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FRANCHISEES THE BIG WINNERS
in Westpac Franchise Awards 2011/12

by Simon Lord, last updated on 29th November 2011

The focus was on franchisees at this year’s Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards. Nigel and Carmeena Heney of Columbus Coffee were named Supreme Franchisees of the Year, while the title of Supreme Franchise System of the Year went to Paper Plus – a rare example of a successful franchise which is co-operatively owned by its franchisees.

Both Columbus Coffee and Paper Plus are home-grown, New Zealand-created franchise systems, and are proud to have taken out the top titles. In fact, only one of this year’s awards went to an overseas-based franchise, despite an apparently record entry.

For Columbus, this is the third year in a row the company has taken home a top title, having won the Supreme Franchise System of the Year award in 2009 and 2010. Paper Plus took the supreme award for the first time this year, having won the retail category last year.

The awards were presented on Saturday 12th November in Auckland in the presence of Hon Simon Power, Minister of Commerce, who commented on the substantial contribution to the economy that is made by the franchising sector.

WESTPAC SUPREME FRANCHISEE OF THE YEAR

Winners - Nigel & Carmeena Heney, Columbus Coffee, Ashburton

Nigel Heney (second left), Westpac Supreme Franchisee of the Year, with (left to right) Steve Jurkovich of Westpac, Columbus Coffee MD Graeme Tait and Commerce Minister Simon Power In 2010 Nigel and Carmeena were named Food & Beverage Franchisees of the Year, but for 2011 they went all the way to take the top title in New Zealand franchising. Their impressive entry showed that they had benefitted from the feedback they received from the judges last year. ‘It reflected a strong focus on customer satisfaction and the monitoring of business performance across a comprehensive range of measures provided solid data to understand and improve their business.’

Two years ago, the young Ashburton couple bought the Columbus Coffee outlet that Nigel had been managing and have become well-known faces in the small Canterbury town. They’ve managed to combine that with having their first child, with another due just seven days after the Awards - understandably, Carmeena had not travelled to Auckland for the evening. Receiving the trophy, Nigel said, 'This is amazing and makes a year of hard work all worthwhile. We had a good year again and have actually grown 20 percent in tough times. Full credit to the Columbus Coffee franchise - if you follow the system, it will work.'

Columbus Coffee, which was founded in Auckland in 1995, combines café and retail concepts by selling beans and machines as well as food and beverages. There are over 30 outlets around the country and the company has recently partnered with Mitre 10 to operate the cafés in Mitre 10 MEGA stores.


WESTPAC SUPREME FRANCHISE SYSTEM OF THE YEAR

Winner – Paper Plus

Paper Plus celebrated winning the Supreme Franchise System of the Year Award for the first time. Left to right: Steve Jurkovich of Westpac; Rod Smith, Mike Paardekoooper and Ian Robertson of Paper Plus; Commerce Minister Simon PowerPaper Plus is an entirely New Zealand-owned co-operative group incorporating Paper Plus, Take Note and Office Spot. First established in 1983, the group has expanded and flourished into one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent book and stationery retail franchises with 110 stores located throughout the country from Kaitaia in the north to Invercargill in the south. In recent years, Paper Plus franchisees have invested heavily to update the image, stores, layouts and systems to enable the company to compete effectively in the age of the internet.

In the judges’ opinion, Paper Plus demonstrates effective work systems coupled with sound leadership. In addition to a strong focus on exceeding customer expectations and impressive levels of performance, the judges were also impressed by their innovative approaches to supporting franchisees in their challenging marketplace.

Paper Plus has transformed itself from a traditional buying group co-operative into a full format franchise system – a rare achievement which requires the franchisees to be able to act for the good of the group as a whole. The franchisees, who each own an equal share in the franchisor company, have appointed strong leaders and a talented management team to take the tough decisions.

Receiving the trophy from Steve Jurkovich of Westpac, Paper Plus CEO Rod Smith said, 'This is sensational and follows five years of really hard work rebuilding our system. Paper Plus is now New Zealand's largest book retailer, having overtaken the competition, and number two in office products - and we're closing on number one quickly. In the current market, having true community involvement is vital. We've raised over $1 million for CureKids nationally and franchisees are also heavily involved in community activities locally. They will be very proud of winning the Supreme Award.'


CATEGORY WINNERS

Awards were presented to franchise systems and franchisees in each of five categories. The winners of the Westpac Supreme Awards were then chosen from the category winners. The five categories were: 

  • Business Services
  • Food & Beverage
  • Home Services
  • Lifestyle Services
  • Retail

BUSINESS SERVICES

Franchisee of the Year

Winner – Spring Jiang, Paramount Services, Remuera

Spring Jiang of Paramount Services Remuera with Philip Morrison of sponsors Franchise AccountantsParamount’s general manager, Paul Brown, said recently, ‘The biggest reward we get is seeing people transform their own future.’ That’s certainly the case with Spring Jiang, the young owner of this commercial cleaning business. The awards judges found that she is clearly focused on developing her franchise as a business, she has good systems and has recruited and kept employees. ‘Spring is a strong leader, involves the staff and has a good focus on what the business needs to move forward.’

