Winners announced at 2021 NGINA Industry Awards

The winners of the 2021 Nursery and Garden NSW and ACT (NGINA) Industry Awards were announced at a sell-out gala celebration at Rydges Norwest. Hosted by ABC Presenter, Simon Marnie, the Awards recognised wholesale/production nurseries, retail nurseries, allied suppliers, apprentices, and the next generation of industry leaders from across NSW and the ACT for being the top of their fields.

Anita Campbell, NGINA CEO said the calibre of nominees was truly outstanding and have once again raised the bar which is even more amazing considering what a hard year it has been. “This year has brought with it many challenges. The pandemic is still here, and businesses have had to endure lockdowns and ever-changing restrictions.

“In saying that, some members absolutely excelled this year and NGINA is delighted to recognise the individual efforts and contributions of these industry representatives across a wide range of categories. The standard of entries was exceptionally high and each and every one of this year’s finalists could have taken home a prize for excellence in the nursery and garden industry”, said Ms Campbell.

This year’s NGINA Industry Award winners are:

Wholesale/Production Nursery of the Year: Scotts Tubes
The judges of this category said that while the finalists all set a high standard for the industry to follow, Scotts Tubes stood out as the winner for the second year in a row. It’s great to see a family combining forces so harmoniously to continuously improve efficiency, productivity and working conditions for their staff. Each sibling has clearly defined roles and work together to support each other and the business as a whole.

The results in the main market shares (tubes and herbs) were both very unforgiving. With little room for error, the results spoke volumes to the effort Scott Tubes put in, their adaptability and attention to detail.

They have utilised available space and resources to maximum effect and if the new greenhouse provides an indication of the quality of future development, the next few years look very exciting.

Retail Nursery of the Year (Trading Member): Burnetts on Barney
According to the judge Burnetts on Barney, at Kiama on the NSW South Coast, is a very unique business. They have really embraced the recycled, reuse strategy and sustainability. Many of the fixtures and fittings have been built from totally recycled materials with the retail display centre being made from shipping containers. They are placed in a U shape which creates a little courtyard area and there is plenty of seating and tables for people to relax or for whenever events are held. The café is in situ and ready to be opened soon. The judge was particularly impressed by the community involvement with their crop and swap initiative called ‘Grounded Gardeners’ and their connection with local garden clubs and school children. They recently won a business award for excellence in sustainability. Burnetts on Barney is on an upward trajectory.

Retail Nursery of the Year (Corporate/Enterprise Member): Burbank House and Garden
According to the judge, it was a lovely surprise and a pleasure to enter Burbank House & Garden. The centre is immaculate, and the range of indoor plants and products is exceptional. The standout with this centre is the quality of the products, both greenlife and non greenlife which is very modern and on trend. The merchandising is well organised and professionally displayed. Vickey and her team are helpful and friendly. Staff were all helping customers and offering advice and good service. Producing catalogues, a loyalty program and workshops ensure customers continue to support them.

Allied Supplier of the Year: Vegepod
According to the judges, Vegepod has developed a unique product with innovative features that delivers value to their identified customer segment. Vegepod product development used design thinking and empathy maps, thus challenging assumptions to define the end consumers’ needs. Vegepod offer in-store displays and is a NDIS registered supplier, conducts interviews, is active in social media and presents at local and international shows. This engagement flows through to their workplace, with business development and personal growth of their team being top business priorities. Vegepod should be congratulated for researching the importance of product performance and customising their products so individuals can enjoy gardening regardless of their age or ability.

Industry Bloomer – Jessica Watson from Welby Garden Centre
The judges felt it was a great privilege to judge this award and to meet such fine young people. The standard across all the nominees had all the earmarks of a judges nightmare. Many of the finalists have even stepped up into management roles and are co-ordinating groups of staff to achieve different tasks across the workplaces. All are bringing a level of enthusiasm and commitment that puts the future of the industry in younger hands. The judges were impressed that Jessica has expanded her skills remarkably over the past year and has regarded the challenges brought about by the pandemic as a series of opportunities, rather than causes for doom and gloom. We admired the diversity of her contribution: the way she worked with the special employees at the garden centre, the way she had used and expanded her talents in IT and web promotion, the work she was putting into the local community garden, bush regeneration and the creation of an indigenous garden.

Apprentice of the Year: Philip Clark
The Apprentice of the Year criteria is aligned with that of the NSW Training Awards. The standard of candidates was outstanding and according to the judge, all finalists demonstrate incredible passion and show the key attributes required to be successful in this industry. Judging was also influenced by the employer who provided examples of extraordinary initiatives by their apprentice. According to his manager, Phillip has an excellent work ethic, is constantly sourcing information and has taken on responsibility for an IPM project for which he has also developed quality resources.

NGINA is the peak representative body for operators in the nursery and garden industry and is committed to a growing, united and sustainable nursery and garden industry that promotes its contribution to the health and wellbeing on the NSW/ACT economy, its environments and people. The NGINA Industry Awards are decided by an in-depth judging process that is carried out by a panel of industry experts and a band of mystery shoppers.

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