The future’s Orangerie for George

WINNING the Retailer of the Year title in 2006 was the best thing that could have happened to the George Hotel and Brasserie, in Buckden. Within minutes of the award last November, an ecstatic general manager, Cynthia Schaeffer, was telephoning staff a

WINNING the Retailer of the Year title in 2006 was "the best thing that could have happened" to the George Hotel and Brasserie, in Buckden.

Within minutes of the award last November, an ecstatic general manager, Cynthia Schaeffer, was telephoning staff and customers to share the good news.

"Everyone there is thrilled to win this award and our success is all down to them," she said on the evening of the awards ceremony.

Her enthusiasm has not dimmed in the meantime. "It was a fabulous night and the best thing that could have happened to the George," she said this week.

"But it may be time for someone else to win the award. There is such competition that I doubt anyone could win it twice in a row."

The Hunts Post award, following glowing tributes a year previously from The Daily Telegraph food writer Paddy Burt, who named the George as one of her top five hotels of the year, had attracted new customers as well as boosting the George's reputation locally, she said.

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It had given owners Richard and Anne Furbank added confidence on building the recently-opened Orangerie.

"The award has been a tremendous marketing tool. We have put the award on our front desk, where everyone sees it and is told about it," Ms Schaeffer said.

"It helps remind them that we don't charge an arm and a leg. We are trying to provide something people can afford.

"It boosted our staff greatly and helped us towards achieving our next goal - an AA award for our food."

Until the Orangerie opened the hotel lacked conference facilities, which it can now offer its increasing clientele, particularly during the week, although weekend bookings are also buoyant.

The Furbank family, which bought the former coaching inn four years ago and refurbished it before re-opening after eight months work with a fine restaurant, wine bar and 12 guest bedrooms, is no stranger to The Hunts Post Business Awards.

Anne Furbank's "posh frock" shop next door, which has been in business for a quarter of a century, was Retailer of the Year in 2004, when it also won the coveted overall Huntingdonshire Business of the Year accolade.

HOW TO ENTER

You can apply for an entry pack by completing and returning the entry forms, which are available from a number of outlets, including the Huntingdon Marriott Hotel and The George Hotel in Buckden as well as The Hunts Post offices at 30 High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TB.

Or you can enter via the internet by going to: www.cambs24.co.uk/businessawards

Entry forms can be obtained from, and, once completed should be sent to: Carol Gray, Archant Herts and Cambs, Bank House, Primett Road, Stevenage, Herts SG1 3EE. Carol can be contacted by ringing: 01438 866000 or via e-mail: carol.gray@archant.co.uk

RULES

All entries must be submitted to Archant Herts and Cambs by 5pm Monday, August 6 .

Any organisation (private or public sector) operating within Huntingdonshire district is eligible to enter.

Entering more than one category is allowed, but each entry must include a separate entry form.

The judges, organisers and sponsors cannot accept responsibility for the validity of claims made by entrants. A minimum of two judges will be allocated to each category. The judges will consider each nomination in the context of the chosen category.

If appropriate, judges may submit a nomination into an additional category.

The winner of each award will be announced at the Awards Gala Dinner on Friday, November 2, at the St Ives Burgess Hall. No results will be announced before this date.

Entry into the award implies acceptance of the rules and conditions.

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