Other finalists: Raymond Zhang & Lilian Lee, Paramount Epsom; Michael & Samuel Park, Paramount Tauranga

 

Franchise System of the Year

Winner – Paramount Franchise Services Ltd

Paramount Services general manager Paul Brown with Philip Morrison of Franchise AccountantsIn the opinion of the judges, Paramount really stood out. The New Zealand-owned commercial cleaning company has over 140 franchisees throughout the country, some employing up to 20 staff. The company, which was named Supreme Franchise System of the Year in 2008/09 ‘has a number of strengths including leadership with clearly-defined business direction and performance expectations,’ said the judges. ‘These visions underpin the business.’

Other finalist: Cleantastic International

The Business Services awards were sponsored by Franchise Accountants.


FOOD AND BEVERAGE

Franchisee of the Year

Winners – Nigel & Carmeena Heney, Columbus Coffee, Ashburton

Food & Beverage Franchisee of the Year Nigel Heney and his wife Carmeena went on to win the Supreme AwardNigel is getting used to appearing on the Awards stage - he and his wife Carmeena won the Food & Beverage category last year as well. This year, their entry was found to be best of all and they went on to take the Supreme Franchisee of the Year award home to Ashburton.

The judges found that they had clearly picked up on opportunities that were identified last year: ‘They’ve really taken note of their customer base and focus on meeting their needs, of which active contribution to the community is a part.’

 

Franchise System of the Year

Winner – The Coffee Club Franchising (NZ) Ltd

The Coffee Club team took out the Food & Beverage Franchise System of the Year titleThe Coffee Club has just celebrated six years in New Zealand and was the sole franchise of overseas origin to win a New Zealand title this year. There are over 32 of the Coffee Club cafés and restaurants around New Zealand, the latest in Queenstown, and the news that The Coffee Club had opened a new store in Christchurch nine months on from the earthquake earned a round of applause from the audience. The judges found that this business has well-established processes, a clear understanding of their competitive position and has adapted to the economic conditions. They have a clear focus on achieving their vision and mission with the owners’ personal commitment to their stated core values.

Other finalist: Golden Nuts

The Food & Beverage awards were sponsored by Super Liquor & Pernod RicardNew Zealand


HOME SERVICES

Franchisee of the Year

Winner – Robert & Rowena Hammerton, Exceed Maintenance, Ellerslie

Ron Hammerton and his wife are the 2011 Home Services Franchisees of the YearRob Hammerton is a past winner of Exceed’s own Service Excellence award. This was a very well-presented application that validated a strong understanding of business fundamentals and a focus on exceeding customer requirements to achieve strong business results. Rob Hammerton enjoys a high rate of referrals from his existing customer base, which reflects his strong customer focus.

Highly Commended – Paul Kelly, Exceed Maintenance, New Plymouth

Fellow Exceed franchisee Paul’s well-presented application validated a strong understanding of business fundamentals and a clear focus on customer service excellence. ‘Successful franchisees within an impressive franchise system.’

Other finalists: David & Prue Kimber, Poolwerx Hamilton; Sharon Lee, SelectCleaning, Wellington; Colin & Serena Davids, VIP Dannemora

Franchise System of the Year

Winner – Exceed Maintenance

David and Karen Dovey of Exceed Maintenance give the credit for their Home Services Franchise System of the Year title to their support staff and franchiseesExceed Maintenance is the largest franchise group specialising in the maintenance and installation of window and door hardware in New Zealand. The Judges made this award following an entry that showed Exceed is ‘a mature business that is growing and demonstrates good processes and with defined results. The strong focus on exceeding customers’ expectations was a keynote of this entry and was particularly impressive.’

Highly Commended – GroutPro New Zealand

New Zealand-developed GroutPro is one of the fastest-growing franchises both here and in Australia, and is already New Zealand’s largest tile and grout restoration company. The judges commented, ‘This is a relatively new business which has enjoyed exceptional growth in a short time with very good processes and support systems that have been established.’ GroutPro is the only franchise brand to win this year that has not also been a winner in previous years.

Other finalist: SelectCleaning

The Home Services awards were sponsored by Rendezvous Hotels.


