Dianna Campbell, Claudia Walker, Ossie Campbell

Employee of the Year
CLAUDIA WALKER / DUSTY ROAD COFFEE ROASTERS (award sponsored by Cr Craig Stewart)

“Thanks everyone for voting for me, pretty proud of myself. I love it [the job], I love the customers, working, it’s a beautiful part of the town to work in.” – Claudia Walker

It was apparent and encouraging to see Dusty Road Coffee Roasters pick up three major awards this year including their espresso bar manager Claudia Walker winning Employee of the Year. Claudia has been with Dusty Road since day one and is said to be polite and friendly to each customer including a talent in remembering what each customer’s order is. It is almost impossible to catch Claudia not smiling and she goes out of her way to provide the upmost service. Voters said, “Claudia provides a personal experience and provides the best coffee in town, sorry Ossie.”

Employer of the Year & Excellence in Business
DUSTY ROAD COFFEE ROASTERS (award sponsored by JMA Legal and CDC)

“We’re really proud to win the awards, its great to be part of a great community with great businesses involved. Really proud of Claudia as she is an asset for our business and looking forward to the next business award next year!” – Ossie Campbell

Ossie and Dianna Campbell are both pictured holding the Excellence in Business and Employer of the Year award. Dusty Road Coffee Roasters brings over 30 years of collective experience in the coffee industry, delivering a carefully curated selection of beautifully crafted small-batch, specialty-grade coffee to the Riverina. Customers that come in said no request has ever been too much of a bother. Voters said, “It’s not visiting a coffee shop, it’s visiting friends. I believe Dusty Road actually enhances the mental health and happiness of their clients by providing a welcoming greeting and atmosphere.”

Cathy Mainwaring, Michaela Schmidt (JMA Legal), Chris Williams

Excellence in Business (joint winners with Dusty)
CW JEWELLERS (award sponsored by JMA Legal)

“CW Jewellers will be 20 years in business next year. Thank you Cootamundra for your continuation in support.” – Chris Williams

CW Jewellers is a local, family owned business established in 2001 by Chris Williams. CW Jewellers staff have over 70 years of combined experience in the jewellery retail industry and it was rather fitting to see them take out the Excellence in Business award. The store is the culmination of their passion for quality jewellery and creating of special moments for their customers. Retailers that come through speak about the massive lengths and dedication staffs go to, especially in finding solutions for customers. During COVID, the business adapted well by providing home delivery and posting of items on Facebook. Voters said, “Not only customer focused but community focused as well. They’re always helpful and the customers are always first.”

Ruth McCarthy

Highly Commended Individual Dedication to Customer Service
RUTH MCCARTHY / SERVICE NSW (award sponsored by South West Fuels)

“Thrilled to win it because I really love my job. And I love serving the people of Cootamundra, that’s what makes it so special, thank you.” – Ruth McCarthy

When Ruth was surprised for the Highly Commended Individual Dedication to Customer Service award at work, you could see why she deserves to win it this year. Her humble being and professionalism is apparent in her delight and appreciation upon receiving the award. Prior to the photo being taken, she even rang up Service NSW to make sure she was permitted to be published in the local paper. Customers that have walked in the Service NSW Cootamundra branch knows that Ruth is always willing to solve a problem. Voters said, “Ruth always make herself available to help satisfy the needs and requests by customers. She is always pleasant and courteous with a happy demeanour.”

Rod Faulks (South West Fuel), Josh Black, Matt Paterson (Twomeys)

Individual Service to Customer Service
JOSH BLACK / BLACKIES POWER TOOLS (award sponsored by South West Fuels)

‘Thank you to those that voted and nominated us, thank you to the sponsors and the CDC. Thank you to the customers for the support over the last couple of years and their continual support. Thank you to the team at Blackies, the suppliers for their help and guidance and to friends and family that have helped in all different ways.” – Josh Black

Josh is described as a true professional, an individual that goes above and beyond and an absolute asset to the community with his expertise. As the award title goes of Individual Service to Customer Service, Josh takes his time to show customers how to operate a piece of machinery when they purchase then. He even looked for solutions when a customer thought their lawn mower was done and irreplaceable. Voters said, “No question is a dumb question for Josh, he will always answer and with such great knowledge too. He is gentle and humble, a pleasure to deal with. Josh is the essence of what customer service should be.”

