Six Knowle businesses shortlisted for Solihull Chambers award

No less than six independent businesses based in Knowle have been shortlisted for an award at Solihull Chambers 2022 Awards evening. We’ll find out who’s won each category on the 7th October, but in the meantime, here’s a summary of who’s shortlisted for which category.

Solihull’s Award for Excellence in Hospitality & Retail – Sponsored by Touchwood

Achill Guest House and Spa is a family run guest house where guests staying overnight enjoy a warm welcome, a beautifully appointed room, and a choice breakfast.

Achill Spa is so much more than a guest house though. Mary and her team regularly welcome guests who want to visit with friends during the day to relax in the outdoor space over food and drinks, or to enjoy treatments at the spa. It’s simply a charming haven of relaxation and rejuvenation. Visitors arrive a stranger but leave a friend.

Eric Lyons have been established as a family butchers in Knowle for a few generations now supplying artisan meat, farm produce and delicious ready meals created on the premises.

Nick Lyons said “We’re super excited to be shortlisted this year for the awards. It’s been a tricky few years with Covid and now a potential cost of living crisis but we have adapted quickly. The awards are a chance to celebrate and let our hair down.

Solihull’s award for excellence in customer service

Esther Broomhall and Partners is an estate agency that merges technology, local knowledge and contacts with traditional values and exceptional service, those details which are often undervalued or simply missed by other firms.

Esther commented: “To be recognised in these awards is a fantastic achievement and is a testament to the hard work of our team. We launched following the first lockdown and stood by our mission and USPs which sets us apart from other organisations in our sector. To be shortlisted is a credit in itself and we can’t wait to see if we are successful.”

Solihull’s outstanding start-up business

All About The Sew, owned by Lorna Hulme, runs a range of sewing classes for both adults and children from a beautiful studio in Knowle, just a couple of minutes walk from the church. Lorna offers small group classes, one to one lessons, a fortnightly social stitch group and is also able to offer bespoke sessions tailored to individual or group needs.

Since opening the new sewing studio in March this year, Lorna has expanded the business to sell a range of fabrics and haberdashery, with the aim of helping to make sewing as easy to access and enjoyable as possible.

Howela is another Knowle business that formed during lockdown. Inspired by wanting adorable, comfortable and sustainable clothes and gifts for their children, the business started out as an online childrenswear retailer. Since then, Howela has gone from strength to strength with Lucy and Josh opening the doors to their first retail shop on Station Road, Knowle in the summer of 2022.

Visit their shop to find out what events are happening in store, or to see their information board that connects parents to local groups and activities.

Esther Broomhall and Partners launched during lockdown. Esther said: “We decided we weren’t going to be a 9am-5pm estate agency, as we wanted to fit round the schedules of our clients and we decided against being a mainstream volume-led high street agent, instead we opted for a bespoke and niche personal approach whereby we live by the fact that ‘small details make a big difference’ and stock levels aren’t necessarily the aim of the business model.”

Solihull’s rising star

During Lockdown, Achill Spa pivoted their business by focusing on the Spa. To develop the offer, Mary introduced Ellen to the business and the spa has gone from strength to strength. Every guest receives a warm, friendly welcome before enjoying relaxing treatments including bee sting facials, manicures, pedicures and massages.

Mary (Achill Spa owner) said “Ellen has bought a breath of fresh air to our business, with different, natural & environmentally friendly treatments”.

Solihull’s award for excellence in sales & marketing

We are super excited that Visit Knowle has been shortlisted for excellence in sales and marketing category.

Visit Knowle was formed to promote Knowle as a place to shop, eat, spend time and do business. Packed full of independent businesses, with listed buildings and set within beautiful countryside, it’s an honour to showcase what Knowle has to offer.

This year saw us inviting people to join in the jubilee celebrations, and despite the rain in the early afternoon, the event was a great success with visitors enjoying an artisan market, street food, community stalls and entertainment.

Knowle is packed with independent businesses, many of whom have won awards in the past. We wish the latest wave of nominated businesses the best of luck. We’ll be keeping everything crossed.

More information about the awards can be found here.

Knowle High Street 2021