LIFESTYLE SERVICES

Franchisee of the Year

Winners - Clare & Eugene Williams, SKIDS Willowbank and Sancta Maria, Auckland

Clare Williams of SKIDS Willowbank and Sancta Maria accepts the award for Lifestyle Services Franchisee of the YearIn summing up their decision, the judges said that Clare and her husband Eugene have a very clear focus on delivering a professional, personal, quality service. Her two after-school care centres have robust processes across the board with strong results. The judges were also impressed to see their successful, innovative approach to participating in SKIDS ‘Gateway’ programme. Clare said, neatly, 'Thanks to the franchisors for their support over the years, and to the other SKIDS franchisees for their support every day.'

Highly Commended – Faieka & Faisal Abrahams, SKIDS Remuera, Bayfield, Anchorage Park, Auckland

This multi-unit franchisee demonstrated a clear focus on their customers and staff to deliver quality services. Faieka implements the franchise system well in her area and is seeing strong results.

Other finalist: Wayne Johnson, SKIDS Buckland Beach

Franchise System of the Year

SKIDS (Safe Kids in Daily Supervision)

SKIDS franchisors Dawn Engelbrecht and Bev Parsons with Wayne Billings of Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre, sponsors of the Lifestyle Services categoryAfter-school care specialists SKIDS (Safe Kids In Daily Supervision) have over 75 franchised operations throughout New Zealand and dominated both the franchise system and franchisee sections of this category for the second year in a row. The judges considered that SKIDS is an impressive, well-run business with a focused system to provide support for their franchisees.  SKIDS results ‘reflect their ability to build positive relationships and loyalty with their customers. The clarity and succinctness of the information they use to drive and manage the business across the categories of the criteria was of particular note.’ As SKIDS director Dawn Engelbrecht put it, 'If we didn't have such amazing franchisees we wouldn't have such a good system.' She also thanked 'our wonderful husbands who put up with everything.'

The Lifestyle Services awards were sponsored by Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre.


RETAIL

Franchisee of the Year

Winners – Mike & Gail Paardekooper, Paper Plus, Cromwell

Gail and Mike Paardekooper and their daughter Aimee, who manages the award-winning Paper Plus store in CromwellMike and Gail have over 20 years experience in Paper Plus and Mike is currently chairman of the Paper Plus Group board. The judges said that, ‘This is an extremely good operation with impressive results in a constrained Otago market.’ They can say that again – the population of Cromwell is just 4,000, yet last year Paper Plus trebled in size with the launch of a ‘new-look’ store. ‘Mike and Gail implement the strong franchise system well,’ the judges continued. ‘They have recognised the challenging environment they operate in and built market share in challenging economic times. They clearly involve all their staff members and actively act on customer feedback.' Mike and Gail also own three other Paper Plus stores in Otago and daughter Aimee manages the award-winning Cromwell outlet.

Highly Commended – Stephen Loo, Civic Video, Mt Eden, Auckland

Last year, Civic Video Glenfield won the Supreme award; this year it’s Mt Eden’s turn to be recognised. ‘Given the challenging market in the Mt Eden area, the owners have recognised the need for a strong focus on customers to drive business performance. The judges thought that this was an extremely comprehensive application, which covered all aspects of the awards criteria with detailed responses.’

Other finalists: Ali Ali, Civic Video, Whangaparaoa; Karen Simons, Mr Minit, Albany; Satendra Prasad, Mr Minit, Manukau; The Harrison Family, Mr Minit, Meridian Dunedin; Mike & Wendy Duncraft, Mr Rental, Glenfield

Franchise System of the Year

Winner – Paper Plus NZ Ltd

Ian Robertson, who has just stepped down as franchise manager for Paper Plus, with Paper Plus CEO Rob Smith and Gay Rankin of category sponsor WHKPaper Plus has a clear focus on business improvement and establishing a platform for growth in a very competitive market. 'It's been a tough year in retail but Paper Plus has continued to grow,' CEO Rob Smith told the audience. The judges felt, ‘They demonstrate strong franchisee support with an excellent understanding of customers and their market, coupled with robust business processes. The Concept 6 approach [as showcased in the Cromwell store] to reposition the brand to meet customer demands is showing strong successful results.’ The company went on to be named Supreme award winners for the first time.

Other finalists: Civic Video; Mr Minit; Mr Rental

The Retail Awards were sponsored by WHK.


SPECIAL AWARDS

Special Awards were also made in each of the following categories. Winners of these awards were not eligible for the supreme titles.

  • Master Franchisee
  • Franchise Export
  • Service Provider
  • Media Campaign of the Year

Master Franchisee Award

Winner – Mark & Mary-Anne Gilbert, SelectCleaning, Wellington

Mark and Mary-Anne Gilbert of Select Cleaning Wellington, with Simon Lord of Franchise New ZEaland magazine & website, sponsors of the Master Franchisee awardIn making this award, the judges said that the applicants had successfully deployed their core systems and business processes to enable their franchisees to deliver services to their customers and maintain consistent quality services.

