THEY pored over scores of entries and deliberated for hours but the judges are remaining tight-lipped over who has won prestigious awards.
Four experts, who have all carved a name and reputation for being the best in business, met at The News head offices at 1000 Lakeside.
They were discussing and deciding who should win accolades in the second annual Retail and Leisure Awards.
The awards, organised by The News, are set to return on Saturday, September 17 at Portsmouth Guildhall.
Winners of the 10 categories – which range from Team Member of the Year to Manager of the Year to Independent Retailer of the Year plus more – will be revealed on the night.
The judges were; deputy chief executive at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Maureen Frost, business and enterprise workstream chairman from Shaping Portsmouth Stef Nienaltowski, editor of The News Mark Waldron and David Wride, managing director at Regis Removals Limited.
Mrs Frost said: ‘There were some quite close entries in some categories and some very good examples of best practice, which certainly put Portsmouth on the map.
‘There was a lot of pride in what they are doing, and that shone through.’
Mr Wride said: ‘What a fantastic, vibrant and exciting bunch of applications. A lot of them were really good.
‘They had really thought about their entries and there were some great financial results among them.
‘It was exciting to see businesses here doing as well as businesses in places like London.’
Mr Nienaltowski added: ‘What came through was the sheer pride people have in their companies.
‘These people clearly believe in what they are doing and in where they are working. The other thing that stood out is that many had spotted gaps in the markets and were filling them, and in doing so clearly growing.’
Mr Waldron said he was looking forward to revealing the winners.
‘Everybody who has made the short list should be proud,’ he said.
‘It was a tough job to decide upon the winners, and I’m sure we are in for a great night to celebrate.’