Cork Business of the Year 2020 Winners!

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

CORK BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD

LARGE CATEGORY

Kilkenny Design – In response to the challenges facing retail in 2020, Kilkenny Design launched the Champion Green movement to drive the recovery of SME businesses, an initiative that was adopted nationwide.  Their Green Friday campaign, an alternative to Black Friday launched in 2019, also became mainstream in 2020, while Kilkennyshop.com grew significantly during this time.  Kilkenny Design has 3 shops, a restaurant, a national warehouse and offices based in Cork and is led by Cork business-woman Marian O Gorman, who is on the board of many Cork initiatives.  It is the largest retail champion of Irish design and craft, representing over 250 Irish designers and makers nationwide.

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CORK BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD

SME CATEGORY

Diana O’ Mahony Jewellers - The family run Diana O’ Mahony Jewellers, run by Ronan and Mary Kennedy, is celebrating 40 years on Winthrop Street this year and has been a Cork business staple since 1978. Dealing in antique jewellery, they are also the only retailer dealing in antique silver in the city. The store is always staffed by a family member, and you are guaranteed an authentic local Cork welcome. The retailer has responded to many challenges over the years from flooding to Covid-19 and they continue to show resilience, to reinvent and innovate. The Kennedys recently invested in redecorating their premises, they launched a new ecommerce website, and they are committed to improving their street scape and supporting other businesses in the community.

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BEST IN RETAIL

 

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KILKENNY DESIGN

Kilkenny Design – In response to the challenges facing retail in 2020, Kilkenny Design launched the Champion Green movement to drive the recovery of SME businesses, an initiative that was adopted nationwide.  Their Green Friday campaign, an alternative to Black Friday launched in 2019, also became mainstream in 2020, while Kilkennyshop.com grew significantly during this time.  Kilkenny Design has 3 shops, a restaurant, a national warehouse and offices based in Cork and is led by Cork business-woman Marian O Gorman, who is on the board of many Cork initiatives.  It is the largest retail champion of Irish design and craft, representing over 250 Irish designers and makers nationwide.

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BEST HOTEL

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THE MONTENOTTE HOTEL

The Montenotte Hotel –The family-owned destination city resort, The Montenotte, goes from strength to strength each year.  In 2020, the owners continued to invest in the premises and the management team innovated its offering.  They installed a new look heated ‘Panorama Botanical Terrace’, created by designer Jane Galloway, to encourage al fresco dining, and a new rooftop terrace for guests.  The Montenotte was also one of the first hotels locally to diversify into a click and collect model, and they donated €5 from every afternoon tea order to Our Hospital Heroes at The Mercy Hospital Foundation during the first lockdown.

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BEST RESTAURANT

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THE GLASS CURTAIN

The Glass Curtain – Located in the Old Thompsons Bakery, which was once a culinary institution and part of Cork’s DNA since 1826, The Glass Curtain showcases the amazing produce available here in Cork, while incorporating influences from around the world.  The Glass Curtain remodelled their offering in 2020 following lockdown and were the first restaurant in Cork to set up the “Finish At Home” service. This transition in business offering ensured that they were able to maintain 100% of their kitchen staff and 50% of service staff. In fact, this “At Home” service has increased the awareness of the business as the restaurant had just opened its doors in December 2019.

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BEST NEW BUSINESS

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THE DEAN CORK

The Dean Cork – The Dean Cork is a wonderful new asset to Cork and is the region’s first design led boutique hotel. The 6th floor of the fun and daring property is home to Sophie’s rooftop restaurant and bar, which boasts 360 degree views from the River Lee to the city skyline. 2020 was an extremely tough and challenging year for the hospitality industry, however nothing was going to stop The Dean Cork from opening its doors to the public in December 2020.

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BEST IN PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

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BREAKTHROUGH CANCER RESEARCH

Breakthrough Cancer Research- This Cork charity was established with the sole focus of pioneering cancer research throughout Ireland to improve cancer care and outcomes. To highlight the urgent need for more research and to recruit the next generation of doners nationally, they created The Shop that Nearly Wasn’t - a pop up shop in Temple Bar that was 100% stocked and staffed by cancer survivors – an initiative only possible because of cancer research.  Half of the shop remained empty to highlight that more funding and research is needed to help improve survival rates.  Events were organised and celebrity ambassadors like Michael Flatley and David Norris lent their support, all of which drove immense media attention and established Breakthrough as a leading national charity.

