Big awards for small businesses

The City of Melbourne recognised the contribution of small businesses to the city on June 27 through the 2019 Lord Mayor’s Commendations.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said small businesses were the lifeblood of Melbourne’s economy.

“The City of Melbourne is home to 13,700 small businesses whose creativity, vibrancy and flair are central to our economy,” Cr Capp said.

“Small businesses make up more than 80 per cent of all the businesses operating in our city, employing almost 80,000 people.”

Awards were given to 58 people representing 41 small businesses.

Hilda Simonds was one of 22 recipients of the 10-plus year award for small businesses that have operated continuously within the City of Melbourne.

Mrs Simonds is the owner of Erika, an independently-owned fashion boutique housed in Collins St’s historic Stalbridge Chambers.

Erika will be celebrating its 10th year in the CBD this August.

The boutique offers a range of clothing, jewellery, millinery and accessories. Mrs Simonds said her vision is to dress women in unique pieces and she prides herself on styling outfits and matching accessories. 

There were 14 winners in the 25-plus years category. 

Nick Karagulidi of AA-Nika Engraving was one of the winners of the 25+ category. Mr Karagulidi has been operating his traditional hand engraving techniques in the city since 1992.

Mr Karagulidi studied wood carving and metal craft, the techniques of his Russian forefathers, at the University of St Petersburg before moving to Melbourne. 

There were four recipients of the 40-plus years category, including Nondas and Maria Konstandakopoulos of Stalactites Restaurant.

Stalactites was established in 1978 and is famous as a part of the city’s transition to a nightlife destination – the café is open 24 hours. It was also the first restaurant in the city to serve souvlaki.

The four recipients of the 50-plus years award include Bob van der Toorren, the owner of the prestigious Block Arcade Studio where he’s been practicing photography since 1978.

And the generational award, for family businesses that have operated continuously in the city for at least three generations, went to Prosser’s Family Seafood.

Damien, Geoff and Neil Prosser have been selling fresh seafood to the people of Melbourne from Queen Victoria Market (QVM) since 1931.

The recipients list featured eight other stores from QVM, including The Apple Corner, Tribal Tastes African Deli, The Chicken Pantry Shop, Bellerby Shoes, Wei Qiang Xu men’s fashion, the Corner Chicken Shop, La Deli (pictured) and The Hat Project.

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