Little Acorns Bookstore, owned by local woman Jenni Doherty, took the prized title of Overall Business/ Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
The company was founded in 2010, born out of a small market stall in which Jenni had 100 books. Now based on Foyle Street, the shop is stocked with over 45,000 books, providing a mix of best-selling authors and local upcoming writers works.
During the ceremony, a note was read from Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee, explaining why the bookstore deserved the prestigious title. She said: “In our industry, reading books is not only our love and joy but also crucial to us as film and tv makers. Creative writers inspire each other and drive our imagination. Most successful films come from books and the existence of independent book stores keep literature alive and are cornerstones for communities.
“Personally, I am delighted that this business is receiving the accolade it deserves. Not only for the business itself but for others working within the arts, this gives recognition to them all, that they can be a vital piece to our economy and tourism.
“Without places like this, many would not get the opportunity or confidence to create and inspire and that is a catalyst to successfully making films and tv programmes that can promote our city and drive its economy, therefore providing the space to house all the greats of the art literature world and at the same time supporting our great local and upcoming writers is something I feel is worth rewarding and nurturing. My sincere congratulations.”
Little Acorns proprietor, Jenni Doherty said she was both shocked and delighted to receive the award. She said: “I’m still in total shock! Not often I’m speechless but I was totally blown away. To win the Overall Business/Entrepreneur of the year at the North West Business Awards and receive such beautiful words from Lisa McGee of Derry Girls, our Mayor and the organisers was just amazing.
“Massive thanks to the brilliant organisers City Centre Initiative and Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, to all the generous sponsors and Derry City and Strabane District Council, all the talented and inspiring category nominees and winners, all the judges and City Hotel Derry for such a gorgeous setting.
“To my most precious family, friends and business colleagues; everyone who reads books, creates magic and visits our corner. Your loyalty, encouragement, humour, friendship and love are everything. And in no better industry nor city to be in. This is for you and my dear parents. Dreams can come true - follow them! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
Jim Roddy, City Centre Initiative and Anna Doherty, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, who organise the awards in partnership added: “Our congratulations to Jenni and everyone at Little Acorns Bookstore on winning the NW Business of the Year award. We were overwhelmed with the standard of entries this year for all our awards and it was refreshing to see a good variety of nominations this year.
“These awards celebrate the achievements of local companies throughout the North West and we’re very proud to have Little Acorns Bookstore in our city centre.
“Things such as their participation and encouragement in community, charity and Council events, the commitment to educating and providing for both our young and older generations and the dedication to provide services that kept most of us going through the recent pandemic have not gone unnoticed.
“Our judges looked for demonstration of business growth, innovative approaches, long term planning and an ability to provide flexible approaches in dynamic market conditions, all which we found in Jenni and her business. She started this business following her dreams, competing against larger online giants of the industry and has done so with detailed planning and consideration to our local market, her customer needs and the businesses place within the community.
“Everyone, I know of, who has visited this business have said they’ve left feeling like they’ve made a new friend. It’s been home to authors, actors, directors, broadcasters, musicians, comedians, illustrators, singers, journalists and politicians over the years.
“A strong commitment and desire to succeed grow are key ingredients for any business to flourish. With uncertainties over the past few years with the impacts of Brexit and the Covid pandemic, it has been refreshing to see Little Acorns Bookstore strive forward. Businesses like Little Acorns Bookstore are inspiring to us all within the local business community and I once again extend our congratulations to Jenni and her staff on their achievement.”
The 2022 North West Business Award Winners are:
Young Business Person of the Year – Ben Sayers, Bearney Nurseries
NW Pub of The Year – The Grand Central Bar
NW Restaurant of the Year – Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel
NW Retailer of the Year Award – Ferry Clever
NW Hotel of the Year – Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel
NW Creative Industries Business of the Year – In Your Space Circus
Award for Contribution to the NW Economy – Enterprise North West
Visit Derry Ambassadors Award – IASP Ambassadors: Siobhan O’Neill, Rory O’Connor and Barry McGale
NW Excellence in Innovation Award – JACE Medical
NW Green Business of the Year – Ethical Weigh
Best Use of Marketing, Digital or Social Media – Ferry Clever
NW Food Hero – Hidden City Café
NW Business Hero – John Harkin, Alchemy Technology Services
NW Small Business of the Year – Find Insurance NI
NW Large Business of The Year - FinTrU
Overall NW Business or Entrepreneur of Year – Little Acorns Bookstore
Congratulating the winners, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy, said: “I want to extend my congratulations to all who were shortlisted for the North West Business Awards and all who picked up accolades this evening. These businesses are playing a hugely important role in driving the local economy and adding to the diversity of exciting products and services available here in the North West. They are an inspiration to anyone setting out in the business world. This is an exciting time for Derry and Strabane, with our City Deal plans afoot andthe opportunities this will bring for both local business and those who choose to invest in our skilled and talented people.”