Reptile Park named state ‘Business of the Year’

The Australian Reptile Park at Somersby has been named NSW Business of the Year by the state’s peak business organisation, Business NSW.

Park Director, Liz Gabriel, said the announcement, made in an online ceremony on November 26, came as a “massive shock” to staff after the tremendous hardships experienced over the last two years including bushfires, floods and a global pandemic.

The win marks the second time the Australian Reptile Park has been recognised as the top business at a state level, having won the same award in 2018.

In addition to winning the top gong, the Park also won the Excellence in Business category and was a finalist in the Young Business Leader (Amanda Woodbine), Outstanding Employee (Zac Bower), and Outstanding Business Leader (Tim Faulkner) categories.

“Even with the event being hosted online, it was still a wonderful evening with staff members tuning in from their homes to watch,” Gabriel said.

“We were absolutely thrilled to win Excellence in Business at the start of the evening but then when it was announced that we won Business of the Year, we couldn’t believe it – it was a total shock.

“Like most businesses, we’ve had a tough couple of years but through the support of the community and the dedication of our incredible staff, we’ve been able to thrive and have bounced back stronger than ever after lockdown.

“It was wonderful to share our successes of the evening with Aussie Ark, who won their first state business award with their Excellence in Small Business win.

“Winning these awards just confirms my belief that the Australian Reptile Park is truly the best family fun day out and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone again for our massive summer school holidays.”

Business NSW Central Coast Regional Director, Paula Martin, said with more than 1,000 nominations for the awards statewide, it was pleasing to see nine Central Coast businesses named finalists.

“For the Australian Reptile Park to then go on and win the NSW Business of the Year is a fantastic achievement,” she said.

“Congratulations must go to the management and staff who’ve done an incredible job despite their operations being put on hold for several months.

“The business saw an opportunity to reinvent how they operated and engaged with their community.

“They were able to partner with accommodation providers and other local businesses to create visitor experience packages which increased the visitor numbers to the Central Coast, strengthened the local economy and assisted in the Australian Reptile Park having their most successful financial year.

“Central Coast businesses by their very nature are optimistic people – while they continued to open their doors each day where possible and employ locals, they have been well and truly tested over the past two years.

“These awards recognise a job very well done, and all businesses should be encouraged to keep doing what they do every single day.”

The Glen at Chittaway Point was also a winner on the night, taking out the Outstanding Community Organisation category.

Terry Collins