The trends presented demonstrate that SelectCleaning’s systematic approach is successful and the organisation is actively seeking innovative ideas to grow the business. ‘Good results in a challenging market place.’

Other finalist: Fastway Couriers, Auckland

The Master Franchisee award was sponsored by Franchise New Zealand magazine & website, which has sponsored every one of the annual New Zealand Franchise Awards since their inception in 1995.


Franchise Export Award

Winner – GroutPro NZ

Joe Hesmondhalgh and Rob Howard of GroutPro - winners of the Franchise Export awardGroutPro started in 2009 in a suburban garage in Palmerston North. Since then, they have appointed 37 franchisees in New Zealand, 2 state master franchisees in Australia and have a pilot operation launching soon in the UK. In the judges’ opinion, GroutPro is an exciting, innovative business that is quickly making great inroads into export markets.  ‘They have clearly established a systematic approach to the business, putting in place sound processes. They’ve identified a market niche and in three years have (become) a very sound organisation with very good systems. They are already opening in overseas markets. This represents an innovative NZ company which is clearly going places. ' Co-founder Rob Howard commented that he and fellow director Joe Hesmondhalgh were old friends and that fact had almost put them off trying to work together, but the partnership had proved very profitable.

Other finalist: Cleantastic International

The Export award was sponsored by Baldwins Intellectual Property.


Service Provider Award

Winner – Franchise Accountants

Philip Morrison of Franchise Accountants received the Service Provider of the Year award from Daniel Cloete, Westpac's national franchise managerFranchise Accountants are the only chartered accountancy practice in New Zealand that exclusively focus on franchising, and this year's entry from them clearly showed strong results and solid trends.  The judges were impressed with the complete responses to all criteria items, which showed clear evidence of a very comprehensive and effective business model that provides valuable support to the franchise sector in New Zealand.  Franchise Accountants ‘have very good systems around customer engagement and work to support and assist them with the quality of work evident through the volume of customer referrals.' Founder Philip Morrison was more succinct: 'I love the franchise industry,' he said. 'It's so collegial, so immediate. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our success: clients, professional colleagues, franchisors and franchisees.'

The Service Provider Award was sponsored by Westpac New Zealand


Media Campaign of the Year

Paper Plus won the Media Award for the second year. Paper Plus CEO gave the credit to the franchise's marketing manager Lyle Hastings, for producing real results for the brandWinner – Paper Plus NZ Ltd

Paper Plus took their third title for the evening when they won the Media Campaign award for the second consecutive year with an entry for their Back 2 School Rocks campaign. This created a buzz and engaged customers with prizes such as 'Win a rock concert for your school' and 'Win the Rockstar Treatment'. The judges said, 'Their entry showed a keenly focused, tightly targeted campaign, both for the organisation and its customers; a clear and bold advertising strategy implementing a variety of traditional and social media. They could display an obvious, simply measured result.'

Highly Commended – Exceed Maintenance

Exceed Maintenance came a close second in this category. The judges commented that they could find very little to separate the first and second placings and so the Highly Commended distinction is very well-deserved.

Other finalist: Golden Nuts

The Media Campaign awards were sponsored by The New Zealand Herald.


About the Awards

FANZ chairman David Foster launches this year's AwardsThe Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards were held at the Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland on 12th November 2011. Entry was restricted to members of the Franchise Association of New Zealand.

David Foster, Chairman of FANZ said, ‘In entering the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards, each entrant opens up their business to the scrutiny of evaluators and judges. Through this process entrants learn more about their business, its strengths and its weaknesses to enable them to chart the directions for their business to follow for ongoing success.’

The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards entries are independently evaluated and judged under the internationally recognised Baldrige criteria for business excellence and administered by the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation.

Head Judge Peter Garnett MBE, who was also a member of last year’s judging panel, commented, ‘The judges were impressed by the quality and calibre of the applications submitted by all of this year’s entrants, from both franchisors and individual franchisees. The robust nature of the evaluation and judging process provides a valuable oversight of the health of the industry. New Zealand’s franchising sector can be very proud of its commitment to customer service, the implementation of sound business systems and processes, and for the excellent results being achieved despite the challenging economic climate.' He told the audience at the Awards Dinner, 'There are some very impressive individuals running both systems and individual franchises in this country.'

See photos of the social side of the awards evening here.

Results from previous years are available here: 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

About the Author

Simon Lord

Simon Lord is editor of Franchise New Zealand magazine and website. He has worked in franchising in New Zealand and the UK since 1983, and ws a founding board member and former chairman of the Franchise Association of New Zealand.


This material is copyright © Franchise NZ Marketing Limited, Franchise New Zealand ™ magazine and Franchise New Zealand On Line . While it may be downloaded for personal use, no part may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the specific written permission of the publisher.


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