening was an opportunity to celebrate local business after a tough year.

"There was a tremendous fear in our community probably 12 months ago, we came through the drought... then suddenly this thing called COVID-19 landed. It created a great deal of concern, apprehension and fear," he said.

"Some of the businesses I know are still struggling but I know some businesses are doing quite well.

"Tonight is about recognising the good, the successful, the achievers."

The full list of winners are:

  • Alicia Ball | Outstanding Business Leader Award - Sponsored By Cowra Bowling and Recreation Club
  • Josh Gardiner | Outstanding Young Entrepreneur Award - Sponsored By Yellow House Cowra
  • Brother Fox Barbershop | Excellence In Employer Of Choice Award - Sponsored By Cladding Australia
  • Cafe Ruze | Excellence In Hospitality and Tourism Award - Sponsored By Elders Insurance Cowra and Young
  • Fly Oz | Excellence In Innovation Award - Sponsored By Imperial Hotel
  • St George Bank | Excellence In Professional Services Award - Sponsored By Skye & Co
  • Cowboy Guns & Gear | Excellence In Retail And Personal Services Award - Sponsored By Central NSW Business HQ
  • Cowra Veterinary Centre | Excellence In Rural Services Award - Sponsored By Raine & Horne Real Estate Cowra
  • Cowra Plaster Works | Excellence In Trade, Construction and Manufacturing Award - Sponsored By Fly Oz
  • Cowra Youth Council | Community Group Of The Year Award (Employee Led) - Sponsored By Cowra Guardian
  • Cowra Show Society | Community Group Of The Year Award (Volunteer Led) - Sponsored By Roccy FM
  • Tiffany Kent | Young Employee Of The Year - Sponsored By WIN Television
  • Cafe Ruze | Excellence In Micro Business Award - Sponsored By Cowra Council
  • Cowra Veterinary Centre | Excellence In Small Business Award - Sponsored By SWM Chartered Accountants
  • Bob Griffiths | Cowra Business Chamber Honours Roll - Sponsored By Bryants Glass and Windscreens