THE FIRST ever Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Awards got off to a roaring success as the Bradford Broadway was transformed into a banqueting suite to rival the best.
Where better to host the event, dedicated to all that is wonderful about Bradford business, than in the very place consumers visit day-in day-out.
But, it was easy to forget you were sat in a shopping centre, rather than a sparkling five-star hotel conference room.
There was glitz, there was glamour and there was plenty to celebrate.
Companies, venues and individuals were nominated across 10 categories.
Three were shortlisted for each section, earning an invite to unique event, run by the Telegraph & Argus in partnership with The Broadway.
Those shortlisted, their family and friends, were welcome into the shopping centre on a red carpet and through the doors facing Market Street.
Canapés and nibbles were brought around by staff from Aagra, washed down by complimentary glasses of bubbly.
The main seating area was hidden from sight to begin with, but as the start of the event encroached, visitors were treated to a grand reveal as they wandered round the corner.
BBC Look North stalwart Harry Gration presented the awards, on a stage just in front of the Marks and Spencer store.
But beforehand, the T&A’s sale director, Steve Lowe, opened the event with a speech.
He explained how the idea for awards began as a seedling and quickly took form after discussion with the general manager of The Broadway, Ian Ward.
The latter then followed up with a speech of his own, taking the audience on a journey through The Broadway’s young history.
Then the awards themselves got underway.
The Leisure Venue of the Year was first up, followed by the Bar and Restaurant of the Year, Retailer of the Year, rounded off by Hair and Beauty Business of the Year.
Even at such an early stage of the evening, the crowd was in a buoyant mood, cheering every name mentioned and enthusiastically applauding the winners.
Pizza Pieces received a particularly strong response from people.
Owner Antonio Barbiero responded with some comical comments, which pleased host Harry Gration.
After four categories, it was time to settled down for food.
Once again, this was provided by Aagrah.
There was a delightful selection of different dishes, with different meats to cater for all palettes.
Visitors were also spoilt with the famous Indian treat, Gulab Jamun, which was accompanied with a mango mousse.
After the evening meal, Dan Boulger, Mobilisation Manager for NEC Venue Partnerships, delivered a talk explaining the progress and vision for the Bradford Live venue.
Then came the final six awards.
First up after the break was the New Business of the Year, followed by Fashion Store of the Year and Hotel of the Year.
The final three categories to be announced were the Customer Service Award, Team Member of the Year and Manager of the Year.
The last award was the only one of the evening to not have anyone head up to the stage when the name was announced.
But, it was for good reason, with James Ellison of Specsavers having to dash off to hospital with his pregnant partner – thankfully everything was okay.
The awards were wrapped up with a tantalising offer.
New Business of the Year winners Nightrain announced they were hosting an after party for all to attend.
That epitomised the goal of the evening – an awards ceremony to bring Bradford together and celebrate all that is good about it.