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Horowhenua Chronicle - 2021-11-26

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Steeds Pharmacy now officially a Top Shop

Front Page

Nikki Carroll

What a perfect way to celebrate your first anniversary of owning a local business — taking out Horowhenua Top Shop in the 2021 Electra Business & Innovation Awards. When Ali Alwash and Uvini Kahawatta took over Steeds Pharmacy in December 2020 they knew the business had great local history and fantastic staff. The couple also had a desire to move the focus of the business away from just being a drug store and begin introducing alternative therapies. Entering the revamped Electra Business Customer Choice Award was a bit of a whim said Alwash. “It really was a last-minute decision and I didn’t think we had a chance of winning.” Voting for the Top Shop award was open to everyone in the community but was by text voting only, which disappointed some of the pharmacy’s older customers as not all of them had mobile phones to be able to participate. There was much excitement among the staff when they found out the pharmacy was one of three Horowhenua finalists for the Top Shop award and plans were made to attend the awards evening in September. Unfortunately, due to the Delta outbreak, the awards evening was postponed until early November, and then transferred to an online event on Friday, November 19. All finalists were encouraged to arrange a team event to watch the awards together but, “we’d had our Christmas Extravaganza and first anniversary celebrations the day before so didn’t feel we could ask the staff to stay late again”, said Kahawatta. The couple headed home to Palmerston North, opened the celebration box they’d been gifted for the awards event and set up their laptop to watch the livestream. “Uvini was busy with our son Noah when the winners of the Top Shop categories were announced, so I had to call her back into the room,” said Alwash. The three Horowhenua finalists were Photo and Framed, New World Foxton, and Steeds Pharmacy, and the couple said they were in shock when the announcers called out their business name. “Then the camera was on us and we had to do our thank yous, which we were totally unprepared for,” laughed Kahawatta. The couple were quick to point out Steeds Pharmacy’s win was recognition of their amazing staff, “a real team effort”, and they wanted to acknowledge the wonderful support they’ve had since taking over the business last year. “We’d like to thank our customers, friends and family who voted for us in the Top Shop Award, and a big thanks to the Electra Business & Innovation Awards organisers for the opportunity to be part of this event.”

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