07 Oct Hewitts of Croydon is named Business of the Year
A company which has been a pivotal part of the Croydon community for 150 years has been crowned as business of the year at a glittering awards ceremony.
Hewitts of Croydon crowned a year of celebration by collecting the top awards at the black-tie Croydon Business Excellence Awards, in association with Gatwick Airport, which took place at Grand Sapphire on Thursday, October 6.
The company has remained in the same family since Charles George Hewitt first opened the doors of their outfitters and tailors in the 1860s and since then generations of Croydon families have been touched by a company renowned for supplying school and scout uniforms as well as high-quality sportswear.
Managing director Martin Hewitt said: “What a year it’s been. Earlier this year we celebrated over 150 years of trading. Hewitts of Croydon was started by my great great grandfather and has been trading in Croydon for all of this time.
“When we started trading less than 100,000 people lived here. In a few years’ time we are going to be very close to 400,000 and that’s how Croydon just keeps growing and growing.
“The regeneration that’s going on now I think will be the future of Croydon for many years to come and I hope Hewitts will still be around, even if I won’t be here for another 150 years.”
Mr Hewitt thanked his 91-year-old mother Betty, who still plays an active role in the business, and added: “One of the reasons why Hewitts are still here, a family run business and the oldest family run retailer in Croydon, is that we have had very good management and very loyal staff and it is really down to them that we have won the Croydon Business of the Year award.”
Thousands of Croydon schoolchildren have got their uniforms from Hewitts and to this day it is the supplier for 100 schools.
Mr Hewitt joked: “When they come through the shop most kids hate being in it! It’s only when they get older and start having children of their own that they start appreciating us!”
Alison Addy, head of community engagement at Gatwick Airport, said: ‘The Business of the Year winner is judged on specific criteria, not only judging the overall success of the business but also the contribution it makes to the borough.
“There were a number of companies that met this criteria and deciding on a winner wasn’t easy. However, despite some other outstanding entries we believe there is no other business more synonymous with Croydon than the one we selected. Hewitts of Croydon has been around probably longer than any other business here tonight but remains as relevant today as it has ever done.”
The evening was hosted by broadcaster and journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer, while Crystal Palace legend John Salako hosted a charity auction which raised thousands of pounds for this year’s chosen charities of Mayor of Croydon Councillor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor: Croydon Commitment, Stanley People’s Initiative and the British Home & Hospital.
As well as Gatwick Airport, the awards partners for 2016 are Allianz Global Assistance, Croydon Advertiser, Croydon Chamber of Commerce, Croydon Council, Croydon Partnership, Handelsbanken, Keltbray, Platinum business magazine, StartUp Croydon, Sussex Innovation Croydon and Wing Yip.