Helen Johnson and Matt Goddard at DCO headquarters in County Durham
Image Source: Barry Pells Photography
GBEA 2021 North East winners for Family Run Business

Member Article

The Decorating Centre Online crowned winners at national awards

Durham-based business owners of the Decorating Centre Online (DCO) Helen Johnson and Matthew Goddard have been named as winners of Best Family Run Business at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2021 for the North East region.

In partnership with Starling Bank, the ceremony was held at Grosvenor House in London on 22 November and saw 159 entrepreneurs across the UK recognised for their entrepreneurial stories and achievements over the last year.

Established in 1985, Helen Johnson took over the family business as owner and director in 2015 to drive the business forward when her parents retired. At that time, the store employed three full-time and one part-time member of staff and had a turnover of £430,000.

Joined by her husband Matt Goddard four years later, the couple invested an initial £500,000 to bring its retail offering, operations and processes up to date, along with employing 14 additional staff to progress the online aspect of the business and recently acquired an additional 10,500sq-ft unit on the Croxdale Business Park in Durham just months after announcing that sales had skyrocketed by over 300%.

DCO also revealed plans this year to further invest significantly to build the online business, developing its product and service offering, customer experience, brand and further job creation to build turnover to over £6m in 2022.

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards launched in 2012 to celebrate the best of British enterprise, inviting founders from across the UK to apply with their entrepreneurial success stories.

This year, after having to hold the awards virtually in 2020, the organisers brought together all eight of their regional shortlists for the first time, with a guest list of 1,200 entrepreneurs, judges, mentors, investors and partners invited to the London celebration.

Over the last decade, the Awards has celebrated some household names including Julie Deane OBE of Cambridge Satchel Co, Alan and Juliet Barratt of Grenade and Shaun Pulfrey of Tangle Teezer. Its most recent headline-grabbing success story is its previous winner, and speaker at this year’s event, Steven Bartlett, who in May was announced as the youngest ever Dragon on BBC’s Dragons Den.

The awards were judged by a panel of industry experts and leaders of influential UK businesses, including some of the prize winners from previous years.

Francesca James, founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, spoke highly of the entrepreneurial talent coming out of this year’s cohort: “It was fantastic to hear so many inspiring business stories after a difficult few years, and even better to have been able to invite all of our finalists to the in-person ceremony and celebrate together.

“With more than 1,200 attending, the evening was a real snapshot of the UK economy. The winners were thoroughly deserving, overcoming some stiff competition from their fellow finalists, and we look forward to welcoming them into our alumni community and seeing what they do next. It’s always exciting to watch our previous winners go on to achieve amazing things and I don’t expect any less from this year’s award recipients, who we will support all the way.”

Anne Boden MBE, founder of Starling Bank, headline partner of the Awards, said: “It is fantastic to see these worthy individuals being celebrated through these awards. We wish all the shortlisted businesses the best of luck with their future endeavours during these changing times.”

Guests also heard the story of Phones4U founder, John Caudwell, as he announced a new award category and partnership between the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and his charity, Caudwell Children. John said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate businesses and entrepreneurs that are flourishing and making a success of themselves.

“The Great British Entrepreneur Awards has developed a growing community of like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs, which was the perfect platform for me to launch my Blaze Your Own Trail award. I’m incredibly excited about the partnership we have established, both for the new award and my charity.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Decorating Centre Online .

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