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Launderette cleans up in MP’s awards

Apprentice star Karren Brady presents Newton launderette owner with award

Small Business Ambassador Karren Brady presents an award to Gary Adamou, owner of Monogram Dry Cleaners and Launderette, in Dicksons Drive, Newton, with Chester MP Stephen Mosley(Image: David Holmes)

Star of The Apprentice Karren Brady visited entrepreneurs in her role as the government’s Small Business Ambassador.

The successful businesswoman, who is vice chair of West Ham United, addressed an audience at Chester’s Amber Lounge and met a jeweller, a baker, a butcher and a gift shop owner in the nearby town of Frodsham.

A highlight was meeting Gary Adamou, owner of Monogram Dry Cleaners and Launderette, in Dicksons Drive, Newton.

She presented him with a winner’s award, sponsored by Chester MP Stephen Mosley, for “competing against many large companies and succeeding by remaining customer and community-focused”.

 

Karren said: “It’s great to come and meet people like Gary. One of the really important things for me and my role is to raise the profile of small business owners.

“I think a lot of people have lost a bit of trust with the big businesses and the banks. Generally the atmosphere towards big business owners is not as good as it could be. But with small business owners, I think it’s not only the personal service but the work they do in the community, the life they dedicate, the hours they put in, the way they miss their family.

“I think people have got a lot of respect for small business owners. And very often a small business owner is so busy motivating their own staff that there’s no-one behind them patting their back, so to win awards like this and to know that the government takes seriously all of their issues, I think is important.”

Known as The First Lady of Football, Karren is a canny business operator herself who was only 23 when she began working as managing director of Birmingham City FC, which she later sold for £82m.

Asked about the qualities needed to be a successful business person, she said: “I think the most important thing is you have to spot the gap in the market or a service you think you can do better than your competitor and you have to be able to communicate what’s different about your business.

“You need an enormous amount of energy, an enormous amount of commitment, nothing compensates for the hours you put in and I think you have to love what you do because it’s such hard work running a small business – I know myself when I first started. I was the MD, I was also the financial director, the marketing person, the tea lady, the administrator, answering the phone.”

Asked jokingly if her Apprentice co-star Lord Sugar had the right business acumen to make it big one day, she replied: “He’s a huge inspiration to people, he’s a British, self-made individual who loves business and putting back in to the community and is a great family man. He’s a good friend of mine. What you see is what you get. It’s not only the name of his book but that’s him all over.”

Launderette owner Gary, 58, from Hooton, who is from a Cypriot background, was delighted to meet Karren and receive the award.

“This is the Papadopoulos of the East Enders in Chester!” quipped Gary, who was brought up in the East End of London himself but moved here in 1990. “This is more like a launderette and community centre as well.”

Gary said the launderette business continued to thrive despite most people owning their own washing machines these days. He said: “According to the records there used to be over 40,000, now there are only 2,000 – but I wish I had a 100 of these!”

A huge fan of The Apprentice , he added: “I’ve been wanting to get on there myself. I was going to suggest doing one for the older ones. When he sends them out on the road trying to sell, I think it’s a comedy programme.”

Mr Mosley MP concluded: “It’s great to see Karren here today. Small business is so important in Chester. We’ve had a lot of success recently, a lot of companies setting up and it’s fantastic to see so much enthusiasm both at the Amber Lounge and also here, to see the good work being put into practice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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