VIDEO: Dressed for Success awards

Almost 140 of Horsham’s retailers and key stakeholders of the local business community gathered at South Lodge Hotel on Tuesday (January 15) to learn who the winners were of the ‘2012 Horsham Unlimited Dressed for Success Business Awards’.

The evening was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of South Lodge Hotel, local property owners, Paul Montalto and Steve Martin, Stay Safe Driving School, Marks & Spencer and lead sponsor Spofforths LLP chartered accountants.

Dressed for Success Awards 2013

Dressed for Success Awards 2013

This was the third year of the programme initiated by Horsham Unlimited – Horsham’s town centre businesspartnership of which Horsham District Council is a part - which focuses on promoting the town, running window

dressing training sessions for businesses, plus public competitions to highlight individual businesses and the town’s uniqueness over the festive period.

There were presentations from Donna Camera, owner of La Vida Boutique of Piries Place, who inspired the audience by with her approach to business and passion while retail consultants Metamorphosis gave some fascinating advice on how to create, perfect and innovate window displays.

Representatives from local businesses attended the event along with sponsors, partners, Horsham market traders, Neighbourhood Councils and representatives from Horsham Unlimited and Horsham District Council.

Eleven awards were handed out for the most voted for Christmas displays during the evening with Woodlands Estate Agents picking up the Best Property Agent for the second year running (sponsored by Crickmay Chartered

Surveyors), Accessorize Accessorize winning Best Fashion (sponsored by Heart) and Park Place newcomers, Pretty Things winning Best Restaurant, Café, Pub or Bar (sponsored by the West Sussex County Times).

Horsham Museum & Art Gallery won the Best Non-Retail prize (sponsored by Central Sussex College) while another newcomer, this time from the Carfax, The Linen Shop & Gallery won Best Independent (sponsored by The District Post and Visit Horsham).

La Source, East Street picked up the Quirkiest prize (sponsored by Sussex Life) and The Most Voted For prize went to West Street’s C & H Fabrics (sponsored by Spofforths Chartered Accountants).

Horsham Market’s best stall display awards were sponsored by Horsham Neighbourhood Councils – Denne,Forest and Trafalgar - with the following successful winners: 1st place – Forget Me Not Plants, 2nd place – The

Hungry Guest and 3rd place - Wimblehurst Chocolates.

A new element for this year was ‘Dressed for Web Success’, introduced with a presentation from Josh Packham of Hexiweb and Anthony Stonham of Local Market Place, with Crompton’s at The Olive Branch winning as decided by the audience.

Throughout November and December, public votes were flooding in by post and on Facebook, highlighting how supportive people were of the efforts that local businesses were putting into making their window displays and the town more ‘Christmassy’.

Members of the public could win prizes if they voted, with a Sony 22” LED TV courtesy of Swan Walk’s Sony Centre and a UK Weekend Break for two from West Street’s Thomas Cook on offer.

Close to 1,000 members of the public voted for their favourite business window between November 17 and December 24, 2012.

The lead sponsor of the campaign was Spofforths Chartered Accountant - its generous sponsorship allowing several businesses to sign up to a subsidised window dressing coaching session with retail consultants, Metamorphosis.

Sarah Ediss, a partner at Spofforths, said: “Spofforths really enjoyed being involved with the Christmas windows campaign and meeting the retailers who took part.

“The awards ceremony was a great occasion with many Horsham retailers receiving the recognition they deserve.

“They created some wonderful shop windows over the festive period making the town a great shopping destination.

“The campaign enabled retailers and sponsors to work in partnership, which has proved so beneficial.”

Aside from the awards, the evening provided an invaluable opportunity for retailers to come together, networkand share best practice.

The Dressed for Success project is in its third year of a five year vision in which Horsham Unlimited is aiming to build Horsham’s reputation as the best place for shop window displays in the South.

Roger Paterson (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham), Horsham District Council’s cabinet member for the Local Economy, said: “What a great evening, and what a wonderful example of the depth of talent and marketing skills in Horsham’s

retail scene.

“It’s clear that the town has welcomed the challenge of creating the Regent Street of the South and why the results of this year’s Dressed for Success proved such a huge success.

“Many congratulations to all the winners!”

Speaking after the event, Horsham District Council’s cabinet member for Horsham Town, Communication and Special Projects, Helena Croft (Con, Roffey North), said: ““It was fantastic to see so many people attending the Dressed For Success Business Awards this year and there were some fascinating presentations from key members of Horsham’s business community.

“Dressed For Success is a great opportunity for businesses to get involved and get some useful advice on creating more inviting windows, and this can only be positive for Horsham town.”

For event pictures see tomorrow’s County Times (Thursday January 17).

What did you think of Horsham town centre this Christmas? Email

All images by Toby Philips -