Indies awards: South Street Pantrys Danielle Smart wins Business Personality
Winning the title of Business Personality at the inaugural Indies awards was the icing on the cake for South Street Pantry boss Danielle Smart.
She was nominated by proud younger sister Sophie, who said that not only does Danielle sometimes work seven full days a week, getting up at 5am to bake, but also supports every charity that requests a raffle or competition prize.
Former Herts and Essex High School student Danielle, 31, also set up the Lisa Smart Huntington’s Support Trust. The sisters’ mum Lisa has lived with the genetic condition for 15 years, and the trust not only helps pay for round-the-clock care but also funds research and a support group for families of other Huntington’s sufferers.
Every November, for the past 12 years, Danielle has organised a fundraising dinner and dance, and the total raised in that time now tops £100,000.
After accepting her trophy from Steve Phillips, managing director of Volkswagen franchise motor dealer MJ Warner, of Hare Street, she said: “This is amazing – it means the world to me. I love my job, I love my customers and I love my staff.”
Since taking over the business in 2013, she has built the workforce up to more than 30 and is now looking to expand the café’s takeaway business.
She said: “We have also done a few weddings this year and would like to do more of these.”
Danielle has her own wedding plans to consider: next July she marries Gareth Thomas, who accompanied her to the awards along with Sophie and the sisters’ father, George.
To give her a well-earned rest, Catriona Dodsworth and her fine dining meals on wheels business, Just Add Parsley, will be delivering a premium three-course meal for four people.
Runner-up James Brundle is also expanding his business – and his Highly Commended certificate was picked up by the mayor, Cllr George Cutting, while James worked around the clock to reopen Eat 17 in Potter Street with an expanded dining area and two new concessions.
Former Birchwood High School boy James founded Eat 17, the growing chain of foodie emporiums incorporating deli-style grocery stores and street food vendors, with stepbrother Chris O’Connor in Walthamstow in 2006.