Three very different North-east businesses are competing for top spot in our annual awards ceremony taking place in Aberdeen this Thursday.

Mackie’s of Scotland, Premier Coaches Kintore and Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV) are all finalists in the Business Success Over Three Years category of the 16th Elevator Awards, which aim to commend business excellence, entrepreneurial behaviour and outstanding community contributions made by top businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire.   

The first business vying for the gong is Mackie’s of Scotland, an independent family owned and run business based on a farm in Aberdeenshire, which specialises in ice cream. 

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Mackie’s – the biggest selling ice cream producer in Scotland and best-selling independent ice cream brand in the UK - uses the milk from its herd of cows to produce real dairy ice cream at site which is powered by renewable energy.  

The company, which also exports its produce to a small number of countries around the world, has recently expanded its offering to include chocolate – also made on site – and crisps.  

Stuart Common, Mackie’s Commercial Director (pictured above, right), commented: “Mackie’s has developed a lot over the years but kept our people at the heart of the business, the average person has worked at Mackie’s for 12 years.

“Our success is in part down to the uniqueness of our products in comparison to our national competitors who are owned by global companies and produce ice cream on industrial estates using milk bought in from the common market.  We like to think we make ice cream 'the way it should be'.

“Our chocolate is also exclusive in Scotland as we make our own using cocoa liquor from Ecuador and cocoa butter from Ghana, unlike many 'chocolatiers' who buy in chocolate before melting it down to create their product.”

Mackie’s will be up against Kintore-based transport business, Premier Coaches, which is run by Alan Findlater. 

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When Alan decided to revive a business which was failing he was faced with a series of setbacks. However, his passion for success and entrepreneurial spirit gave him the drive to start up the business from scratch and in July 2010, he was granted six operator licenses to kick-start Premier Coaches. 

Alan could see the potential to grow a very successful business with what remained of the previous company and established Premier Coaches, which offers a professional and reliable coach service, catering for a variety of customers across Aberdeenshire and city. 

As one of the youngest companies in the industry Managing Director, Alan, and his team of 32 employees have constantly sought to improve the business. 

In 2012, the business began to diversify, utilising the mechanical staff it already employed, by opening an MOT centre for multiple classes of vehicles. Premier Garage Services was established by Premier Coaches to offer a range of services to customers, including lower labour rates while still focussing on maintaining high customer service levels.

Alan said: “We aimed from day one to be not just another coach company, but to raise the bar. This starts from the first contact the customer makes with the company to the driver dropping them off, and applies equally to the garage service.”

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The third finalist in the category is Aberdeen Sports Village. Established in 2009, ASV is one of Scotland’s leading sports and fitness centres boasting world-class Olympic-standard facilities and welcoming professional and amateur athletes. A joint venture by the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and SportScotland, it has more than 10,000 members and around 85,000 visitors each month.

ASV was designed around three initial development stages, phase one being the £28million sports centre, and phase two the £22million Aquatics Centre. Phase three will be progressed this year and will include the North-east’s first 3G rugby pitch, two synthetic pitches, changing accommodation, and a world class strength and conditioning suite aimed at attracting national football and rugby teams. 

While the likes of Olympic medalist Hannah Miley, Aberdeen Football Club, Scottish Rugby, and the national netball team all use the space to train, ASV works with local community groups, schools and clubs to develop the health and well-being of youngsters, as well as those with disabilities, the vulnerable and the elderly through its Evergreen initiative.

Newly appointed Chief Executive, Duncan Sinclair said that ASV was very much looking forward to attracting Chigh profile national and international sporting events this year.

“This is a very exciting time for us, with teams such as the Scottish Touch Rugby Team and the Scottish Women’s Football U17’s training at ASV ahead of the UEFA European Championships. 

“We also have a number of high profile swimming events and athletics championships, with the potential to attract events such as the European Junior Swimming and Diving Championships in 2020, British Masters swimming competitions and the International Waterpolo Championships.”

The black tie awards ceremony will be held at the Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel on Thursday 30th of June 2016 and sold out in record timing. 

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