Keith Ellwood of Autosmart in Edinburgh was crowned as the Franchisee of the Year Gold Award Winner, as well as the Scotland and Northern Ireland Regional Winner, at the 2012 bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards, supported by Express Newspapers.
The judges were impressed with Keith’s determination and passion for his business, which has grown from strength to strength over the past 15 years. Over the last year, Keith has implemented innovative new systems to boost productivity, including investing in a new onboard computer system, a larger showroom and new payment methods. Not only have these systems contributed to an extremely successful business year for Keith, but they have also improved customer relationships.
Autosmart is now toasting double success following its win earlier this year at the bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year awards, achieving a rare scoop of both awards in the same year.
Keith said of his achievement: “Winning this award and receiving the recognition from the industry is a fantastic feeling. I really enjoy running my franchise, this year more so than ever, and I’m looking forward to building on this success with potential opportunities and driving my business forward.”
Cathryn Hayes, head of franchising at HSBC, commented: “This year’s finalists have clearly demonstrated a passion for their business – support from their franchisor and other franchisees in their network means that they are not in business alone which has allowed them to really focus on delivering excellent customer service, a common thread running through their stories. Keith demonstrated how tenacious customer relationship management can help shape business growth. His enthusiasm for his business is clear and his work over the past 12 months has propelled his business towards a phenomenal future.”
Also celebrating their achievements were:
Silver Award – Ron Mounsey, McDonald’s (Swansea)
Ron, who has been a McDonald’s franchisee for 14 years, was praised by the judges for his work within the community to address antisocial behaviour.
Bronze Award – Eve Kay, Jo Jingles (Frodsham, Cheshire)
Eve was honoured in recognition of her efforts in expanding the franchise across the whole North West region, in a difficult economic environment.
Sean Hammond, head of franchising at Express Newspapers, said: “It’s great to see so many enterprising franchisees come forward and showcase great business practice; we were blown away by the stories of the people behind the brands. Many congratulations to all of the individuals we have seen over the course of the awards who have set such a high business practice standard.”
Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, added: “Each year we are captivated by the stories that are showcased by franchisees. It’s brilliant that these awards can highlight such great ethical business practice among the industry and recognise the work of so many talented businesspeople.”
Keith took home £5,000, provided by HSBC, along with his title, while Ron and Eve won £3,000 and £2,000 respectively. The five regional winners, each taking away £500, were:
London and the South East: Gurpreet Bains, Driver Hire (London)
Scotland and Northern Ireland: Keith Ellwood, Autosmart (Edinburgh)
The Midlands and North Wales: Steven Prime, Esquires (Coventry)
The North: Eve Kay, Jo Jingles (Frodsham, Cheshire)
The South West and South Wales: Ron Mounsey, McDonald’s (Swansea)
Congratulations to all the finalists in what was an extremely competitive year for judging. We look forward to more exceptional stories next year!