Best New Business
BLACKIES POWER TOOLS (award sponsored by Twomeys)

It’s no surprise to see Josh picking up the double with the Best New Business award for Blackies Power Tools. Many have commended Josh with taking on the responsibility of his own business and growing it so professionally. Over a short period of time, the business has grown from a place to shop for lawn mowers, to a place for all power equipment. It has also been described as “the ultimate man shop”. Voters said, “It’s has been amazing to see this small business grow. Blackies has emerged from a dark boring place to a vibrant, busy, colourful building.”

Teagan Kelly, Matt Holt, Karly Kelly, Leanne Harris, Jo Tomkies (Coota Signs)

Giraffe Award for Customer Service
WESTPAC BANK (award sponsored by Coota Signs)

“We were honoured to be nominated and we are so grateful to be the Cootamundra community for the award. I know we are a great team and we enjoy each other’s company. We enjoy coming to work and helping our customers and I think our customers can see that.” – Karly Kelly

The Westpac building was built back in 1874 and it’s been a privilege for the Westpac Bank Cootamundra branch team to help anyone that walks through their doors. Clients that come in have said staff are always helpful and friendly and would go out of their way of what is expected of them. Staff members include, Teagan Kelly, Matt Holt, Karly Kelly, Leanne Harris, Cassie Malone, Sue Caldwell, Lyn Louttit. Voters said, “It has always been a pleasurable experience coming to Westpac. They stick their neck out for their customers and we love the way they help each other and their customers.”

Rachel Marion (TAFE Cootamundra, Jessica Pellow, Leah Sutherland (CDC)

Apprentice of the Year
JESSICA PELLOW / The Rusty Table (award sponsored by TAFE Cootamundra)

“Beyond happy to receive this award. I’m so grateful to those who have helped me to get where I am today, and a big thank you to those who voted for me.” – Jessica Pellow

Jessica is only a first-year apprentice and has now managed to pick up the prestigious Apprentice of the Year award. She continues to work hard each day and is always open to suggestions with a smile. Jessica is known for taking the extra effort to show care in her cooking and this shows in her beautifully cooked meals. Many have described it as “a shame” to eat such well-presented meals. Voters said, “A bright, happy and young girl who is going to be an excellent chef. Such talent, watch this girl.”

Aaron Walker, Matthew Hoy, Luke Cram, Jeremy Annetts, Cr Leigh Bowden

Contribution to the Community

“We are so thankful to the community for the nomination and for voting for us, we couldn’t have raise the much needed funds and awareness for MND without the support of the town.” – Matthew Hoy

Late last year Coota Firies 266 raised money and awareness for Motor Neurone Disease, which directly went to MND research at the Macquarie University MND Research Centre. The six Coota firefighters raised an overwhelming amount of $25,915 out of their $3,000 goal. At one of their night event held at the Ex-Services club auditorium, there were over 260 people in attendance and with that support it raised a massive $18,000. Then on November 9 last year, our Coota firefighting heroes joined a pool of 600 firefighters and climbed the iconic Sydney Tower Eye in full structural firefighting ensemble to raise the much-needed funds. The firies climbed a total of 1,504 stairs, which was 98 floors, each carrying an additional 20kg of gear. Leading up to the event the crew utilised Facebook to gain awareness and upload of videos to gain further traction to the cause. One local whom nominated The Full Monty Team, reminisced on losing a family member to MND. They wanted to thank the team from the bottom of their heart for contributing to a cause that will help accelerate the efforts for a cure. Therefore, it was only fitting for our local heroes to be bestowed the Contribution to the Community award. Voters said, “Our community has been touched by MND and we have lost community members. You guys put yourself out of your comfort zone to help others. You are winners and Cootamundra is proud.”

Cr Leigh Bowden, Helen Eccleston, Toni Louttit

Highly Commended for Contribution to the Community

“Fortunate to be in this wonderful community that supports the Red Cross locally and we support them back. Majority of what we take here is given back to our local community. Thank you everybody, we can’t believe it.” – Helen Eccleston

Upon the CDC’s surprise at the Red Cross shop on Parker Street both Helen and Toni were well taken back and humbled to receive the award. Behind closed doors, the team works hard and tirelessly to support the community and those in need. Voters have described the group of volunteers a display of community spirit and an amazing asset to Cootamundra.

Christopher Tan