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BEST FAMILY BUSINESS

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CORK VIENNA WOODS HOTEL

Cork’s Vienna Woods  – Cork’s Vienna Woods, set in beautiful woodlands on the peak of Glanmire, is a listed country house with a rich dramatic history has been uniquely preserved.  Since taking ownership in 2006, Michael Magner, his family and his team have worked tirelessly and invested significantly in rebuilding the property and offering.  It is now known for fairy-tale weddings, spectacular corporate events and an award-winning restaurant. In 2020 during the first lockdown, the Magners bravely invested a further €500k in a new ‘Glass Room’ conservatory space and a private dining room with its own kitchen, a first for Cork.  The team at Vienna Woods is committed to driving tourism in Cork and to supporting local, from sourcing local produce to hiring locally.

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BEST IN DIGITAL

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FOTA ISLAND RESORT

Fota Island Resort - Nestled at the heart of a tranquil island on a 780acre estate, Fota Island Resort with its breath-taking scenery and leafy woodlands is an idyllic location. In 2020, Fota digitalised as many services for guests as possible as part of their innovative new safety procedures.  They also increased engagement with customers on digital platforms when they were closed with a virtual Easter Egg hunt, an online Halloween RiddleQuest, and various classes including recipe demonstrations, at home spa treatments, and fitness classes. Staff were offered virtual at home care, including at home facials and fitness, in addition to online upskilling opportunities.  Fota’s lodges also remained open to provide accommodation for essential travel.

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BEST CORK CAFÉ

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IZZ CAFÉ

IZZ Café- This award-winning Palestinian café, which opened in 2019, is run by husband and wife team Izz and Eman Alkarajeh.  The couple epitomise spirit in the face of adversity having overcome the odds of moving to a new country, learning a new language, and spending time in Direct Provision. Despite being directly impacted by Covid closures, they showed enormous generosity supplying healthcare workers with free food and donated in excess of 500 free face masks to the public.  In their 2 years of opening they have attracted praise from a number of high profile food critics including McKenna Food guide and Darina and Rachel Allen.

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BEST CORK VFI PUB

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CLANCY’S BAR & RESTAURANT

Clancy’s Bar and Restaurant – Clancy’s Bar and Restaurant is one of Cork’s oldest pubs dating back to 1824 and is a landmark in Cork City. Located on Princes Street, Clancy’s was completely renovated and reopened in 2019, and it is now a key dining attraction in the city. In response to Covid 19 restrictions, Clancy’s was one of main traders who came together to pedestrianise Princes Street and create Cork’s newest outdoor dining tourism experience. The owners also took the brave step and further developed the building by creating a unique roof top garden in addition to more interior works, to ensure the safety of both customer and staff. The business employs a team of 80 employees and they are committed to a strong community presence.

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BEST IN TOURISM, ARTS & EVENTS

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PRINCES STREET EAT ON THE STREET

Princes Street Eat on the Street – Princes Street Eat on the Street is a project inspired by the resilience of restaurants, stakeholders and Cork City Council working together. In response to Covid-19 restrictions, traders came together to pedestrianise Princes Street and reimagine it as Cork’s newest outdoor dining tourism experience.  The positive impact of this initiative has seen the project mirrored in other parts of Cork and indeed throughout the Country.  The transformation of Princes Street has without doubt been one of the stand-out responses to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and demonstrates true community spirit and commitment to business in Cork.

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THE SPECIAL RESILIENCE & INNOVATION AWARD

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EVENT PLAN

Event Plan- Event Plan, a leading Cork-based conference and event management company, was one of the first in the country to adapt their events business model following the devastation brought to the sector by the Covid-19 pandemic. The creative team, who used to work on high profile events like the National Ploughing Championships and UCC’s CUBS Conference, quickly diversified by collaborating with audio visual and digital specialists CAVS to establish Munster’s first virtual events studio, VE Studio Cork.

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CHAMPION OF CORK AWARD

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PROF. MARY HORGAN

Professor Mary Horgan is nominated for her outstanding contribution to health care, in particular for her role in the Covid-19 pandemic. She was quoted recently by The Irish Examiner as one of the ‘Women changing Ireland today’. Professor Horgan is President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, the first woman President since 1654 and the first Cork-based person since 1818.  She is a consultant in Infectious Diseases at Cork University Hospital, is a member of NPHET, is on the advisory board of the GAA COVID committee, and the World Rugby Return to play strategy.  Professor Horgan is also Chairperson of the National Research Ethics Committee for COVID19, is a member of the Report for Rapid Testing COVID19 for the Minister for Health, is a Professor in the UCC School of Medicine, and is former Dean of Medical School in UCC.  She is a role model for women in health and a fantastic ambassador for Cork.