2017 Business Excellence Award Finalists

Gary Anderson Solutions for Sound & Vision

Gary Anderson Solutions for Sound & Vision’s success comes from doing the fundamentals well.

Gary’s early adoption of online retailing, understanding of the power of premium brands and development of a distribution network shows that great ideas create retail success, no matter where they begin.

In 1989, Gary began his Cromwell-based business selling retail appliances, and designing and installing sound systems. Recognising the potential of online selling, Gary led the way locally in selling over the internet.

Creative marketing, hiring great staff and putting customers first are critical to Gary’s business success. A strong online presence means selling to a nationwide customer base, maximising exposure through tools such as Google AdWords.

The business is also tightly integrated into the Cromwell community, regularly sponsoring and supporting local events for over 20 years.

Gary has created a hugely successful and sustainable business—a success story that’s been shared with the Cromwell community throughout the years.

Maniototo Café


It’s an urban-style destination café that would hold its own in London or Auckland.

Family-owned and operated, the Maniototo Café offers wholesome delicious food served in a welcoming, stylish and hospitable environment, as well as catering and meal options for people on the go.

Topped with warm Central Otago hospitality, the café’s `fresh food served fast’ formula is an asset to the region.

A clear vision meticulously planned, consistently great customer service, high-quality food made from fresh ingredients, and innovative catering options are all important to the café’s success.

Proactively meeting customer needs, building enduring relationships and a strong marketing strategy all drive business growth. The café also sponsors and supports local community events.

Hard work, clever strategies and a commitment to excellence make the Maniototo Café a top, go-to destination that’s a new gem on the Central Otago map, delivering fantastic food and significant benefits to the local community.

Real Dog Company

The owners of the Real Dog Company near Ranfurly took up the challenge to craft a business that follows their dreams.

With a genuine love for sled dogs, Rose and Nigel Voice have created a strong, two-pronged business model: offering memorable sled-dog adventure experiences and selling first-class New Zealand-made dog equipment.

The innovative company specialises in harnesses but also make collars and leads, all meticulously manufactured at their onsite workshop. All products are rigorously tested on their own teams—the attention to detail and quality is such that they have won two new farm equipment awards at agricultural field days.

With the largest kennel of Alaskan Malamutes in the Southern Hemisphere and the only three Canadian Eskimo dogs in New Zealand, domestic and international visitors enjoy opportunities to get `hands-on’ with the dogs either through sled-riding, back-pack walks or kennel tours.

Doing what they love, the Voices have forged an authentic, thriving business that captures the Central Otago spirit.

The Central App

A digital, one-stop shop for everything you need to know about Central Otago living, The Central App managing director, Marielle Craighead, has harnessed the power of technology to shape a relevant, fast-growing business.

The Central App delivers handy, informative and accurate information that solely relates to Central Otago, all readily accessible in one place.

Established in November 2016, the business is rapidly becoming a `go-to’ feature on Central Otago’s media landscape. `Appvertising’ is a key source of income as the business steadily builds a strong base. User uptake has doubled forecast expectations, enabling the company to employ two news production staff.

With a savvy, flexible approach, Marielle successfully markets the business through social media and networking. Partnering local organisations and free listings for not-for-profits are also a key part of the growth strategy.

A business that’s going places, The Central App’s unique Central Otago focus and clever use of technology has captured a ready market.